Choose the right samples for your job application.

For most creative work, clients or potential employers ask for a portfolio. While hiring for emdash, I asked applicants to send samples of their work before shortlisting them for interviews. And received a wide variety. Based on what I saw, here’s some advice if you’re sending samples to potential recruiters / employers.

  • Don’t send everything you’ve written, ONLY your best work.

  • Give no more than 5 samples, 3 is ideal (unless asked for more).

  • It’s okay to redirect people to your portfolio website. But if you expect the recruiter to do the work of identifying your best work, your hit-rate will be very low.

  • Instead, pick your most relevant samples and point to them. Find relevance based on the kind of organization, industry, job role you’re applying to etc.

  • Send links, where you can — of the published article, not your Google Drive. If it has your name on it (like a byline), even better. For content writers, this might not be possible, that’s okay.

  • If you have to send attachments, send all your samples in one PDF document. Easier to read.

In the email you’re attaching samples, ask if they’d like to see anything specific. Sometimes, you might send fantastic whitepapers perfect for the industry / company. But they might like to also see if you’ve written short-form like emails / social media copy. Asking them allows the opportunity to show more, if needed.

P.S: Read the job description clearly. Follow instructions in it. The above advice is only when there are no specific instructions.