The most successful freelancers know that a strong online presence is crucial for securing projects consistently, and that a professional portfolio and personal brand will distinguish you against the competition. A competitive advantage is especially important with self-employment on the rise, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of self-employed workers will grow to 10.3 million by 2026. Budding freelancers can gain major inspiration from week’s #WebsiteWednesday, MelissaHung.xyz, as an example of an online presence done right.
MelissaHung.xyz is the online portfolio of San Francisco-based writer and independent journalist, Melissa Hung. Melissa mainly covers culture, race, and immigration, and as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, she’s able to address these topics with an especially shrewd lens. You can find Hung’s essays and reported stories in NPR, Vogue, Catapult, and Pacific Standard, among others.
We especially like “Filet-O-Comfort,” an essay she wrote for Shondaland.com, an online publication created by Shonda Rhimes (creator of popular ABC dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal). In the piece, Melissa explores her personal soft spot for McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. She recalls visiting the fast-food chain on road trips as a child, and her mother insisting that their order be comprised solely of Filet-O-Fish value meals because she “regarded hamburgers with suspicion.”
Before becoming a full-time freelance writer, Melissa was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Hyphen, an award-winning independent magazine that the San Francisco Chronicle called “the smartest, most interesting, and most important thing to happen to Asian American media.” Hyphen’s past cover stars include popular comedians Ali Wong and Maragaret Cho, as well as acclaimed Hawaiian ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro.
Melissa was also the director of WritersCorps, a creative writing program that mentors low-income, immigrant, and incarcerated youth through a social justice framework. The program supported 900 children a year and became a national model for arts education. Melissa’s incredible work with the organization garnered significant recognition in the form of the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, for which she was given a $10,000 grant and invited to the White House to receive the award personally from former first lady Michelle Obama.
You don’t need a resume as robust as Melissa’s in order to have a personal site as superbly edited and designed as hers. The especially effective home page communicates the most significant information clearly – her name, profession, and photo – and spikes your curiosity to see more with a quirky fact – “I really love chilaquiles.” The site’s top navigation expertly organizes the content into five pages, ordered by hierarchical importance. Viewing the About page offers a summary of her experience, featured press, past projects, contact information, and a place to sign up for her newsletter. You can also easily find pages containing Melissa’s essays, journalism, editing, and personal blog, where she shares her latest endeavors.
If you’re a fan of Melissa’s, stay updated on her work by following her on Twitter @fluffysharp or on Instagram @melissahungtx. If Melissa’s outstanding personal site inspires you to create your own, then head to gen.xyz/register to register YourPortfolio.xyz and get started building your new online home!
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