Did you know I got my first job after receiving my B.L.A. – a landscape architectural internship – by applying for interviews around my hometown during a February reading week? February is not too soon! This is exactly the time that employers start thinking about new hires for April, May, and June, or for summer internships.
In other words, right now is the time to fine-tune your resume and portfolio.
A good portfolio shows a range of skills, from technical detail and plan drafting to renderings. Here are a few tips to start you off:
- Create a LinkedIn account. This a great first step to networking and makes you look professional if an employer looks you up! Add your fellow students and professors for now, along with any guest speakers whose presentations you've attended. You can also join local ASLA chapter groups or other landscape architecture–related groups. You can even add Land F/X and me if you want!
- Create a professional Gmail account. Use your real name or initials, and keep it as short as possible. You can still be clever, as long as it fits with your chosen profession and is memorable. For instance, I once received an email from an applicant whose name was Holly but who used the holly plant's botanical name (Ilex) in her email address.
- Limit your resume to two pages max. Also, coordinate your resume theme with your portfolio theme.
- Print your portfolio and resume before sending PDFs to employers. Consider that the employer will print out your resume and portfolio before an interview on 8.5 x 11 paper. Test out printing your portfolio in both color and grayscale to make sure it still reads well. It's a great idea to also bring an 11 x 17 version with you to the interview to show fine details. Make sure your prints aren't fuzzy!
Show only your best example of each type of skill an employer is looking for. Let's be honest: Most starting landscape architectural intern jobs will involve a lot of drafting. You'll need to show the absolute best of the skills they want to hire you to do. Only take up one or two pages for each.
- Site analysis to concept workflow
- Planting plan with callouts and a schedule
- Site plan with reference notes to hardscape and furniture
- Technical detail drafting
- Rendered section/elevations
- Rendered plans and perspectives
If you don't have all of the above, how about learning it right now? Take a look at the following webinars:
Don't forget to put that you know Land F/X on your resume!