5+1 tips for a successful architect CV

In almost every aspect of life, first impressions count. As much as we care about our appearance, the impression we make through our CV is just as important. Despite this, we receive a lot of architect CVs that have been prepared with minimal energy. You wouldn’t believe how much a polished document stands out from the rest. In the following post, I’ll try to help you see how you too can produce an above average CV with a little time investment.

1. Think about what your message is!

After spending considerable hours preparing, uploading or sending your CV to the relevant person, you have relatively little time to make it stand out. Global statistics suggest that 5-7 seconds are usually taken to review a CV, which is roughly the time you have to make a good impression on the decision-maker. For this reason, it’s worth thinking about the message your CV is sending. What impression do you want to make? Are you creative, or engineering precision? Transparent or opaque? Does it smell of sweat because you put in the last irrelevant summer job and it’s 2 pages long?

You should think about the message before you start editing.

Things to consider are what the company you’re applying to is like, what the position is like, what your personality is like, what impression you want them to get of you in the first 5 seconds.

The main message of the CV below is that the creator has put minimal effort into it, despite being a creative architect. He listed all the other important information in bulk after the work experience and studies, used amateur pictures, didn’t push the design too much and didn’t even save it as a pdf… This has a contradictory effect.

This is what a bad architect's CV looks like, written with minimal effort

2. Try to make the CV relevant to the position or decision-maker

You are much more likely to succeed if you always try to tailor your CV to the specific position you are applying for. By that I don’t mean always starting from scratch, but rather think about a few things and always fine-tune it accordingly. What is the overall impression you want to create in the person who looks at it? For a more creative position, design might be more important, for a more engineering position, probably structure and precision. Who will look at it? In a smaller firm it might be the owner himself, but in a medium or larger firm it might be a non-architect HR person? What could you do to get the attention of these people? What might be exciting for them?

For example, if you want to tailor your CV to BuildEXT, take a look at our corporate identity and tailor your CV to it.

Find out what things matter to us, like Revit or sustainability.

Start an online Revit course and put on your CV that you have started learning. This will certainly get our attention.

3. Focus on studies and work experience

Always list them from the present to the past.

In your studies, indicate the school, the degree course, how long you studied there, what relevant subjects you took. Primary school need not be indicated, secondary school depends on experience. If you only have a bachelor’s degree, you can include high school, if you have a master’s degree, in which case you don’t need to add it…

For work experience, what you should include is the position, the company, from when to when and, in a few bullet points, what you did there.

Focus on what you have achieved and not just on responsibilities.

For example, modelling and design delivery vs. modelling and helping to produce the design of a 10 000 m2 industrial building.

It is important to try to include relevant work. If you were 14 and picked apples in the summer, it probably has no added value.

4. Pay attention to styling, design

As design is important in this profession, the appearance of your CV is of particular importance. Whether it’s more creative, more colourful or more structured, the key is to be clear, use a maximum of 2 fonts and have little unnecessary frills.

For example,

do not write a half-page cover letter at the beginning, a few sentences at most.

If you are early in your career, make sure it is no longer than 1 page. Be sure to submit it in pdf format. If you get stuck, Pinterest has a number of free templates that you can edit in Powerpoint or Word and save as a pdf… Never use Europass format.

Here, for example, both CVs are quite different, but both are tastefully styled. While one is cooler and more precise, the other is more colourful, with a slightly more extreme design. Both are clear, don’t use multiple fonts or unnecessary colours, are uniform and well structured.

5. Put in / don’t put in?

  • Software – Be sure to include it, but be careful with scales. It’s easy to get asked why you consider yourself such an expert if you give something a 10/10.
  • Image – CV is design and image dependent. Basically, if you have a good quality image and it fits the style of your CV, it should be good. If you have a more clean, formal CV, or if you don’t have a good quality picture (a picture taken with a phone in front of a white wall is not good quality…), then don’t include it. It won’t make a difference…
  • GPA – Unless it’s outstanding (above 4.8), don’t put it in…
  • Soft skills – Don’t put these in anyway, people measure them on the interview anyway – putting in communication or management 5/4 doesn’t make you credible.
  • Portfolio– Be sure to link if you have one.
  • Thesis – The title is a good way to show which topic you are interested in in your thesis.
  • Social media links – Social media platforms are usually checked out. It’s only worth putting a LinkedIn or Facebook link if it’s nicely and tastefully done.
  • Hobbies– If it adds to the overall look and is put together in a sophisticated way, it can go in smoothly!

5+1. Be who you are…

Don’t try to be other than who you are.

Remember, the CV is only the first part of the process. The interview is where they ask you about the important stuff anyway… So it’s not worth fudging reality too much. If you are early in your career, it can be difficult with little experience. You may feel that everyone else has brought something to the table but you. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter at all. No one expects you to have 10 years of work experience on top of finishing university.

0 experience does not equal 0 potential.

Try to make your CV look promising! This can be seen, for example, by highlighting your extra-curricular activities, student unions, volunteering or internships.

Join us!

Check out ourcareers pageor email job@buildext.com – we’ll read it and get back to you!

Csaba Melovics

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Head of Marketing

+36 70 337 53 72

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