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Writing an Architectural CV

 

As a specialist Architectural & Interior Design Recruitment Consultant, it goes without saying that a significant portion of my day is going through applications from Architects, Architectural Technologists, Architectural Assistants, Interior Designers etc etc, reviewing sometimes hundreds of CV's a week.

Recruiting within one of the most creative industries out there, you would imagine that the CV's we receive would all be snazzy and showcasing design/creative flair, and really jumping out from the page at you. Sadly that's not always the case. While the CV alone won't secure a job or conversely cause you to lose out on a job, a well put together one certainly will set you apart from the rest and boost your chances of being noticed by both Recruiters and prospective employers.

If you haven't moved jobs recently, it can be a daunting task to put together a CV. I therefore thought I would write a bit of a blog post about how to create a CV for the Architectural industry, with some tips on what to include & avoid in your CV.

Template:

Try not to use a standard Google CV template. This maybe okay to do if working in Accounting, Recruitment (🙄), Sales etc, but they're probably not quite enough for Architecture. Try using InDesign to create your own template, set up a grid and experiment. Maybe use websites like Behance for inspiration on the layout.

Layout:

Be creative with it, make it look like it's going to be interesting to read. A page with block text on there is okay, but it's not going to entice the reader. As an Architect/Technologist/Interior Designer, you've most likely worked on projects that you're proud of and want to show off. Use some images of completed works in a column down the side of the page to complement the text perhaps. Imagery works well in Architectural CV's trust me.

Some people like to include a photo of themselves at the top of the page. I'm personally not a fan but it doesn't do any harm if you really want to do it. If you're putting one in, just keep it relatively small, we're interested in your work experience, not your acting headshots.

Also use a white/very light background. Your CV needs to be well spaced and clear. A black background with white writing for instance can suddenly make your CV look very busy.

Font:

This really doesn't need to be too over the top. Too many CV's try to do to much and use light text colour and italics to look fancy, avoid these. Go for a nice, clean, legible font, with a darker text colour, nothing too thick or thin, too big or too small (sounding a bit Goldilocks and the Three Bears here but you catch my drift). The classics like Times New Roman, Arial & Calibri are spot on. Comic Sans no, we're not in Year 9 IT classes now thanks.

Structure:

To be fair, this is where Google templates can actually come in handy. While we'd like to see aesthetically pleasing CV's with images of completed works etc, we do also need to see work experience, education, skills and so on as standard.

You can play around with where to put certain sections on the page (sometimes people put skills & education in a column on the side of the page next to the main text), but generally we want to see the following:

Summary - a paragraph or two at most. Tell us what your job title is, how many years experience you have, the sectors you have worked in, and how hard working, committed and dedicated you are to the job (just has to be done doesn't it).

Work Experience - The most important part. Most recent company and job title FIRST and work back from there. In each company we want to see clear dates of employment, Nov 21-Current, June 17-Oct 21 etc. Just the year alone isn't enough as that could be 1 months employment or 12, specifics please.

In each company/position, I would suggest a very brief paragraph on your responsibilities there. Follow that with significant projects you worked on and your level of involvement in them, which RIBA stages worked at would be advised.

Education - For Architects in particular you spend a long time in education and getting qualified, so be proud of that and show it clearly on your CV. University and courses attended along with dates and grades achieved in this section. Any additional qualifications/charterships can be added here too.

Skills/Software - This mainly relates to software packages used really. Instead of using ratings systems like 5/5 or 6/10 or bar charts which are hard to interpret for each software you can use, just write it out plainly the length of time you've used it i.e; Revit - 5 years, AutoCAD - 10 years, Photoshop - 10 years etc.

Hobbies - It's a bit corny but employers do want to see a personal touch to CV's. Cultural/personality fit often goes a long way, so saying you play golf, go to the gym, play chess, read books, bake cakes, whatever it may be, really does help.

References - "References on request" is usually okay. References generally aren't chased until an offer has been made, especially if one of them is a current employer, so sharing that information further down the line is okay. Some companies may ask for references up front though, so please have someone in mind who you can contact if that does come to pass.

Re-read and spellcheck:

It goes without saying that you should re-read and spellcheck your CV. You guys in the Architectural industry need a keen eye and high attention to detail, it's therefore not ideal if one of your job titles on your CV is Architectual Technican. I realise now that any mistakes in this blog post will be instantly pointed out to me but heyho! Double check you have all your dates lined up correctly on both education and work experience and you're good to go!

Conclusion:

In summary, show off a bit! Whether you're a graduate leaving university seeking a Grad Technologist or Part 1 Architectural Assistant role, or whether you're a seasoned Associate level Architect, you'll have achievements and sample portfolio work you can include in your CV to put you ahead of the rest. Use that design flair and knock up something nice! It takes time to put together a CV, but it's absolutely time well spent in the long run.

Finally of course, if you have a nicely put together CV and you're ready to enter the job market and see what's out there, send that through to me and let's work together!

Tags: Architecture CV CV writing

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