Architecture portfolio has become the norm among design graduates as well as professionals looking for a better job.
So, whether the applicant is pursuing a scholarship, fellowship, internship, or job opportunity, they have to create this unique document to get noticed or sometimes even considered. It does not matter how big or small the position is, recruiters and companies want to peruse your portfolio before hearing you talk about your experience.
Basically, an architecture portfolio is essentially a testimonial of your previous work, skills, and total experience. It’s a comprehensive document that enables hiring managers to refer to individual aspects at a glance.
Even if you’re a beginner in the field with very little experience, the portfolio will effectively communicate your career goals and how you can contribute to a company’s growth. However, a portfolio encompasses a lot of other things.
Without further ado, let’s learn about it in detail.
Defining Your Work
Let’s just say, defining your work is essential and can be effectively done in multiple ways. For instance, you may want to highlight your decision-making and problem-solving skills by talking about how you stepped up when there was an issue during a project.
You can also talk about meeting creative challenges and devising unique design ideas every day on the job.
There’s no standard or correct way to emphasize such skills, but at the same time, you don’t want a poorly made portfolio. Before including any information in this document, you must ask yourself what exactly you’re trying to convey.
Say you add an image of a building site. Is it relevant because you worked on this particular project, or is that a visual cue about the construction materials and methods you have learned? Whatever it may be, explain yourself briefly and clearly.
Someone casually flipping through may not understand the context of such images and their importance in your portfolio. However, you can get that bit sorted by including supportive texts or verbally explaining it during the interview. While it may sound obvious, applicants often end up overlooking this part.
Peering Through An Objective Lens
Nobody knows or understands your work as much as you do. Therefore, it isn’t easy to look at your presentation from an objective point of view.
One way to do so is by asking another professional to edit your application documents. However, it’s not just a proofreading role but rather one of an objective observer. If you can explain your work to a third party, you’re more likely to get a positive response from recruiters and hiring managers.
Knowing Your Prospects
The key to the successful placement of your portfolio and eventually cracking the job is knowing your prospects.
The more information you have on your potential employer, the better equipped you’ll be during the interview and other assessment exercises. In fact, you should learn more about their type and scale of projects, local and international clients, the software they use, and their growth objectives, among other things.
Once you have all the necessary information, you can use it to your advantage by tailor-fitting the portfolio to the profile they are looking for. While digging up, you may even conclude that this job is not for you, simply because your goals do not align with those of the company.
Apart from that, try to find out more about how the hiring process works and who will review your portfolio. Some companies even have a preferred format, so make sure your application lines up with it. You can even directly contact the office and ask what they are looking for in potential candidates.
To Include Or Not To Include
You must understand that not every little detail about your career has to feature in the portfolio. While it’s only natural to want to add all that you have achieved or done so far, keep in mind that the architecture portfolio is not a record of your entire career.
That said, the reviewer or hiring manager does not have the time to look into every small detail. Long story short, you have very little time to make an impression, so try and use it to your advantage.
Earlier, when portfolios were mailed in hard copies, the printing budget was a limiting factor. Nobody wanted to spend a considerable amount on printing, only hoping to get an interview call.
However, that is no longer the case since the scene has shifted to digital platforms. While soft copy portfolios save time, effort, and money, it’s difficult to set the limits since you have infinite editing and formatting options.
Do not aim to create the best portfolio; rather, design a practical one that will instantly attract the right kind of attention.
Rule #1 (And That’s The Only Rule)
Regardless of where you have reached professionally, you have to follow this golden rule: your portfolio is a comprehensive document featuring the most inspiring and relevant work.
At the same time, you must remember that your application portfolio should briefly describe your projects with the help of diagrams, images, texts, and other tools. Whereas, your interview portfolio does not need to be as self-explanatory since you can share every detail in person.
Based on your total experience, we recommend organizing the portfolio by project typologies. Organizing chronologically or by firms is redundant. Ideally, you should rank your assignment from most to least relevant.
This way, you can start the discussion with the most important piece of work. Therefore, it’s best to look through your previous projects before appearing for an interview, so you have all the answers prepared.
Portfolio Presentation – The Order Of Importance
- Right at the beginning, a project relevant to the position you have applied, showcasing your most valuable skills and capacities
- Followed by an assignment or project that emphasizes your skill set and attributes
- Next, a project relevant to the company’s core business or expertise you are applying
- A project that the interviewer can directly connect with while talking to you (remember people love to brag and share their experiences)
- Any interesting project that can spark a discussion
Tips To Create An Attractive Architecture Portfolio
Use A PDF Portfolio
While online templates look more attractive, not all systems can support them. In case they fail to load, the hiring manager may move on to the next candidate.
However, when you share a PDF file, the recipients can download and look through it even without an internet connection. Just make sure that your file size is below 5 MB, so it’s easily accessible on any device.
Less Is More
Keep your portfolio short and simple. Long, unnecessarily detailed presentations bore and confuse readers, mainly because they’re looking through multiple applications simultaneously. In general, recruiters don’t spend more than a couple of minutes on each portfolio, so make sure to give them their time’s worth.
Include Team Projects
Even though a portfolio is about individual achievements and roles in different projects, it’s essential to convey that you’re a team player. Any architectural job role will involve teamwork and interdepartmental communication, so you must emphasize your ability to gel well and work as part of the team.
Pay Attention To Fonts And Grammar
Keep texts to a bare minimum, but make sure to proofread thoroughly. Grammatical and spelling mistakes irk potential employers. You don’t want to lose out on opportunities for such minor errors.
Run your portfolio through a grammar and spelling checker before submitting it. Also, maintain a uniform font throughout the portfolio as that looks more professional and polished.
Keep in mind that you’re better off presenting a low-key project in minute detail than a large-scale one, where you have a very limited role.
Ultimately, a company does not just want to hear big names; instead, they want to assess your potential based on your previous jobs. Other than that, things like creativity, knowledge of digital tools, team participation, and leadership qualities also interest potential employers.
So, make sure that your portfolio gives a clear message about your professional attitude and readiness to meet creative challenges.
On that note, we hope this guide has given you enough reasons to create an architecture portfolio.
Till next time!