Gary Sheldrake, Senior Manager for Hays Architecture, gives some tips on preparing eye-catching portfolios for interviews.
- Present your work in a bound folder with plastic pockets; ideally A4 / A3 size, as A2 is bulky to carry around and awkward to present at interviews. We advise against using a laptop presentation at interview as you may experience a hardware or software issue, and while you’re focused on the laptop, you aren’t making eye contact or engaging with your interviewer
- Include 20-40 sheets of presentation or drawing work: any less and you won’t sell your skills effectively, but if you use more there will be too much to present at interview.
- Ensure that your portfolio presentation is neat and ordered, with no scraps of paper or photos falling out.
- Present your work as if you’re pitching to a client. Work in reverse chronological order, which will give you a structure to follow and make it easier for a potential employer to understand your progression.
- Try to have both examples of work that you’ve produced alone and that which you’ve done with a team. This will help your interviewer to identify your strengths and areas where you will need more support.
- Show a good cross-section of your skills. It’s important that you sell yourself as an all rounder, so include examples of everything that you can do. Your portfolio should incorporate:
- Concepts and sketching
- Mood / sample / presentation boards, with colour photocopies or scanned images
- Detailed working drawing packages, showing elevations, sections, floor and ceiling plans
- Hand and / or computer rendered visuals
- Plenty of CAD drawings
If you’re looking for your first role
- Include drawings from any work experience you have gained, as commercial experience is beneficial and may give you a head start.
- Have at least one project that you have worked on from start to finish, in particular your final year project. This is important as it gives potential employers an insight into how you approach your work.
Whether it’s your first job you are a seasoned professional, present your work with enthusiasm. Companies want to employ people who are genuinely interested in their work and passionate about design.