March 9, 2021

Architectural CVs: An informal view

See our guide to writing a CV that will get you noticed! C+A Design offer top tips along with important dos and don'ts.

Adam Slade provides his thoughts on CVs

Throughout the year, we receive a steady flow of CVs to our company email address. They are generally non-personalised (Dear Sir/Madam) and tend not to include our company address on the covering letters. Nothing screams ‘half-hearted’ like a non-personalised cover letter. Why should we take the time to find out about you when you didn’t take the time to find out about us?

It does make me wonder why a large percentage of CVs we receive look like they have only taken a couple of hours to put together. The amount of grammatical errors, poor layouts and hideously oversized text used to fill two pages is unnerving; it really shouldn’t need to be said that you need to take extra care to ensure none of these are present when sending your CV.

With regards to the supposed need to completely fill two pages: you don’t. A concise and considered CV will cover all the points required for a potential employer to make up their mind on whether you would be suitable to interview; ultimately making the length of your CV irrelevant.
– If you have a degree in architectural technology, is it appropriate for you to list all your GCSE results?
– Does the fact that you achieved grade 1 on the recorder have any relevance to the job position?
– Does that 2-month summer job at the local supermarket 20 years ago, really need to be shown?

It must be said that being an Architectural Design practice, our expectations may be different to those of other business sectors. The key for me is that a CV should embrace the career that you are entering into. A CV is no different to viewing a piece of Architecture, for example, would you rather look at Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye or a generic house on an estate? Clearly only one stands out.

Take pride in your CV, make it a personalised project rather than just a common hand out. A good starting point is to Google 'design CV'. This should begin to get your creative juices flowing (don’t copy the first one you see though, we use Google too!). Start working on it well before you begin looking for jobs, let alone just before applying to a specific company, and keep coming back to it. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because your CV got you a job once before that it will do it again.

A CV is the first impression we have of you. That piece of double sided A4 paper could be life / career changing / defining, and is the one part of getting a job that is the easiest to manage! There’s no interview nerves in a CV…

– Take your time to carefully consider the content of your CV
– Think about how your CV will stand out from the crowd
– Have a professional check your CV
– Ensure you follow up your letter with a great phone call
– Check what you have written on your social media sites
– Provide a separate portfolio of work
– Incorporate your personality into the design

– Send an impersonal covering letter
– Use a generic CV
– Include incidental / irrelevant details (I love playing hockey as a hobby – but clearly haven’t in 10 years)

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