Last semester for class research, my friend and I decided that we would email architecture firms and see what their expectations were when looking at post-graduate resumes. As I am about to start looking over my own resume and I thought their comments might be helpful for you as well. Something to Note: These comments were from local South Carolina architecture firms. It should not be assumed that these comments are the consensus for all business types; however, they are more particular towards design firms.
What are the least effective attributes of a resume?
- Long verbal descriptions….self lauditory claims.
- OVERUSE OF GRAPHICS. THE PORTFOLIO SHOULD CONTAIN YOUR GRAPHIC EXPERTISE.
- Personal logos Too personalized Too theoretical Design philosophy
- Unnecessary graphics. Listing professors as references.
- Incorrect spelling
- Lengthly resumes that go into too much detail
- Objectives and references
- One that makes the reader rotate the page to read
- Over design to impress
- Students who want to add personal style
- When people try to be cute or clever and complicate the conveyance of info
- Do not attempt to “flower up” work experience, be factual. Highlight strong skills and work ethic.
- Format that is not 8-1/2 x 11 size, not a professional format, too much emphasis on showing off your graphic design skills, and project examples that read as meaningless graphics.
- Meaningless words, for example including an objective section that is so obvious that its insulting. it is very ineffective when a resume works so hard to be different but doesn’t pull it off with superb craftsmanship.
What advice can you give to recent architecture graduates regarding resume development?
- Be clear and concise
- Do not be afraid to show some of your work. Use photography to exhibit your skill and experience
- Make sure that you do not have any spelling errors or grammatical mistakes.
- Focus on work exp
- Maintain a positive attitude in the printed presentation as well as the personal presentation.
- Subscribe to Before and After Magazine (bandamagazine.com) or start looking at graphic design blogs online, and learn how to do things that are simple and beautiful. write competent-sounding, interesting and interested-sounding cover letters. the way you write is a huge part of the way the employer views you. always use the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. dont ever, ever, ever use drafting dots on your portfolio or resume. it is not cute or clever. dont include teeny tiny text or images. text should be legible but not oversized, images should be big enough to really do justice to the work. i would never recommend putting more than 4 images on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper. one is best. up to three is fine if they are related to each other. dont come up with some fancy format for your portfolio and then dump millions of pictures and graphics into it. people want to see your work, beautifully displayed. they dont want to see a complex format that makes the work difficult to see. Finally, dont think the resume or portfolio will stand for themselves. they are just your passport to get in the door. what you are selling is YOU, so its the person-to-person contact, whether over the phone or in person, that’s going to get you hired. call once to twice a week until you get either an interview or a ‘not interested’. always be supremely respectful of them and their time in your communication with them.
- I PREFER CANDIATES WHO HAVE WORKED CONSTRUCTION OR IN ARCHITECTURE OFFICE. OUR INTERNS START OUT ON WORKING DRAWINGS, NOT DESIGN WORK
- Have someone outside the profession review (and proof read) your materials. Anyone should be able to understand the intent of the document. Keep things concise. If you do not have direct experience then look into highlighting continuing education or conferences attended.
- Get real work/life experience Get Revit/BIM trained Show passion Show leadership Show intelligence/GPA
- Don’t spend so much time and effort trying to come up with some tricky graphic design and odd format printed on unique paper. You will not be hired based on your skills as a graphic designer so just give us a direct, clear and concise summary of your qualifications and best architectural work to date.
- Work on the pictures, computer skills,and enthusiasm. Try to look competent….not flashy. Good luck!
- Make your resume read as easily as a business student’s resume, kick it up with well though out fonts, page structure, etc
- Be creative, but don’t get too cute. Use the spell check function before finalizing. If there are specific areas of interest, include that in your cover letter.
- A resume is useless unless you get it to the person that matters. when possible, present your resume in person and ask for 5 minutes to say hello. you will likely be remember more easily. strong, relevant references are important.
Interestingly enough, when asked which resume firms preferred (between Template 1-4); firms almost always chose the simple plain, basic one to any other that was more creative or had slight variations in color or design. They want boring. I just really don’t want to give it to them. I’m such a rebel.