When you apply to a job, are you submitting the same Resume and Cover Letter to each company? Hopefully not!
Every time you are applying to a new firm, you should be creating a new Personalized Portfolio, Resume, and Cover Letter for each opening. Why is that?
Think about it! Would you enjoy hiring a person that sent you a letter that was intended for another person, with another mission in life? Probably not! So make sure that you have multiple Portfolios ready for different situations, so that you can tweak and personalized the Portfolio to make a bigger impact.
Create a personalized and targeted portfolio for each part of the application process that you go through. Although creating a Portfolio every time may seem time consuming, it is well worth it, as it will allow you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd. The interviewers will remember the personal touch you added, and hopefully call you back!
One way of saving time and making this process of personalized portfolios faster is by creating your Master Portfolio also known as your Everything Portfolio. This aforementioned Portfolio should include an entire catalog of your work, so that you have a one stop shop for all of your work ready to go. In this way, you can pick and choose what to add to your new targeted Portfolio.
Try to think of and create a Portfolio that achieves the following for the firm you are looking to target:
Targets your audience correctly?
For you to be considered seriously for the open position, it is crucial that you target the portfolio to not only the firm, but also the interviewers. Focus on the role, as well as the stage of the application process you are in. You do not want to get too far ahead of yourself!
If you are sending them a Portfolio that is NOT targeted, how will they know who you are and why you are the correct fit for the position? You must be clear and communicate your pitch to them!
Gives the reader just the right amount of information?
As you progress through the application process, your portfolio will change, and so too will the amount of information and the type of information. Ideally, you want the hiring firm and their interviewers to learn more about you as you progress through the process. Thus, your Portfolio must show this progression throughout. Try to personalize the portfolio even more and try to evoke emotions that make them like you and think fondly of your candidacy.
It sets you apart from the rest?
The time you take to personalize the content that decision makers interact with is equated with the effort that they see you put into your work. So by just sending cookie cutter templates to companies and their automated platforms, you probably will not make it to the next round of the interviews.
Make sure you set yourself apart from the rest by putting in the extra time and effort and showing your true interest in their firm.
Sells your brand and your best skills effectively!
Do you want your brand to be boring or dynamic? What would make you interested in a brand? Many different versions of their services or just one? Probably the dynamic brand that offers many different options!
The same goes for your Portfolio, you should have many different types of Portfolios that show your diverse and dynamic skill set. If you organize the presentation of your greatest attributes into smaller, bite-sized pieces, it allows for your audience to gain a better sense of your most valuable skills and ideas. These skills you highlight should obviously align with the needs of the job.
Clarifies, rather than add confusion
You do not want to add more confusion to the message you are sending, rather you should seek to clarify with your Portfolio. The better you communicate your ideas, the more likely your audience will have a better reception.
Which Portfolios should you have on hand?
Portfolio #1: The Two Pager
This brief version of your Portfolio should be created with the aim of giving a short summary of your top-notch work. Usually it will be included in your first application to the firm, since it will be viewed by decision makers that have never met you or seen your application before. By saving them time, you will be rewarded.
Once you get your foot in the door and reach the second stage of the application process, you can start to add more information that is personalized to the firm.
Bring more than just one hard copy of this portfolio, just in case there are more than just two interviewers or they want to share your portfolio with other people in the office.
Portfolio #2: The STAR Portfolio
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It is an organizing strategy that allows you to track your progress and how your actions are impacting your final results. This style of Portfolio should contain short bullet points, images and specifics about the problem and the solution. This is usually around ten or so pages to go along with your complete portfolio that you will bring to the job interview.
Portfolio #3: The Interview Portfolio
Your Interview Portfolio is what people think of when they think of an architecture portfolio. This portfolio includes your best work and goes into some detail about the projects, but remember… you will be there to present the portfolio, so try to keep text low and images high.
All three of these Portfolios are key to the success of your job hunt and your application processes. Remember! The portfolio should create some discussion, but it should not be the sole topic of discussion. Make the experience as personal and warm as possible. It is not just another interview and/or application!
When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-US, and improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in.