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Where Should I Host a Technical Writing Portfolio?

Posted by
Anastasia in TechComm Career Path on 9/16/20206 min read

girl with coffee and laptop

I recently wrote an article on how to compose a tech writing portfolio. The next logical step is actually making it available for future employers. Several things need to be considered:

  • Ease of set up
  • How much knowledge and skills you would require to set it up.
  • Ease of updating existing samples
  • To own a great portfolio, you need to turn it into an on-going task. So, you will need to update/enhance it on a regular basis easily.
  • Can portfolio content be structured?
  • For better presentation, your finalized portfolio needs to be structured so that when employers see it, they can find everything quickly. You might want to group samples by theme, technical documentation type, etc. And, also, since we are talking about a tech writer’s portfolio, you can make a good impression by showing off your skills of structuring material right away.
  • Is it easy to share it?
  • You need to make sure your potential employers can easily reach the portfolio.

Let's study popular ways of storing tech writing portfolios and test them against these criteria we have chosen.

Social Media

The ‘light’ version of a portfolio storage. If you have a broad network of connections on your social media, you can try uploading some samples on your LinkedIn (here’s an instruction how to add samples on LinkedIn ) or Facebook page, for example. In case of Facebook and other social media that are less fitting for storing samples, you also can mention that you are willing to send out more materials to those interested.

  • Ease of set up⭐⭐
  • Setting it up is relevantly easy at first glance since you might be very familiar with the interface. However, since these are not strictly portfolio tools, you will spend quite a bit of time trying to understand how to make it look its best.
  • Ease of updating existing samples⭐⭐
  • You will have to manually delete/add/rearrange new samples.
  • Can portfolio content be structured?⭐⭐
  • Since most social media is not tailored for storing portfolios specifically, it would be difficult to develop any real structure. LinkedIn is, perhaps, the best choice here - it allows adding sections containing different samples.
  • Is it easy to share it?
  • Sharing such social media portfolios might be difficult. In case of Facebook, not to pile up files in your profile, you would need to send them via private messages individually which is extremely inconvenient, let alone time-consuming. As for LinkedIn, the employers would need to search for the samples in your profile and, what’s worse, it might require you to be connected with the person for them to see it.

two people coworking

Help Authoring Tools

You might wonder how a help authoring tool can assist with a tech writing portfolio. Actually, it is a great way to store it online. In online technical writing tools like ClickHelp, all documents are stored in online documentation portals, and this is how you can keep your portfolio always updated and available for possible employers. Also, you don’t need to worry about formats since you can import existing samples to your portal or just use the tool itself to produce materials for the portfolio project.

  • Ease of set up⭐⭐⭐
  • It will take a couple of minutes to roll out a fully-functional online portal for storing your portfolio.
  • Ease of updating existing samples⭐⭐⭐
  • Modern help authoring tools, ClickHelp included, are built to work with agile processes, so the ability to quickly update help topics is implied.
  • Can portfolio content be structured?⭐⭐⭐
  • You can structure your portfolio just like you would do it for any real-life technical writing project. You can use a TOC, or even create separate projects if you have technical writing samples you would like to separate. This could be, for instance, a dedicated project for your medical writing samples and API documentation samples - in this case, you can even style them differently.
  • Is it easy to share it?⭐⭐⭐
  • All that you need to do is provide anyone who is interested with a link to your online portal, and that’s it! Another advantage is that you can actually create a restricted project and it will only be available for specific people - this is in case you are worrying about copyright infringement that can naturally happen when people openly share their work on the Internet.

Personal Website

If you already have a personal customized place where you advertise, this would be perfect for the job. Creating a personal brand works for technical writers pretty well. This approach might require more time, but the potential clients/employers will be impressed for sure. Luckily, you don’t need to actually build a website for hosting your portfolio from scratch. Instead, you can use WordPress or similar platforms to do that.

  • Ease of set up
  • You will have to go through plenty of customization options to really make it look the way you want it to if you don’t like the default themes. And, not all platforms support portfolio-like features out-of-the-box, so, heavy customization might be in order.
  • Ease of updating existing samples⭐⭐
  • Depends on the platforms, of course. So, let’s leave it at 2 stars.
  • Can portfolio content be structured?⭐⭐
  • If the platform on which you are building your website allows this kind of flexibility, then, yes.
  • Is it easy to share it?⭐⭐⭐
  • Yes it is. You will only need to provide your potential employers with a link to the right website section.

GitHub

GitHub is not a portfolio-oriented platform. This is actually a platform providing hosting for software development and version control. But, you can definitely set up a GitHub account and keep your sample technical documents there. A lot of software development companies are present on GitHub, so if you are aiming at creating software documentation and IT as a potential field of employment, this would be a great way not only to showcase your work, but also to emphasize that you know how GitHub works.

  • Ease of set up
  • If you are not familiar with GitHub, you will definitely spend a considerate amount of time to learn how things work there.
  • Ease of updating existing samples⭐⭐
  • As soon as you get the gist of it, you will be able to update everything pretty easily.
  • Can portfolio content be structured?⭐⭐
  • You can have sections and folders on Github.
  • Is it easy to share it?⭐⭐
  • Not every company is using GitHub, and not everyone has an understanding of how this works. Also, it is not supposed to amuse or attract anyone - it is merely for hosting and version control. So, to display your portfolio on GitHub would not be perfect, especially for companies outside of the software industry.

Offline

There's nothing wrong with having an offline backup of your portfolio. However, nowadays it is better to use it merely as data backup. Simply because online portfolios are so much more convenient to create and to share! The times when we printed things out or sent them via email are long gone.

hand on keyboard

Conclusion

Where do you store your tech writing portfolio? A short answer is - online. As for a longer answer, I hope you received it after reading this post. The thing about a technical writing portfolio is that it has certain specifics. You would need a place where you can quickly organize your content that often is rather diverse format-wise, and also be able to update and share it effortlessly. As you can see from the ratings I gave above, hosting a technical writing portfolio by the means of a help authoring tool looks like the best option since HATs are created with the idea of storing technical documentation and swiftly updating it in mind.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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