Looking for a new job in architecture and want to hone your CV and application letters to perfection? Let us help with some hints and tips to maximise their impact – and your chances of getting that all-important interview.
Roles in architecture are varied, however, what all are likely to have in common is a need for the applicant to prove themselves efficient, reliable, suitably qualified and that they have a high level of attention to detail; which makes it even more important that the CV and covering letter are of a high standard.
What should an architecture job CV contain?
Of course, the first impression any agency or employer has of a candidate is their CV and covering letter, so it’s important to get it right. Use clear type, bullet points, and leave plenty of white space between sections, and aim for a two page CV as a maximum. A CV should include:
Name, address and contact details. Ideally an email address too, and a sensible one – set a new one up just for job applications if necessary.
Qualifications and education.
With the most recent listed first. Include all relevant vocational qualifications and training here; for example, any specialist training courses undertaken at university in addition to the relevant architecture degree, such as urban design courses. New graduates might list A-levels as well as degree results, but those with a few years’ experience need not go back past the first degree.
Previous roles with job title and dates, focusing on key responsibilities and achievements within the period of employment. This is one section that needs to be tailored to each vacancy, making sure that content is tweaked to illustrate the specific requirements of the role.
For example, if a role specifically mentions having leadership experience, emphasise successful contributions to project outcomes - for example: “Lead architecture project team that designed new student accommodation, delivered on time and under budget”.
Note here any relevant experience or activities for the architecture role applied for. For example, training on industry software packages, or any RIBA Career Professional Development courses undertaken such as Compliance or Health and Safety modules.
It’s OK to add “referees on request” if you need to, as you’ll be told in advance if they need to be taken up. Have a good idea who you will ask though; think about who can give the most appropriate view of your abilities. This should usually include your current or last employer, say your supervisor from your practical experience years and possibly an academic referee if you completed your RIBA qualifications within the last couple of years.
What should an architecture job cover letter contain?
CVs should always be accompanied by a short covering letter. This is not the place to repeat or try to re-emphasize content already in the CV; the covering letter should instead offer a short, targeted paragraph or two covering why you are applying for this job, commenting on a couple of key requirements that show you as the perfect candidate.
Always include a couple of comments about the specific role as well as the employer, to show that the letter is tailored to them and not a boilerplate letter sent off to all. Spellcheck every document you send, and always keep your own copies.
You have just a few seconds to make an impact with your CV and covering letter; put in the time beforehand to make that opportunity count.