Regarding portfolios, what is it that a potential employer is looking for” In other words, what are the kinds of things that it must have, what are the things it could have and what are the things it shouldn”t have”
(submitted by Kelly G.)
The contents and the order that you show your portfolio depends on the type of position you are seeking, as well as the type of firm you are applying to. It is important to have some background information of the firm or the person who is interviewing. You might ask yourself questions such as:
- Do they do residential work or commercial or a mixture of both”
- What kind of specialization do they have (i.e. hospitality or medical)”
- What size is the firm” Is it large so that I may concentrate in a specific area or task, or is it a small firm where you are going to wear many hats. A large firm might be more interested in your technical skills and a small firm might be more interested in your inter-personal skills and your creative skills. In a large firm you might be a member of a large team whereas in a smaller firm you might be the entire team.
With as much information in hand as possible, strategize as to what specific projects or presentations will meet the need of your future employer. You might rearrange and select different examples of your work for different interviews.
The quality of presentation is equally important because that shows your ability to visually communicate your ideas to your future clients as well as reflect you level of excellence. Show examples of your work from your freshman year as well as your final projects, this will show the progress of your development. Graduation is just the beginning, any employer will expect you to continue to develop and improve.
It is also good to be able to verbalize your projects. Write it down and practice what you are going to say about each project. Example: Information about what the project was about, how you arrived at your concept, problems you encountered and how you solved them. It might be important to have an honest and fair self-evaluation about one of your projects. Statements like:
“I felt like this project taught me a lot about…”
“The thing I enjoyed most about this project was that…”
This preparation will give your portfolio reviewer insight into your thought process and will give you the confidence that you need in your abilities.