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Freelance Work from Home: Do You Need a Portfolio?


Depending on the field, many freelance work from home jobs require a portfolio. Because you and clients cannot meet face-to-face, often a portfolio is the only way to display your talent to increase your chances of being hired. The extent of a portfolio, however, depends on the stage of your career and the type of job.

Portfolios and Career Stages

If you are just now starting to work from home, a portfolio can increase your chances of being hired. Your portfolio can overcome the lack of previous freelance work on your resume by permitting you to show that you can handle the work required by the job description.

Experienced freelance workers may also benefit from having a portfolio. A portfolio of previous freelance work may allow experienced freelancers to charge more money or acquire more challenging positions. Work completed for previous freelance clients can serve as a portfolio, provided that the freelancer is able to share that work with potential employers without violating her contractual obligations to the former client.

Portfolio and Job Type

The type of freelance work determines how big a portfolio needs to be and how much work it should contain. There are no specific rules about what and how much work a portfolio should include. As a general guideline, however, a portfolio should display the extent and variety of previous work and completed jobs similar to the one sought.

Freelance writers typically need three to four samples of varying lengths. These samples should not be longer than 1,000 words; most employers have seen all they need to of an applicant's writing after the first 500 words. Graphic artists and web designers' portfolios should contain approximately 10 samples. These samples should show the variety of the applicant's talents and her ability to handle different subject matters.  

Creating a Portfolio

If you are new to freelance work, you probably do not have a portfolio. In this situation, you should try to create one, even if it requires you to develop projects solely to add to your portfolio. These jobs should concern different topics and cover simple and complex tasks. The majority of employers that rely on a portfolio require at least three samples. Three, therefore, should be the minimum number of portfolio projects you complete. No matter how small it is, however, a portfolio displaying your expertise will help you find freelance jobs.

Reevaluating a Portfolio

Once created, a portfolio should not be ignored. Having an out-of-date portfolio indicates that you have not worked recently or that you may not be capable of producing quality work. Portfolio samples should reflect your best possible work that conforms to current guidelines and trends. You should review your portfolio at least every three months to determine whether it is an example of your best work. Many times a portfolio will need to be updated. Prior to adding new samples to a portfolio, however, you should ensure that you are not breaching any privacy clauses regarding the work.

In a telecommuting position, portfolios allow employers and employees to connect. Providing a potential employer with work samples enables you to show that you are capable of performing the position's duties.

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