In a competitive world like ours, having a winning CV is essential. And it can often play a decisive role in the future of your career as well. So it is evident that a good Architect’s Curriculum on its own is not enough. Still, it is also true that trying to maximize career opportunities is always better than not doing it.
Whether you are a student, a young architect, or an established freelancer, you should take care of your Portfolio and the old and classic CV.
Indeed, the CV can be considered the front door, the first step – which eventually opens the way to convincing recruiters or customers to go and browse your Portfolio for good.
Sometimes the curriculum is also the primary selection tool. Often the Portfolio is observed only at a later stage or having at hand the CV information.
Like the Portfolio, the CV is a tool that the architect should always keep up to date – to be always ready to forward it to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.
Also, in this case, the most significant effort must be made at the beginning, at the first draft. After that, subsequent updates will take up a little time. Therefore, it is essential to set it at its best and perhaps follow all the advice in this article!
Before starting, don’t forget to read the other resources on our site.
I recommend these: how to create an architecture portfolio (in progress), how to find work as an architect and where to find job advertisements.
In addition to these articles just mentioned, you will also find many other resources: such as the guide for public speaking or the guide on self-promotion. All very useful readings that could help you during the interview.
Please note that this article originally appeared (in Italian) on our partner site Marketing For Architects. From the same author.
Tips for an effective Architect Résumé capable of standing out
The purpose of a CV is to put us in a position to start the best career we have in mind. And since the world of work is also made of competition – the healthy one preferably – we must necessarily try to stand out among other candidates.
This does not mean you have to make up things to get noticed. Indeed the CV cannot mention false experiences.
The years of study, experiences, and activities you have carried out will make it up. The trick is to pull out the most of – in the eyes who have to evaluate us during the recruitment phase – your professional figure.
Here are some simple tips that should (and could) be applied to your CV to make it as effective as possible. These are simple tips that are easy to use.
1. Page setup is essential.
The basis for an effective CV is its structure. The more neat and precise this will be, the easier the filling work and subsequent reading by the future reader will be. A great way to set it up is to take inspiration from the best ones.
If you look at the CV examples we report at the end of this article, you will see that most of them are divided into two or three columns, they have balanced weights, both in terms of graphics and content – and everything is harmonious at first sight.
It may seem trivial, but the glance also plays its part.
2. Make no mistake.
It seems obvious, but making a mistake of any kind, is never a good thing. It could be a typo or a missed alignment. In any case, the problem is that it seems obvious to the recruiter, or whoever is looking at your CV, that you haven’t even had time to double-check everything before submitting it to the attention of others.
The lousy impression does not come from the small error itself but from that, you did not find it before forwarding it. Or even worst, you didn’t spend enough time on detail.
3. Take care of the visual aspect of your curriculum.
Under the visual aspect, you can opt for a minimal CV or a CV with a personality. The two things can coincide.
In both cases, you will have to make some graphic choices. The important thing is that these choices are carefully thought out and designed, especially for architects and designers who want to apply for architecture or design studios.
The choice is yours then. Don’t limit yourself, but consider your options well and always bear in mind that the composition of the page must be harmonious.
4. Make the most of symbols and infographics.
An excellent way to save space and make everything more visually appealing (and more precise and immediate) is to use symbols and infographics. You will find plenty of examples to refer to. Remember not to exaggerate too much with the colours and the level of detail in this case. Functionality must win over aesthetics.
5. Be consistent.
As in architecture, design, and all other arts, the most important thing is consistency, even in the case of the architect’s curriculum. Both at the graphic and content level. Personal photos and infographics included.
* Obviously, your studies and work should also be consistent.
6. Get inspiration from other CVs.
I have already told you this several times in the article, one of the best ways to create an effective CV is to be inspired by the best. Start from the works that others have done before you and try to improve them, embellish them and make them suitable for your purpose.
7. Be Essential.
Don’t overdo the content and use synthesis. Everything that will appear on your CV must be nothing more than the essential. So go straight to the point and don’t waste your reader’s time. Being essential, you can highlight the most crucial information about yourself that you want to show.
8. You need just one page.
It is essential not to go beyond the single page.
Your synthesis will allow you not to face problems such as “and now how do I keep two sheets together?”, Nor will it bother the recruiter or whoever for him when he has to read your CV.
Furthermore, knowing how to fit all the information on a page is already an indication of a good ability to synthesize.
Appearance is certainly appreciated. Go for the front and back if it doesn’t fit all on a single page. At the same time, establish a hierarchy of importance among the information.
9. Always remember to identify yourself with who will read your CV.
If you have a doubt or uncertainty, always remember identifying yourself with those who will read your CV. If you can’t think of it, get help from your friends or loved ones. Also, try to think about who you are talking to. For example, if it is a graphics studio, it is assumed that you will also have to take care of this aspect in your CV, but if you are applying for an architect position, then maybe you highlight the skills and keywords you need for the job in question.
10. Prepare multiple customized versions.
It is often recommended to prepare multiple customized versions of the same CV.
Your professional figure is one, but nothing prevents you from highlighting aspects and skills more in line with the application of the case. For example, in the bio, you could immediately enter the job description’s keywords so those who read it will feel like having the right candidate in their hands.
It’s not about lying or making things up but optimizing your experiences as needed.
11. Do not overdo the skills, but value them generously.
Never invent things or lie about yourself or your abilities. However, this does not mean that one must sink into humility and be modest. Instead, give the correct value to your skills.
Whether it is your past experiences or your current skills, be generous with yourself and allow yourself the knowledge that if you want to improve on an aspect that is pleasant to you, you will be able to do it quickly. So there is no problem in declaring oneself slightly more expert than necessary on a subject (if you know you can master it quickly).
The CV is not everything.
Having learned all these tips on creating an effective CV for an architect, you should also realize that the CV is not the only thing, nor probably the most important. There is the Portfolio, the interview and even your online presence, which is increasingly taken into consideration by recruiters and potential customers.
Choose the right content.
It is suitable to include any experience that can make those reading your CV understand that you are the right person for that role and for that job; however, it is also true that not all contents can be inserted. Everything must have coherence. But what content to insert then? We see it immediately!
What content to include in an Architect Résumé?
A picture of you
The photo is essential. It also serves to give an idea of your personality. Better if you take a picture with a neutral background. This photo should be “normal” but, above all, spontaneous. However, it should also be serious enough and professional at the right point, without exceeding in any direction.
In short, choose a photo that represents you. Better if it represents your positive side.
First of all, personal information. City, Name and Surname, Date of birth and Nationality. Without going into too much detail. Then provide your phone and email address (better professional if you have it). Finally, also the LinkedIn address (personalized and without the www.).
Short bio of the profile.
A few lines where you tell who you are through keywords and synthesis. The bio is an actual intro to attract the reader’s attention.
As we said before, this bio is one of the things you can change most often, depending on who you are in front of and the job you are applying for. So make the most relevant experiences stand out.
Skills are the pillars of every CV. The order in which you enter them also depends on your strengths and weaknesses. But also from who you are in front of.
Your skills must be clearly explained. Infographics such as filler dots or progress bars are often used in these cases. Always try to include your skills – especially if they are mentioned in the requirements for a job application.
Again it’s OK to make changes depending on who you are in front of. Always remember, especially in this case, never to lie. Be generous, but don’t lie about something you really can’t do.
Courses, specializations or certifications are all elements you should include in a CV. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t go to Harvard to take that graduate course. If you have taken any type of course, even rudimentary, even online, enter it. What matters most is what you have learned. Of course, there are more influential institutions than others, but what matters is that you are an enterprising person who never stops training and specializing.
In addition to high schools, universities and any specializations – in the education section is necessary to highlight any subsequent masters or courses. However, especially after a few years of career, your education will count less in evaluating your curriculum. But in any case, it is part of your cultural background, and it is right always to leave it on top.
Both working and voluntary ones. But also all the other nuances that have been training experiences for you anyway. Always specify the duties and roles you have performed. A simple sentence is enough. To help you, you may want to reflect on what you have given to them (their intended employer or contact person) and what they have given to you.
Include references and if you have not, retrieve them! You can ask your old boss, your old colleague or your old professor. Ask if they can say a few good words about you. Next, you can insert their testimony in the cover letter, on your LinkedIn profile in the appropriate section, and mention their name (as a contact person) within the various work experiences.
Best CV tools or templates
Take inspiration from others, and try to learn from those who have already made beautiful and functional CVs before you.
If you are an architect or a designer, you may already know all the tools you need to make a good CV from a graphic and a content point of view. But if by any chance you haven’t developed this ability over the years, or you don’t have the time, then know that several online and offline tools can come to your aid and save you a lot of time. While preserving the quality of the paper:
- Word template
- Examples of architects’ resumes on Pinterest
- Template to download (for a fee but ready to use) on Dribble
If you are looking for examples of architect resumes, check out our Pinterest board now, where we collect the best examples. It is a constantly updated bulletin board and is already followed by many people.
Mistakes not to make in a CV
Tips to improve CVs are OK, but it’s even more critical to avoid some mistakes. Here below are the most common mistakes and the ones you should never make:
- Do not enter your contacts or forget to enter essential information such as your name or telephone number. Instead, always leave your contact details to quickly get in touch with you.
- Do not use the European format. If it is not expressly requested. Therefore, it is a standard format and is very “boring”.
- Poor graphics and layout. We need to take care of the visual aspects, but it is also true that we must not exaggerate. In this case, Mies is right with the “Less is more “. Insert the essentials while respecting an orderly visual layout.
- Send an Illegible CV. Pay attention to the font size, font choice, text colour and line spacing.
- Send it in word format or other formats other than PDF.
- Submit it without following the explanations requested by the recruiter. For example, many want applications sent to a particular email address and the email’s object explicitly expressed. Failure to follow instructions means little attention or disrespect.
- The language of the CV is essential. So, for example, if the advertisement is in English, the CV should not be in Italian. And vice-versa.
- Do not include dates in experiences and training. Even better, the month. If you have “holes”, attach a letter explaining the reason or try to translate into experience what you did in that period.
- Using laura’s photo as a CV photo is not very professional.
- The file name should be customized before sending it: CV_Name Surname_ITA, for example, or following precise instructions.
- Avoid typos. Re-read 20 times.
- Too many words. Less is more, remember. However, be authentic and personal. Take advantage of the synthesis without neglecting the personality.
- Don’t use bullet points at random. Use them only if there is a list.
- In the contacts section, do not mention undetected social networks (for example, Facebook). Instead, limit yourself to LinkedIn and possibly other more professional ones where you also show your work (e.g. Behance).
- Stop showing up after the interview. Instead, immediately after the interview, send an email to thank.
- Don’t update your CV. As we said at the beginning, always keep it updated!
I hope this article on how to make an Architect Resume will be helpful for you to be successful in your career and job search.
Remember that hard work pays off and that CV is not just a page, but all those years of training experience you have on your shoulders. Also, remember that an effective CV is not everything. There is also the cover letter, interview, and even the web presence.