How to Make a Portfolio Sample


If you want a shot at a decent job in any creative field, you will need a portfolio with at least three samples of your work. While it is not hard to find samples once you have made them, it can be difficult to make original samples for jobs with very precise requirements. Fortunately, if you have access to all the standard equipment used in your field, you can get started with making your portfolio samples right now.

Make a list of the kinds of jobs or gigs you want to apply for. For example, if you are a studio musician who plays trombone, write "jazz, big band, orchestra." If you are a writer, write down any form of writing that you are interested in doing.

Write a brief paragraph describing the kind of sample you need. This paragraph should describe whether the sample will be audio, video or text; how long the sample should be; and what stylistic standards the content should adhere to. If you are unsure of what kinds of samples are required for the kinds of gigs you want to apply for, look in the classifieds for job advertisements that specify requirements for samples (see Resources).

Type up a rough draft of your portfolio sample. If you need a written portfolio sample, type up an article. If you need a video sample, type up the script, including dialogue and scene change cues. If you need an audio music sample, write out both the lyrics and the sheet music. Do not worry about grammar and spelling just yet; the most important thing is that you get your ideas out on paper.

Write a final copy of the written content. Proofread your rough copy by checking your spelling and grammar against a dictionary and grammar guide. Once you have made corrections, type up the final copy by copying the content from the rough copy (while making adjustments for the corrections you made in proofreading and editing).

Record any audio, video or still images you need for your portfolio. If you need to hire actors for video shots, put up an ad on an online classifieds site like Craigslist. Record all audio in soundproofed rooms, using the best-quality equipment you can find. Contact a studio in your area about rental rates if you do not have access to soundproofing in your own home.

Name the piece and include this title in the index section of your portfolio. If you do not have one already, give your portfolio an index that names each piece in the portfolio, and states the running time or word count. Include a listing for the piece you have developed; make sure you include a way of retrieving the piece (include a link if it's a Web portfolio, a page listing if it's a paper portfolio).