RESUME HACKS for Architects & Interior Designers13th September 2023 / Tips & Advice
We all know Architecture & Design can be rather a unique industry. You gain and utilise your skills and experiences based on project timelines rather than someone who completes the same tasks day-to-day or week-to-week. Every project presents new challenges, new learning opportunities, and difference exposure.
So, when applying for a new role, ensuring your resume is compiled in the right way is critical. After all, we know design development on a single residential project is a very different thing to working in the same capacity on a multi-million-dollar hospital for example. That said the fundamentals, no matter what the project typology, will always be the same, and in our industry, dare we say it, the devil is most definitely in the resume detail!
Remember, your CV is the first point of contact in the job search, it should clearly outline all that you are capable of and what you can bring to the table, making you a known quantity as much as possible. Vague generalised statements about projects and your involvement, loose dates and limited information can at best, mean the reader will have unanswered questions, and at worst, move your CV out of an inbox and into trash.
As specialist Recruiters within Architecture and Design we see a lot of resumes…and we mean a lot! We are constantly being asked for advice about what to include in resumes or for guidance on how to improve what has been submitted to us.
So we thought it was time to maybe isolate some (and by no means all) of our top tips and ways to really make sure your resume outshines the competition.
Top 8 resume hacks…let’s do this!
- Identify yourself. Putting your name and Discipline up top ensures potential employers know who you are, and what you do. Make it clear and always include easily found contact information.
- Education. Make it easy to understand. Include your degree, where you studied, and when you graduated. This will ensure it’s easy to capture your qualifications and years of experience at a glance. Not saying where and when you studying only raises questions that you may not get a chance to answer. The same goes for Registration in Architecture or Building Practitioner.
- Software skills. A vital part of any design team is knowledge of the tools. List what you use, but be mindful when and if self-rating – a course in REVIT (or any software) does not mean you are fully proficient with professional level capabilities. To support the summary list of software skills, ensure you include what software you used at each company where you worked. Making your level of expertise super clear is key. This helps avoid hidden surprises, disappointments or creating false expectations.
- Employment Experience Order. We always suggest reverse chronological, putting your most recent job first ensures that the most relevant experience is being read first.
- Projects. This is vital, industry specific, and often overlooked in the generic CV template you downloaded from Canva! Your skills and abilities will differ wildly based on the projects you have worked on.
Information on projects including typology, scale, budget, and location will ensure potential employers have a better understanding of your range.
You may have only worked on 1 project in 12 months, but if that 1 project was a 2-billion-dollar infrastructure project, it demonstrates you’ve gained thorough experience throughout the project. If you are too general or vague, how can a prospective Employer know if your experience is relevant to their own project portfolio?
- Tasks & previous experience. Detailing what you have done and where you have gained experience. Break this down into project stages and analyse how you have contributed. Preferably, you would break this down to involvement on each project you have contributed to.
For example: 2,000sqm Commercial office fitout, Melbourne/ Sydney/ London etc, $2M.
- Client briefing including development of return brief
- Production of initial concept design options
- Creation of presentations and chairing design meetings with Clients
- Design development including Consultant engagement and coordination
- Documentation co-ordination and production using REVIT.
Ultimately duties need to highlight what you actually did on a day-to-day basis, and not be a general overarching statement that can leave people guessing or assuming as to what you might have been doing in your role.
- Hierarchy. Applying for a job with a multi-residential studio? Make sure your multi-residential project highlights first. Applying for a job that focusses on design? Put projects you’ve worked on early design stages first.
Ensuring the most job-relevant experience is in the most prominent position helps with the ability to scan through your CV and show why you’re the best fit!
- Flair and personality. Showcase yourself. More than just skills and experience, design studios want to see what you can bring to their culture. Don’t shy from using colour and design driven formatting – the industry is super visual (of course) and first impressions absolutely count.
Introduce yourself, let them know what you’re about. A short blurb about your job relevant interests, career drivers, and aspirations will assist in developing an understanding about your fit within the studio.
Lastly a few do’s and don’ts final touches on getting your resume match fit ready.
With resume hacks now in hand, to cap it off here are a few tried and tested dos and don’ts based on the thousands and thousands of CV’s we see every single year to keep in mind.
Don’t: Always think that a one-page resume is the way to go. If the detail and information is relevant then take the pages you need. (within reason…no thesis needed)
Do: Fill in the gaps, if you weren’t working for whatever reason, put the dates in and a brief appropriate explanation. It’s much better to answer the questions before they are asked.
Don’t: Talk about yourself in the third person – is this harsh? Possibly but the overall personal feel of your resume can get lost.
Do: Be honest! Blurring start and end dates, or omitting places of employment is generally not advised – ultimately this industry is small – everyone seems to know everyone and if you get caught out it can be embarrassing and potentially create concerns for no reason.
Don’t: Take it personally – ultimately no matter how perfect your resume may be, if you aren’t what an Employer is looking for there is not too much you can do except move on to the next exciting opportunity!
Do: Give us a call! We are here to help and support this industry and the people within it. If you have specific queries or concerns about your resume or portfolio that our articles don’t answer – get in touch and we will do our best to assist in any way we can.
So there you have it – a few hacks n tips and do’s and don’ts to help optimise your applications with a resume that showcases your skills and experience and yourself and gets you that next amazing role.