Portfolio tips

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AE Recruitment receives emails containing architectural and design portfolios on a daily basis, we’ve seen a lot of good examples and equally a lot of bad examples. We decided to put together a guide of portfolio tips so that you can make the right decisions about what it should look like, what information it should contain and how to get it across to your potential employer.

First of all I would advise compiling 2 portfolios, the first a sample portfolio up to 5mb of your very best work and the second a much more thorough portfolio which you can take with you to interviews

Portfolio 1

This portfolio should be a “sample” of your best work which highlights who you are and what you’re about, this is the time to show off your creative side and really ruffle those feathers. 

Portfolio 2

Use your creative skills and really push the boat out. This is where you should be showing off your presentation skills, free hand skills as well as computer skills. When you get to interview stage you might want to take along your own laptop and load it up first, make sure it runs smoothly so there’s no awkwardness during your interview

Portfolio Course

Do you feel you might not be selling your work as best you can? This course will take you through a journey of what top design practices want to see in a portfolio and view a portfolio which never fails to get interviews


  • Learn how to construct your portfolio
  • What content you should use
  • Watch explainer videos
  • Presentation suggestions
  • View a portfolio from an award winning designer


  • Both portfolios should each be sent in 1 easy to open document for example a pdf or PowerPoint which are commonly installed programs. It’s likely you’ll get lost in a sea of applications if you send it as a .rar file for example
  • Make sure they can be easily emailed and received, so not too big
  • Make sure it tells a story of your work starting with the most current and working backwards, you could even add a few details to the side of the images about the project itself and most certainly what your role was but definitely don’t forget to add an explanation against each image, show the date the work was produced and the name of the project
  • Avoid sending individual emails with multiple attached images… there’s nothing worse and more than anything it implies you couldn’t be bothered to spend the time to do it properly
  • ALWAYS SHOW YOUR OWN WORK. If you haven’t produced it yourself it shouldn’t be in your portfolio.
  • Before you start compiling your portfolio be specific about your image selection so that your range of experience is highlighted throughout.
  • Make sure it contains the very best examples of your work
  • Contain some variety eg, internal and external images as well as 3D visuals
  • Use a well-known/well used package such as PowerPoint or adobe reader

Do check list:

  • Make it easy for the reader, detail everything you think they’ll need to know from the outset. It’ll make you application process a lot smoother
  • Test the link or document to make sure it can be easily opened
  • Show off your very best work from the outset. You can show off your background in more depth during the interview

Don’t check list:

  • Don’t send multiple individual images
  • Always so images of your own work. In some cases it’s really obvious and this reflects badly on you
  • Don’t highlight phrases or buzzwords
  • Always use spell check – Thank you Rhys!

Please also check out this link which gives loads of great advice. It’s not only to help with putting together a portfolio but also gives you an online presence for potential freelance work as well http://www.archdaily.com/793138/how-to-ensure-that-your-online-architecture-portfolio-is-on-point? 

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