4 Years Experience- Work Samples Text Strategy


Hi All,

      My firm is going through some downsizing and I'm looking for a new job. I am close to licensure (one exam remaining, about two months of IDP hours remaining), and have four years of experience after graduation. At my current job, I've worked on a number of recognizable civic and cultural projects with large teams, mainly handling document production, as well as a master plan project for which I was dealing with the majority of code research and feasibility studies. I've also worked on some tenant improvements and commercial spaces with smaller teams and a larger input in the development of the projects.

     I have composed a CV with project list outlining my contributions and responsibilities that has gone over well with friends and co-workers I've shown it to. However, there seems to be disagreement about what kind of explanatory text belongs in the work samples. My first instinct was to provide about five sentence summary about the key objectives and scenario for each project, as well as identifying information such as size, location and client. My duties have already been outlined more precisely in the CV.

       A close friend was turned off by this format and language, and suggested that potential employers would not bother to read the CV, and would make a decision only based on the "wow" factor of the images. She suggested that I provide a  first person recap or bullet points of my responsibilities on each project page instead. She said this feels like a firm marketing booklet, and that busy managers will see reading those descriptions as a hassle, and they will be confused about my specific contributions on the Civic and Master plan project , because they will never get to the project list.

    This approach feels a little counterintuitive to me. When I have received work samples and CVs from former classmates,I always take the time to read them thoroughly before forwarding - I hadn't realized that others might have much less patience when reviewing application materials.

What do you think is the correct use of explanatory text on work samples? Is it best to have none at all? 

Sep 22, 17 1:10 am

Most people I came across first and foremost look at the CV and just quickly scan the folio and will only go over the portfolio with you there in more detail during the interview.

Sep 22, 17 5:08 am

it depends on what the employer is looking at.

If they are in genuine need of an intense soul they will scan each and every bit of it and if its just a hr manager, wow images work. according to me, it should make sense to you if you were in place of the employer and were hiring. I feel portfolio is your medium to express your self in a few pages but ultimately it should be a support document for you to express yourself in your interview.

hope it helps.

Sep 24, 17 6:57 am

Sorry but, in genuine need of an intense soul?


i meant , someone they really want as a hardcore architect who they see as a potential leader in future and not just some come and go types hire who works for a year or 2 and leaves.


Gotta love them hardcore architects :)


Thanks deepshah1991 and randomized - those comments are helpful. I don't know If I would call myself "an intense soul", but I do have some experience in academic research and marketing. It felt important to me to show that I am a strong verbal communicator, and that I can clearly articulate the objectives of the projects I've worked on. I'm mostly applying to medium-sized firms with 25-50 employees this time around. 

One of my gripes about the job I've held since graduation was that junior and intermediate employees at that office were rarely allowed to interface with clients, and I've often had to watch work I have done be presented by very senior staff much less familar with the project. It felt appropriate when I was very green, but after having gained some experience, the situation became very frustrating. 

I am hoping that my next job will give me the opportunity to use my communication skills in a constructive way. 

Sep 25, 17 1:44 pm

In that case, be sure to mention those communication skills in your talk, letter, CV etc and let them know you would like to have a client facing position or work towards that.

Social networking and smart devices is reducing tolerance for reading text.

You can put text but 99% of the eyes are not going to read it.

Sep 25, 17 2:16 pm

I'd put the info in both the CV and bullet points in the portfolio.  People often have to see/be told something more than once before they absorb it.

Sep 25, 17 4:40 pm

Every person who has ever hired me displayed at some point that they retained zero information from my resume. 

Sep 25, 17 8:40 pm

I decided to go with a version of thisisnotmyname's strategy. I suppose I will have to wait and see if any interviewers have actually read the information, and adjust my approach the next time around if it fails.                               

Sep 25, 17 11:53 pm

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