Thoughts & Feedback on my Portfolio

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PORTFOLIO & RESUME Thoughts & Feedback on my Portfolio

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    James Melnick

    After seeing the (mostly) great feedback people have been getting on their portfolios, I thought I would try this out as I am currently unemployed and looking for an entry level LA job. Im always looking for comments and suggestions for improvement since times are tough in the field and I want every edge I can possibly get.

    I usually feel my print/pdf portfolio (not my website) should be brief, easy to read, and straight to the point.  I’ve been under the impression (and told by a few employers) that with so many applicants for each job, its really important to make ones work stand out as less time is spent looking at each individual portfolio.

    I realize I am a recent graduate and still have a lot to learn and improve at, but would greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions.  Thanks a bunch!


    Hello James;

    Just looked through your Portfolio……very nice!  I really like the (page turn format) that you have set up – makes it very easy to review. 

    However, I do believe LA employers look more closely at University LA Portfolios than you may think.  I mean, it’s great to have a high GPA….as well as an M.L.A. (in your case), but, owners of LA firms want to see your “skills”.  I’d have to go back and look…but, on your Resume’, be sure you list ALL of your various “LA skills”…..and all computer software programs you are proficient with.  I personally would like to see some “hand sketches” & “preliminary drawings” in your Portfolio…and examples of autoCAD contract documents.  Also, actual photos of any projects you helped design would be a plus.  Your construction details are well done…though, some of the line weights could be a little bolder…and not be the same line weight.

    Besides having an outstanding Resume’ & Portfolio….it’s also VERY important that you are fully prepared to give a fantastic job interview…..because, in today’s very tight job market, you may not get very many opportunities for job interviews.  I know of a job interview book that I have recommended….it works whether you’re a recent LA grad or an LA with 20 yrs. experience.  The book is published by Patricia Drain…called “Hire Me”.  This is an inexpensive book (less than $10)…I think you can find it on…and even download a copy of it.  I have personally spoken with the author of this book, but I have no affiliation with her or her book sales.  But, this book tells you everything you need to know to give a GREAT job interview. One thing I remember from her book is that she says that a job interviewer will make up their mind about whether to offer you a job within the first (7) seconds from the moment they lay eyes on you….so, yes, first impressions to count.  At the end of the book are about 50 really good potential job interview questions, along with some good suggestions on how you might best answer those questions. 

    So, making sure your Resume’ is well put together…..and you have an outstanding Portfolio are both critical…but, so is how you present yourself at every job interview.

    Another thing to keep in mind…..once you DO get that first “entry level” LA position…it’s important that your work ethic is strong & your attitude is always positive.  Willing to learn and follow instructions.  Be a sponge…learn from all of the experienced and talented LA’s around you.  Remember, the first 6 mos. to a year in that job…you are being watched very carefully…they are evaluating you.  I’m sure you’ll do fine.

    Good Luck, James!


    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

    James Melnick

    Mr. Wainner,

    Thanks for the response and feedback, both are appreciated.  I agree with you on all those points and will work on making those changes, specifically finding some drawings I am proud of!  Maybe I phrased it wrong about employers looking at portfolios, I was just commenting on the sheer number of portfolios they must have to look at these days and the time allocated to each one.  I was under the impression with so many applicants, its just key to make ones portfolio/resume really stand out  I’ll have to take a look at that book as I’ve heard it mentioned by quite a few people.  Again though, much appreciated!




    I have to agree with what Marie has written above.  Your LinkedIn profile states that you were a “Consulting Landscape Architect” in June 2013 (Austin, Tx.)……and I note that you earned your MLA at the U. of Arizona in 2013.  In order to be a “License Landscape Architect” & to use that TITLE…you normally have to have a minimum of (2) yr. professional design experience….and have passed the LARE…and be Licensed in the “State” you perform any design work.

    I was once a “Licensed Landscape Architect” in 14 states (at the same time)…..for over 33 yrs. in the State of Texas. 

    On my own personal LinkedIn profile, I use the TITLE “Landscape Designer”, as I am no longer currently Licensed in a state….NOR do I use the TITLE “Landscape Architect”.

    It would be “wise” on your part to remove any reference to the TITLE “Landscape Architect” until you actually are “licensed”. 

    I wouldn’t want to see this “issue” become a problem for you as your move forward in your LA career. 

    Best Regards,


    James Melnick

    Thanks Marie, good feedback and you address some issues that deep down I knew I should have addressed a while ago!  And good points about the proper title.  Maybe its just me getting so used to telling people what I got my degree in, or just my innate desire to be a fully licensed landscape architect.

    Regarding levels of analysis, do employers really want to see scribble and notes I have on trace and such?  Or is it more important to simply show the design process from beginning to end regardless?

    Benjamin Loh

    Hi James,

    I do not have much comments on your portfolio. Just thought that I share with you mine as a reference (browse with Chrome, Firefox or IE 9 and above)  Usually what impressed me is not just the projects themselves, but how they are being presented and articulated in a poetic manner. 

    Press on!

    James Melnick

    Thanks!  Very impressive portfolio by the way, lots of great graphics and interesting looking projects.

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