Your Writer's Portfolio: How to Craft the Perfect About Me Page
Your writer’s portfolio is about more than your writing samples. People will also use it to determine the kind of person you are and if they actually want to work with you.
And that is where your About Me page comes in.
This page is an introduction to the kind of person you are, your history as a writer, and your skillset.
This needs to be more than just a blurb at the bottom of your home page. It needs its own, dedicated page, where you can go in-depth about what kind of writer you are and your past experience.
Why Your About Me Page Matters in Your Writer’s Portfolio
I’m going to level with you here. Your About Me page might just be the most important page of your entire writer’s portfolio.
How can I make such an audacious claim?
Let me explain.
This page is your introduction to potential clients. Just as a firm handshake and well-groomed appearance tells you a lot about a person, this section serves to paint a picture about you as a writer.
For example, if it is just the bare-bone basics with very little tone or personality, you risk a boring reputation that will be hard to recover from.
On the other hand, if you enhance this section with stories, your life’s passions, and a relatable tone, it will fill in a lot of the details and move people to want to know more.
When we get down to it, this section serves a couple of purposes One, it showcases your writing style and voice. It gives people a window into how you write before they even glance over your writing samples. And if it’s unimpressive, they might not want to look further.
It also tells people who you are, both as a person and a writer. When done right, it is much more engaging than a simple resume that lists your skills and history.
In this section of your portfolio, you have the opportunity to tell a story. This story is meant to grip your readers, make them feel closer to you as a person, and give them a glimpse of what it would be like to work with you.
Now that we’ve discussed why this section is important to your overall portfolio strategy, let’s talk more about how to bring your A-game to this page and make it a shining example of your writership.
How to Create a Killer About Me Page for Your Writer’s Portfolio
1. Include a Professional Photo
When we first visit a page, the visuals are the first things to draw our eye. If we just see a large block of text, our brain gives a little sigh of disappointment. As humans, we are constantly looking for visual stimulation.
A photo of you gives your readers a frame of reference as they read more about you.
But, if you’re going to do a picture, do it right. A blurry picture of you at last year’s 70s party doesn’t exactly say “professional.”
Instead, choose a photo that showcases your professionalism and ability. Here are a few points that will make your photo stand out for the right reasons:
- Dress professionally -- i.e., no logos, stains, or rips.
- Keep it simple, with a neutral background that won’t distract.
- Use a headshot where your face and shoulders are centered in the photo.
- Make sure it’s clear, with no blurriness.
- Select one that’s current, within the past year or two.
If you can accomplish this in a selfie, go for it. But it can admittedly be hard to get the right shot. So, if you have the extra money for it, spring for a photographer who specializes in professional photos.
For bonus points, include additional visuals throughout your page. It could be a picture of you at your workspace, with your computer open. It could be your latest pictures from your climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. It could even be a picture of your dog. These additional visuals have the power to inject your page with personality -- don’t waste that potential!
2. Stand Out with a Headline
The next thing that naturally draws your eye is a catchy headline. A good headline speaks to what people can expect as they read your page. It also builds curiosity for what is to come.
For example, you might lead with a headline like:
I had my first byline when I was five
A writer who never backs down from a challenge
Pro Tip: If this is a challenge for you, you might wait until you’ve written your page. Sometimes your brain needs to see everything in place before the perfect headline comes to you.
3. Use Your Own Voice
This isn’t a white paper or a textbook. This is your introduction. Make it more human by using a voice that represents the kind of person you are.
Keep it professional, of course -- no slang or terms that could alienate your reader.
But a good voice makes a reader feel like they’re sitting down with you for coffee, just shooting the breeze.
If you’re accustomed to writing in a more technical manner, then try to imagine how you would explain yourself to a close friend. Maybe even record yourself using a voice memo app and then try to mimic your speech patterns in your writing.
4. Tell a Story
Like I mentioned in the introduction, this is not your resume. Don’t just list dry facts about your past work experience and goals.
Tell a story that perfectly illustrates what makes you a good writer. It could be the first time you picked up a pen in high school English class and felt the words flow from you like fresh honey. It could be how you would go out to eat with friends, found yourself inspired by something and took to scribbling on the nearest napkin because you couldn’t hold it in.
These kinds of stories are so much more poignant than a list of jobs you’ve done. A story speaks to the kind of person you are and distinguishes you from everyone else.
Word of caution, however: Keep these stories on-topic and don’t get too personal. There’s a big difference between a story that complements your profile and one that distracts from it.
5. Don’t Ramble
Your readers come to your About Me page with a specific purpose in mind. They want to read about you and see if you would be a good fit for their needs.
Provide them with all of the relevant information they need to make up their minds about you. Don’t go off on tangents or share unnecessary information -- this is about you, but it’s not your 1,000-page autobiography.
Think about what potential clients want to know. For instance, a potential writing client might want to know…
- What kind of writing you do.
- Your background.
- How many years you’ve been in the biz.
- What makes you different from other writers.
Give them the answers they need.
6. Be Honest
Remember, this is the beginning of a potential client relationship. The trust between you two is still fragile at this stage. If you include half-truths, exaggerations, or outright lies in your introduction, and it comes out, you risk shattering that relationship.
Instead, be completely honest and upfront about your experience and what makes you an exceptional writer.
7. Be Humble
In other words, don’t brag too much. Sure, you might just be the best writer this world has ever seen. But nobody likes a know-it-all.
Of course, the purpose of this page is to talk about yourself. So by all means, talk about your abilities and accomplishments. But stay away from grandiose claims, such as best, smartest, or most in-demand. If you are, in fact, the best and smartest, people will be able to see it in your writing.
If your About Me page was a meal, I might compare humility to a pinch of salt. A little humility helps to enhance your abilities and keep all of your other ingredients in balance.
8. Strategically Use White Space
We’ve all stumbled on that website...you know the one. It opens up to huge blocks of text -- long paragraphs that go on for days. And most of us, if we don’t need to read it, will hit that back button and look for another page.
Why do we do that?
If it’s not our industry or specialty, our brains get overwhelmed when we see huge blocks of text.
On the other hand, when we see smaller paragraphs with a healthy balance of white space in between, it is easier to read, find our place, and absorb the information.
How can you use white space strategically in your writer’s portfolio? Aim to write no more than two or three sentences per paragraph. Search out long paragraphs and look for ways to break them up into easier-to-digest segments.
Doing this will help you to avoid overwhelming your audience and provide them with a more pleasurable reading experience.
9. Include a Video
Video is truly the king of content right now. When given a choice, many people will choose to watch a video over reading text.
Fairly recently, even LinkedIn enabled a video upload feature on users’ profile and summary pages.
People love consuming video content. And it makes it even easier for potential clients to see who you are and get a glimpse of you as a person.
Use this to your advantage. Create an introduction video that welcomes people to your portfolio and highlights your skills and experience. Then upload it to appear along with your written bio.
10. Proofread Before Adding It Your Writer’s Portfolio
Grammatical and spelling mistakes are part of being human. That’s why proofreading is a necessary part of your writing process. Leaving such mistakes in your writing can be a sign of laziness or a lack of attention. It can put a mark on an otherwise beautiful page.
So take the extra time to read over your page with an eagle eye, hunting down and fixing mistakes. Sometimes I even read a page aloud to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. You can even use a tool like Grammarly to help you weed out pesky mistakes.
As a final review, you might even ask someone close to you -- a colleague, friend, or family member -- to give it a read. Because they know you well, they can give you valuable feedback on how well it represents you and your voice. They may even find a couple spelling and grammatical errors that you missed.
11. End With a Clear Call to Action
Make it super easy for someone to take the next step after reading your About Me page. Whether it’s contacting you for a job or checking out the samples in your portfolio, encourage them with a call to action, or CTA.
Insert a button below your final paragraph that tells people what you want them to do. Start with an action word and make it clear and to the point. Here are a few examples:
- Contact Me About a Project
- Check Out My Writing Samples
- Learn More About Working With Me
A lot will depend on your target audience and how you want to move them along in the buyer’s journey. If they tend to need more time to make a decision, directing them to other parts of your writer’s portfolio might be the natural next step. If your audience is faster with decisions, then direct them to your contact page.
You have worked hard to craft a professional writer’s portfolio. Make sure that your About Me page amplifies and strengthens your hard work.