CADude is giving you some very practical and actionable advice.
CADude "* Gather your best work, and design a website to showcase your visual abilities as well as saturating your resume with both client names and industry-standard experience (computer, software, traditional tools, etc.) to place on a section of your site in a section called About Me or Resume."
This one is very contemporary. It is an excellent idea to make use of social media to get your own personal branding going. The AIGA, Print, and really all of the design-oriented journals are present on Twitter and you can learn a great deal by just following links.
CADude "* Don't be afraid to burn bridges with a client who maybe under-handing you by being meticulously picky, or cheap, toward your work, especially when you know you're damn good! You can always find more commendable clients elsewhere!"
Triple kudos to CADude for saying this. It is very hard for creative people to be objective about this particular issue. Finding yourself in a value trap or what I would call a creative liquidity trap is really destructive and not worthwhile.
In my professional life I have been fortunate enough to have encountered a long series of very interesting mentors. It has just barely been possible to meet and learn from some seminal figures in the design world. This is something I have been working at since I was 18 and I can tell you at 45 some of those experiences are the ones I treasure the most. Many of those teachers are now departed and I had an opportunity that few others had and cannot be replicated.
Of course, mentoring and apprenticeships are available to every generation and I would highly recommend seeking out a superb studio in which to work for awhile. You may make less money, but the practical knowledge will be priceless.
@danisnotstr8 "Typography is boring, right?"
I don't think so and neither do most of the designers that I know.
Last bit regarding digital media. The canard that says graphic designers are terrible at digital media is partially true. To the extent that a project is design and not based upon communication theory or communication architecture the application of design principles from one media to another can be fraught.
However, designers who understand how to use a grid, how to organize information, how to tell a story, and how to think a problem through both in a linear and non-linear fashion have a great deal to contribute to the digital universe.
Actually it is an enormously exciting time because the rules of media are rapidly changing. Understanding how to layout a book in the very near future is going to require careful thought about what a book actually is, how it might work on different kinds of screens, etc. Idem for newspapers, magazines, and really all media.
XHTML and CSS are certainly worthwhile awarenesses to cultivate but try to avoid getting into the cul-de-sac of becoming an expert in coding at the expense of communicating. If you know how to organize communication and achieve a level of proficiency that is adequate to collaborate with and perform basic coding tasks that is likely going to be sufficient.
A rule of thumb that I use for myself with regard to technology is whatever I can teach myself to do adequately will allow me to draft, sketch, and storyboard ideas that younger experts can implement in seconds. The quality of my work in a leadership role is an exponent of my core knowledge (what I can do myself) and how well I can communicate my ideas to the people I work with.
Hope some of that may be helpful.