How To Write The Perfect Architecture Resume (CV)

A “perfect architecture resume” or "architecture cv" is one that takes all of your relevant strengths and applies them directly to the job you are targeting.

One of the best things you can have from a potential employer is a written description of the position they are looking to fill. This is always available for an online application but you can also get an idea of what they are looking for by speaking to the hiring manager or HR rep.

To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download:

Once you have the position description, copy it into a word document and start tearing it apart. When this is done you can start to build your architecture resume.

Here is an example of a recent architecture online job posting, I only changed the location and name of the firm.


Senior Designer/Project Architect

Description

Archifirm is currently seeking a Senior Designer/Project Architect to join our Commercial team. This position will be based out of our Texas office. We believe that teamwork and collaboration will enhance the success of our projects and provide candidates an opportunity to learn and grow in our profession.

The Senior Designer/Project Architect is on licensure-track or a licensed Architect and must have 7+ years of architectural design experience. This individual must have a thorough understanding of all phases of a project from design to construction, including an understanding of programming and planning. Experience with Revit is required and experience with Commercial projects is preferred.

Essential Functions

  • Works in a team environment and collaborates with others.

  • Is prepared and able to participate in all phases of the design process.

  • May direct and produce accurate work as a part of a coordinated project team and may mentor less experienced staff.

  • Develops solutions for complex design problems, including code compliance and agency interface.

  • Provides technical oversight and coordination of project activities with clients, consultants, contractors, and staff.

  • Coordinates specifications and drawings including consultant coordination, and is capable of making independent decisions for projects and project teams.

  • Participate in Construction administration for projects and works with project leaders on issues affecting budget, construction costs, schedule, and legal/liability related issues for the Firm.

  • May assists project leaders in preparation of project management plans

  • Understands time management and utilizes project management tools.

  • Develops presentation materials to support project team’s design and marketing efforts.

  • Learns, applies and directs project team consistent with office standards for design, quality control, and production.

  • Coordinates QA/QC processes and implements QA/QC recommendations.

About Us

Archifirm is a multi-disciplined design firm – architecture, engineering, planning, interiors, graphics, and sustainability - that is focused on delivering high-quality and inspirational projects in several core markets, including Civic, Commercial, Education, and Healthcare. Founded in 1776, Archifirm is a firm built on the values of relationships, performance, and design. Our continuous commitment to these ideals has led us to be nationally ranked in both Engineering News-Record’s Top Design Firms and Top Green Design Firms publications. We are also nationally recognized as one of the 2013 and 2014 Best Firms to Work For in both Architecture and Multi-Discipline Firm categories by ZweigWhite. Most recently, we were the honored recipient of the 2014 AIA Texas Council Firm Mentorship Award.

  • Relationships—Over 80% of our projects come from repeat clients. We believe they are a testament to our success.

  • Performance—Archifirm is ranked in the top 30 of Texas’ leading architectural firms.

  • Design—We bring our clients’ visions to reality through creativity, technology, and sustainable design solutions. At the heart of our solutions is a passion for designs that work.

More good reasons to join us

  • We provide eligible employees with a competitive benefits package.

  • Archifirm promotes employee development at all levels by emphasizing mentoring and formal training.

  • Our Emerging Professionals (EP) Program was designed to provide employees seeking professional licensure with the necessary knowledge, tools, and support to achieve their goals.

  • Archifirm is an employee-driven, charitable-giving program that provides a voice for our employees in our corporate giving, promoting volunteerism and personal giving through our matching funds program, and working to build better communities through our collective efforts.

Knowledge, Skills, and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in Architecture.

  • 7+ years architectural design experience.

  • Texas architectural license or licensure-tracked

  • Texas design experience with Commercial projects preferred.

  • Experience with Revit is required and other design presentation software preferred.

  • LEED accreditation preferred.


Wow that is quite a job posting! As you probably noticed it is long and most of it is irrelevant to crafting your resume. Your first task is to delete out all of the fluff.

I have taken the above posting cleaned it up into key bullet points. I also place the points in order of what I believe to be most important. This is extremely helpful for composing a successful resume.

So I reduced the post down to its key points:

Senior Designer/Project Architect

Experience

  • 7+ years architectural design experience

  • Texas design experience with Commercial projects preferred.

  • Experience with Revit is required and other design presentation software preferred.

  • Understanding of all phases of a project from design to construction, including an understanding of programming and planning.

  • Develops solutions for complex design problems, including code compliance and agency interface.

  • Provides technical oversight and coordination of project activities with clients, consultants, contractors, and staff.

  • Coordinates specifications and drawings including consultant coordination, and is capable of making independent decisions for projects and project teams.

  • Participate in Construction administration for projects and works with project leaders on issues affecting budget, construction costs, schedule, and legal/liability related issues for the Firm.

  • Understands time management and utilizes project management tools.

  • Develops presentation materials to support project team’s design and marketing efforts.

  • Coordinates QA/QC processes and implements QA/QC recommendations.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in Architecture.

  • Texas architectural license or licensure-tracked

  • LEED accreditation preferred.

Now that is something we can work with. I split the points into two categories: experience and qualifications. You can’t do much about the latter.

If you don’t have a license then you can’t list it, but the experience points can always addressed. Really the only thing that isn’t negotiable in the above is the Bachelor's degree.

Notice how I took out all the “teamwork and collaboration” type stuff, don’t waste your time saying you are a team player. This always sounds cheesy and doesn’t prove anything. Instead of saying you are a team player, prove it through the descriptions in your resume.

The same goes for producing “accurate work”, it is implied that you create accurate work or you wouldn’t be applying. I took out anything that said “may assist”. If they are already saying it may not be required then it isn’t important.

Now that you have this reduced list, your job is to take relevant experience from your brag sheet and apply it to each of the points above.

Don’t worry about formatting or elegant wording at this point. That can be done later. Just get it on the page.

For example:

  • Provides technical oversight and coordination of project activities with clients, consultants, contractors, and staff.

    Worked on the construction documents for the National Bank project in which I interacted with the client daily, met weekly with the structural and MEP engineers, and coordinated with the interior design team

The above needs to be refined and condensed before it is resume ready but you can see how I have addressed the main requirements in this one post. Continue this process for as many of the job bullets as possible. 

Organize By Project

Depending on the depth of your work history, I recommend you divide your architecture resume by project. Provide a brief description along with any key metrics then apply your refined bullet point(s) as shown below. 

You can also see how I have tightened up and further emphasized the above responsibilities:

National Bank
Austin, TX
1.2 million sq. ft., $250 million, 40 story bank headquarters

  • Developed cladding details for construction documents, required weekly coordination with structural and MEP engineers
  • Led interior design team and conducted regular client meetings to discuss design changes

This method will address the priorities and create a resume that can be read as a checklist for the hiring manager. Remember to keep your points as concise as possible.

“Less is more“ couldn’t be more true in the context of a successful architecture resume or architecture CV.

To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download:

Thanks for reading, see also my posts on:

3 Tips to Get An Architecture Job With No Experience

Where To Apply For Architecture Jobs Online

The Two Page Architecture Portfolio

Good luck!

Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Have a suggestion for a future blog post? Please let me know in the comments below.