As every year Highline starts this new year with our annual survey of salary expectations. For 6 years now, this study carried out by architecture and construction professionals has provided valuable information on the current job market.
CV & Portfolio
The portfolio is the document presenting your work, if there is a document that should distinguish your application from that of a rival, it is this one! First of all, know that there are as many portfolios as there are architects. We’ll give you a few quick tips to maximize your chances of getting attention.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter, a portfolio does not need to include all your projects! It’s about making a selection of the best projects. Present five to eight projects in fifteen pages, no more. Note, the best projects can be those you prefer or the most relevant to the company targeted for your application (if you are applying to a company specialising in social housing projects, highlight your housing projects in your portfolio , simple isn’t it?).
What projects to choose when you leave university?
For a young graduate, it is necessary to present the projects carried out during the internships, their End of Studies Project, a project carried out during a competition, or even a project carried out during studies and well accomplished.
A portfolio should read like a book, it has a beginning and an end. We advise you to place projects that highlight your skills and experience, that is to say your best projects or once again the most relevant projects in relation to the targeted company. Otherwise, place the projects in an anti-chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest.
For each project, you must also select the documents. The objective is to put less so that they are more readable and have more impact. In short, less is more. Choose the documents that will allow you to support your explanation on the project when you present it for an interview. As for the text, we are not going to lie to each other: we are unlikely to spend alot of time reading them, so keep it short or simply indicate information about the project in the form of points. Recruiters are interested in knowing the title of the project, the year, in which context it was carried out, the surface area, the budget, the client, and the software used to produce the documents presented. Above all, remember to have your documents checked because a spelling mistake always has a bad effect!
The layout is crucial too. Favour a clean and minimalist layout with a unity between all your projects: a graphic style, an identical presentation insert present in the same place … Also consider the consistency between your documents. If you use a color on your CV, use it on your portfolio and vice versa.
Remember, it is best to have a paper portfolio for interviews and a digital portfolio for applications.
A SUCCESSFUL CV
The Curriculum Vitae is a must for any job application, whatever the position. It complements the essential portfolio, which you can learn more about in our article on tips for a better architect or designer portfolio. The CV is the presentation of your background and skills.
Regarding the presentation, the CV should be A4 in portrait format to facilitate reading. It must be separate from the portfolio, either in digital or paper version. For a junior architect, all the information should fit on one page. Long CVs are only suitable for experienced profiles with a lot of experience.
This document represents your application, so your goal is to be called back for one or more interviews. To do so, don’t forget the essentials: first name, surname, telephone number and e-mail address. You can add to this personal information your age, the link to your Linkedin profile, or your postal address, but it is not mandatory !
Your career path is presented in a reverse chronology, i.e. the most recent experience is presented first. For each experience, give the agency or company name, the exact duration of the activity, the job title and the type of contract. Then, for each experience, specify the projects and phases you worked on.
This is not a self-expression space. Forget about superficial graphics, pictures of your projects and long texts about how your grandmother gave you a taste for architecture through her apple pie. CVs are about facts, and they should be as objective as possible !
The burning question: should you put a photo or not ? The first thing to know is that a picture is not an obligation. A photo can be very well received on a CV as a picture is worth a thousand words. And recruiters who see hundreds of applications will better retain those with a picture.
On the other hand, be careful not to be retained in the memory of recruiters for the wrong reasons! Indeed, the picture can quickly turn into a disqualifying element in your application. So forget about selfies in front of the bathroom mirror or portraits in your swimsuit on the beach. It is better not to include photography than a bad one. If you want to include a photo, it should be of good quality, not pixelated and professional. And don’t forget to smile!
Once you have completed your CV and portfolio, all you have to do is to apply!
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