Part 5 – Common Mistakes and Frequently Asked Questions
In this final part of the Architecture CV Series, we are going to look at common mistakes, and how to avoid them. We will also look at a couple of frequently asked questions.
So to start with lets look at some mistakes that seem to crop up again and again on CVs, which no doubt drive potential employers mad!
Common CV mistakes to avoid
Mistake 1 – Lack of clear headings and layout
As I have emphasised in previous sections of this series – it is vital that your CV is easy to read, so that potential employers can scan through the document quickly. If you don’t have clear section headings, and your text is cramped together without white space your CV will not be easy to digest.
Mistake 2 – Me, me, me
Many people write their CV too much in the first person. “I have done this” “I that” and so on. This tends to give an informal and perhaps arrogant impression, and I would recommend you avoid writing in the first person for your CV.
Mistake 3 – No bullets!
I know, I am really pushing the bullet points – but they are really important. Similar to mistake 1, if you have too much text, people just can’t take it in. Whereas the use of bullet points makes each piece succinct and easy to process. A reader can quickly get an overall view of the candidate and their skills. Bullet points also save spaces and enables you to cut down your CV into two, or even better, one page.
Mistake 4 – No email address or unprofessional email address
Don’t forget to include your email address in your CV. Importantly, you must make sure your email address is professional. It is so common to see really great CVs that are ruined by a jokey email address. I recommend you open a new email account for work/job related emails, just to keep things separate and professional.
Mistake 5 – Spelling, typos and grammar
I think we all agree a CV is quite important. Your CV will is the first and most important link for you to get a new job. It has implications. So given its importance, we really need to take some time to spell check our CVs! It is really irritating on a document like a CV to see sloppy mistakes like typos or spelling. There isn’t really any excuse. If it is not your forte, get a friend or relative to read through and check it for you. Sometimes when you have spent a long time working on something you don’t really see the mistakes, so having a second pair of eyes really helps.
Frequently Asked Questions – Architecture CV
Below are a couple questions that have come up in the past from some of our readers. I thought I would share these questions and my suggestions to hopefully help out anyone else who has similar concerns.
Question 1 – What if I have no work experience?
If you are a recent graduate it is likely that you have little or no work experience. If this is the case I would suggest leading your CV with your educational background and qualifications.
If you have had a Saturday job or part time work that has helped fund your studies, that will certainly help. Pick out elements of the work where you feel your skills are transferable to an architectural role. Be creative!
If you have no work experience hopefully you will have got involved with some societies or clubs during your studies that may have given you some specific skills worth mentioning.
Be creative, but don’t worry if your CV is a little short, and fits on one page. As someone who has newly qualified you will not be expected to have pages of work experience. Another string to your bow could be your portfolio – so make sure you spend a good amount of time brushing up your portfolio.
Question 2 – Should I tailor my CV for specific applications?
I hate to say it but very few people can be bothered to tailor their CV to specific applications or job roles. This is exactly why you should! You will stand out from the crowd if you have taken the time to consider the role that you are applying for and directly relate your skills to this role. Look at the requirements of the role, and try to pick out the skills that the potential employer is looking for. If you possess these skills give examples in your CV. That way you are making the recruiters job easier by telling them exactly why you are perfect for the job.
To take it a step further, research the company, find out what they are all about. This can also have a sway on how you present your CV. The more you learn about them the better position you will be in to show them why you are a good match. Get yourself ahead of the competition and take the time to do your research and adapt your CV accordingly.
Question 3 – Shall I send my CV by email or by post?
It is very common these days to send out your CV by email rather than old fashioned post. There are a couple of things to consider if you are sending your application by email.
Make sure you put something in the subject line! People are so worried about writing the email and attaching the files they often forget to put anything in the subject line. Very unprofessional, and doesn’t give a good first impression! If you are applying for a specific role put the details of the vacancy in the subject line. If you are making a speculative application think of ways to catch the recipients attention without going over the top. Simple things like “Part 2 Architect available” or similar are fairly straightforward, or if you wish to be more creative then please do so!
Your cover letter becomes the email itself, so don’t attach a separate cover letter. You will have already attached your CV and possibly a portfolio sample, you don’t want to attach another document really.
Talking of attachments, make sure the CV document is in pdf format and titled YournameCV.pdf. I know that some people recommend sending a CV in Word but for architects I disagree. Hopefully you will have included some images or graphics in your CV which in my opinion don’t always come across well if people have a different version of the software you have used (word or others). So simple thing is to go safe and pdf it!
It is worth noting that this CV series has been developed for UK CVs predominantly. The job application process and the types of CV can be very different from one country to another, so if you are applying somewhere other than the UK it is worth carrying out further research on protocols and standards.
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