With so much conflicting advice surrounding what constitutes a good CV - we thought we'd help you see the wood from the trees and share our top ten tips for producing a great CV that will open doors for you in the world of architecture.
Half the battle is getting in front of people and having a great CV will help you do this, so here are White Space's best tips:
1. Don't put 'Curriculum Vitae or Resume' at the top of your CV - it is pretty obvious what it is, much better to put your name and job title (or aimed job title) at the top in a decent sized (and probably bolded) font
2. Keep it brief / ideally no more than two or three pages (you can go to 3 despite what a lot of people say about keeping it to 2) - people don't want to read every word on your CV, they want to easily get to the bits that interest them most which is often found in the work experience, key skills (discussed in number 5 below) or education section. Go more in depth in your most recent positions - the further back the experience is the less detail you need.
3. Make it visually appealing - architects, being designers, like things that look good. A boring word/text CV just won't cut it. You mustn't go overboard though - you can go for a more stylised CV rather than just plastering it full of thumbnail images. Generally we would say the more junior you are then the more visual the CV needs to be as you don't have as much experience to talk about; so if you are more junior then use the CV to showcase some of your flair.
4. Ditch the personal profile - people don't read them and they all tend to say the same sort of thing. "I am a highly motivated and efficient....... blah blah"
5. Replace personal profile with 'Key Skills + Achievements section' - we find this is a really effective way of selling yourself at the top of the CV - much better than a personal profile which is just a wordy self written appraisal of yourself that employers don't value so much. In this section you want to use bullet points and highlight key facts and figures about you. Talk about the level you are working at, summarise the size and value of projects you have worked on (you don't need to mention what those projects are yet until you get to the work history section), the type of projects you have worked on and the RIBA stages, what your main strength/s are as an Architect, use an example of something great that you did once. These are real facts and figures and people love to see this sort of thing on a CV.
6. Use a good font - something like Calibri or Verdana. Times New Roman is so 1990's. Sounds very shallow but trust us it's important.
7. Use specific facts in work history section - don't talk about the tasks of your role as an architectural assistant or architect or technician. Everybody knows what those tasks are and they are not looking to read a job spec. Rather go into more detail about the specific projects you have been involved in at that practice; the type, the value, the RIBA stages, the team structure, your role on that team (if there was a team of course), any problems you overcame. This is a great way to showcase your experience. If you prefer to use a project list on the CV as opposed to an in-depth work history section (to keep the projects alltogether) then do it here instead. Then in your employment history section just list the job titles, dates and employer. If you are using a project list, it is important to make it clear at which company and when those projects took place.
8. Use clear headings for each section - self explanatory.
9. Make the CV relevant to the role you are targeting - you can do this in the key skills + achievements section highlighting relevant facts about yourself which relate well to the kind of role you are aiming for.
10. Follow up - don't just wait for them to come back to you, if you have not heard anything after a few days give it a chase. It does no harm and shows that you are keen. It also might give you an opportunity to get them on the phone and create some rapport which is always a good thing.
We hope this helps. If you want any more clarity on the above or anything else then please just pick up the phone and give us a call - we'd love to hear from you.
The White Space Team
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