One semester before the internship becomes crucial as it requires putting your heart and soul into a booklet that will be deciding your future. The booklet, famously known as a portfolio, is a collection of the work that has been produced in the past years arranged in chronological order (backwards or forward). While every architecture student makes a portfolio, as it is mandatory for an internship, the question usually arises if we are required to update it after we have acquired the job.
As the question remains, there are certain must-haves for a portfolio that every student shall keep in mind while designing one.
Must-haves of a Portfolio
A portfolio is the reflection of your personality; it reaches the employer even before you do, and based on that, you are being analyzed. There are dos and don’ts in everything, but certain things not to be missed while making a portfolio are:
Make it crisp and neat
While many of us believe in making an intensive portfolio as the work produced over the past four years is all worth it, it is suggested not to include everything. Having a crisp portfolio gives an idea to the employer of your capabilities and hence would appoint you. A portfolio usually ranges between 20-30 pages, even in the case of submission for a specialization entry.
Be honest while writing about your introduction.
It is a make or a break when it comes to a person’s introduction. While we are all trying to impress someone all the time, it is necessary to be honest about yourself and your achievements in the portfolio, and for that matter, even in an interview. We as humans tend to portray ourselves in the best possible way; while doing that, one often forgets the thin line between the truth and the lie. Keeping that in mind, one shall be very careful not to cross that line and portray ourselves in the best possible interest.
The projects should be in chronological order
The thought behind having the projects in chronological order is to show the progress in the quality of work over the years. Placing the projects/work in sequence makes it easier for the person reviewing it to see the evolution, and not having it in a sequence makes it confusing.
Maintain a constant theme
Aesthetics are as important as the work presented. While the theme of each project done might be different from each, it is necessary to maintain a common theme for the portfolio. Doing that makes it look more organized and professional.
Choose a handleable size
The size of the portfolio should be handleable in the sense that while you exchange it with someone, it shall be easy to look at and carry around. The size is equally important as having too big a portfolio makes it difficult to carry around.
When to Update it?
A lot of people believe once it’s done, it’s done. But no, it is not the case. Ideally, it must be updated after every project or after 2-3 projects, as with each project, an individual grows.
It is highly suggested to have an editable portfolio, exactly for the purpose of adding and removing the projects in the future. As one completes the internship, do the thesis, the skills improve, and the knowledge grows. The portfolio is the work that helps the students get jobs, hence should be the best. It is the collection of the skills that one possesses that evolves with every new thing that has been tried.
While it looks like a tiring job to do, a lot of professionals suggest keeping updating it even during the time under an architecture firm. Every new project has a new concept, new idea, new materials, new technology, and great learnings, therefore should be a part of the book. Certain questions that pop up in mind while making or updating the portfolio would be.
How wise is it to update it after every single project? What if I am a part of two projects simultaneously? Do I put them both? The answer to these questions would be NO. It is not necessary to put in all the projects that you are working on, just the ones you think match your ideology. And yes, if you are working on multiple projects at the same time and they match your principles, why not put them? You definitely should.
What about my college work, is it left behind? Now college work is a big question, as a fresher in the field, a lot of new architects think that it is of utmost importance to have college work in there but imagine if a certain student has not worked as much in college as outside college, does that student too has to add that work? If the answer is no, why do you have to after becoming a professional? There are high chances that your portfolio might just have internship work right after graduation. And if the answer is yes, then think it over.
It is greatly appreciated to have an updated portfolio since that helps an individual see their progress, apart from applying for jobs. Indeed, not after every single project but after every 2-4 projects. That helps stay updated and reduce pressure at the time of your application.
Have fun making and updating your portfolios.