Portfolio Tips

Read about how to adjust your CV to the US format, how to prepare your portfolio (if you are an Architect) and the minimum salary.
If you are considering joining our Program, one of the initial requirements that we ask from you is that you send us your CV and Portfolio by uploading it in the Job+J1 section of our web. Once you have submitted your work, the Selection Committee will do a careful consideration of your work to determine your eligibility and to see where we can help you so that you achieve the dream opportunity that you’ve been searching for. The team will look through your work meticulously to determine any additions or changes that can be made so that your Portfolio truly shines and exemplifies the talents you acquired in your academic and professional career. We will provide you with recommendations that we’ve seen to be successful for candidates trying to land a job in the States and help you make the changes necessary that adapt to the standards of what American Companies want to see. Normally, we’ve seen candidates to be shy when it comes to displaying their architectural drawings, plans, and any supplemental details they have. More often than not, we have to ask candidates to include more sections, elevations, and schematic designs which strengthen the final renderings. Renderings, as good as they are can sometimes be deceiving and might not show a lot of the important details which really matter in that specific project. It is important that you understand that you are competing with a lot of local and international candidates and any extra ingredients that you can add to the mix is always good. A lot of candidates have great renderings, but it is also important that you include the details which make you stand out from the rest! Composition is another factor in which we try to help our participants. This includes the number of pages which the portfolio has! Accordingly, we also recommend that you stick to 1-2 images per project and page. If the pages are crammed, it will weaken the strength of your design and overwhelm the reader (employer) with information. Get your point across with less! Usually less is more! That way you can grab the viewer’s attention with the important details and prevent them from focusing on unnecessary decorative elements. We know that it can be very hard, but that’s why we are here to help! We want to make sure that the work you are displaying can grab the reader’s attention in 30-90 seconds. If you find yourself struggling with this make sure you send us your work, we will gladly assist you in the process and help you with everything within our reach to find you that dream job in the U.S.!! [activecampaign form=258]
At Architect-US' Career Training Program we try to give you advice so that you enhance your portfolio in the best way possible. We've seen hundreds of them and we know what most companies are looking for and are expecting from your work. So we try to give you the guides that we think are most helpful for you, and "easy" to follow so that it makes a true impact on the employer. However small these guides or changes may seem to you, they truly make a big difference in your portfolio, specially when you follow most of the recommendations. So here we leave you with 6 main guides that you should follow as a rule for your portfolio:
  • Quality. Make sure that your portfolio illustrates quality rather than quantity. Your portfolio does not need to be 50 pages long, you can have a very strong portfolio that is just a few pages long. So make sure that you are displaying the work that you think is your strongest.
  • Composition. Work on composition: don’t overload your portfolio with text and filler images! There is a fine balance of the content that you decide to include in your portfolio, and it can be tricky for you to decide, however we recommend that you don’t have a text heavy portfolio, and that you avoid filler images. Those images may draw attention away from your strong pieces.
  • Printing. Choose a presentation format that facilitates reading and printing: A4. We recommend that you stick to the classic A4 size. This is because it will make your life easier when it comes to printing and it will also reduce the costs. You are already spending a lot of money in other areas of your applications, so save a little extra when you can!
  • Cover. The cover is the first thing that the employer is going to look at before opening your portfolio. So make sure you have an elegant and sophisticated cover. I don’t mean boring, but don’t go to crazy either.
  • Backgrounds. This point may seem clear to a lot of you or annoying to some. However, we highly recommend that you stick to neutral backgrounds in your portfolio, don’t move the attention of the reader away from the content that really matters by adding crazy colors all over the place. It will also help you be cohesive throughout the entirety of your portfolio pages. So if your graphic design in not on point, and you start adding colors and shapes all over the place it may distract the reader from the content that actually matter: your work!
  • File size. Last but not least, make sure the portfolio file isn’t too heavy, don’t send a massive file as they will probably not wait for it to open. Employers receive a lot of portfolio for them to look at and if the file is taking too long to open it is likely that they will move on to the next. So make sure you see how big the file is and what you can do to reduce the size.
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Within the architecture industry, portfolios and work samples usually are considered more important than any other proof of education or experience. Updating and improving them can become one of the most challenging tasks, specially when showcasing progress at the early stages of our professional life - here are some tips for an architecture portfolio and a few tips on how to shape it to show the best of yourself!
  • Less is more. You may notice that some companies limit the size or length of the material uploaded for applications - most are usually overloaded with imaginery and data, so it becomes crucial to keep it short and representative of what you can bring to the table.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Including a brief description of a project may provide context, but anything longer than two paragraphs will most probably not be read - and be a waste of your space.
  • Know your audience. You can have a set of projects in your folder, but there is no need to show your entire trajectory the whole time. Being mindful of what pieces of work may be attractive to your recruiter will automatically earn you extra points.
  • Tell your story. No matter if each image is different, or even if they look all the same, companies are interested in good professionals, but strive for natural communicators to be part of their teams. Delivering a message in a polished and unique manner will be much appreciated by the person looking at your work. Always keep a balance between what you have achieved, and where you want to take your career in the future, and how that can be an opportunity to be valuable in the company.
  • Readability, legibility, navigability. Three words to explain how having a clear structure can save your samples from being piled up in nobody's desk. Regardless of style, anything that goes into your portfolio needs to express its importance by its scale, position in page or even its font. Just the same texts have an introduction, body and conclusion, your work should follow a set of guidelines that allow the reader to focus on the content, and not the overload of information.
And remember,this is just a few tips for an architecture portfolio, it's never a competition to find the best porfolio, but to get the person who fits better a certain opening - not all are the best match for all potions. If something doesn't work the first time, share and compare it with others, take the feedback and keep improving!  
No, this is something to be discussed directly with the company offering you a position but according to Department of State Regulations, an Intern / Trainee should receive a minimum stipend of $1300 per month. However, there are exceptions for scholarships and such, so please contact us directly at training@architect-us.com for us to review your particular case.
  1. Include both 2D and 3D drawings on your portfolio.
  2. Use 1-2 images per project and page.
  3. Make sure all your drawings are readable without the need of a 3x zoom-in.
  4. Use as little text as possible.
  5. Gather graphical information of your most important projects: flats, perspectives, sketches, drawings, computer graphics, diagrams and/or charts. Remember that quality is better than quantity.
  6. Choose a presentation format. We recommend a format that facilitates reading and printing: A4.
  7. Design a template. It is recommended that you use neutral background colors that do not distract the reader the basic content ( your plans, drawings , photographs , renderings, etc)
  8. Avoid text overload because architects are visually expressed. Your portfolio should convey professionalism, your skills freehand, layout, spatial vision, photo quality, etc. with good composition.
  9. Make an elegant and sophisticated cover. You can include your CV and your contact information (phone and email) on the front pages of your portfolio.
  10. To do this you can use programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign or software platforms creating web pages: behance, Issuu
  11.  Cleanliness and order are very important. Check presentation and composition.
  12. Finally, save the file. Its size should not exceed 10MB to mail.
You should consider removing the following elements from your resume in order to adapt it to the American style:
  1. Personal information such as marital status, identification number, your parents’ names, and your date of birth.
  2. Aggregate grades as many U.S. employers may not understand them.
  3. You shouldn’t include information such as marital  status, date of birth and identification number.
  4. You may want to draw attention to a topic or qualification, but keep in mind that you shouldn’t write in ALL capital letters - use capital letters only to begin proper nouns such as the companies' names, countries and names.
  5. Keep your résumé tidy. If you want to use a table to organize information, make sure the lines are invisible. Otherwise, it can be distracting for the HR Managers.
  6. Don't put references in your CV. You can either send them separately or upon request.