Welcome to our architecture CV series. This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to writing a good cv or resume. This first post looks at more general factors you should consider when putting together your CV or resume. I will then go on to look at specifics in later posts.
Many things in design are subjective – this is one of the reasons it is so difficult to write a CV. What might be deemed great to one potential employer may look awful to another. However, there are a few guidelines that we can consider that should appeal to most who read your CV – and that is the key point. First and foremost, people need to be able to read your CV!
So, although opinions will always differ on CVs, much of the design, presentation, content of the CV is down to your own judgement and this will reflect you and your personality.
The Basics for Aesthetics and Presentation
Fonts and Text
Use fonts that are easy to read – not to say you can’t use interesting ones, but make sure they are readable.
A reasonable size for the general text should be around 11 or 12 point. Titles can of course be bigger, and you can use 10 for some elements but keep tiny text to a minimum.
Keep all font styles consistent, so make sure all headings are the same size, body text the same size etc.
If you decide to use more design flair in your CV then there may be occasions where your font sizes are more varied, which is fine. But again make sure the CV is easy to read, and the potential employer is able to get the information they are looking for easily.
Traditionally CVs are very monochrome, however, given the nature of the profession, and the need to demonstrate a little design flair, the introduction of colour would be recommended. In particular titles work well with colour, but be careful when using colour in the main body text that it is again, easy to read.
Obviously the CV will feature some colour, with the inclusion of some sample images of your work – more on this later.
As you know from putting together presentations, drawing layouts and so on, white space is important. It can create impact and clarity. Make sure the information is spaced sufficiently to offer a pleasant reading experience.
If you are finding it difficult to fit all your information onto one or two sheets of paper, don’t start chipping away at your white space. You need to chip away at your content.
How should you use space in your cv? Unless you are going for a particularly quirky layout keep your side margins to about 1.5cm to 2cm, top margin around 2cm and bottom margin 1.5cm.
If you want to use a header and footer, make sure you keep 1.25cm from the edge, as some printers are unable to print to the edge of the page.
Line spacing should be single spaced, you will find more than this takes up too much space, but less than this can become difficult to read. Use your judgement, some fonts can handle being squeezed up a bit, and some look better spread out.
Between sections try to create some white space with about 16 point. Huge blocks of text don’t read well, and can often put people off reading the cv. Again this emphasises the importance of white space. Give your reader space to breathe!
Don’t forget also to keep your text justified, so that it is neat on both sides.
Making it easy to read
You need to make sure that your reader wants to read your cv right to the end, thus giving you more of a chance to secure an interview. Making your text more digestible is really important, and your use of white space will help with this. Another way to make improve the readability of your cv is to use bullet points.
Imagine your potential employer inundated with CV’s and the tedious task of having to read solid blocks of text. Make it easier on them, by extracting the useful information for the recruiter, so they don’t have to.
Don’t ram the CV full of bullet points but put them to your advantage in the career history section, skills, duties etc. Some people worry that bullet points actually take up more space that a normal paragraph. Yes, this can be true. You need to craft your bullets so that they take up about a line, or more each. If you are faced with a lot of short sentence bullets, try combining them to get the layout more economical with space.
Consider your layout. Is everything consistent? You want to make sure everything is formatted in a uniform manner, keep your spacing consistent, your indents uniform and so on. Obviously if you are going for a more unusual layout style then it is more about making sure the style works, is easy on the eye, and easy to digest.
Including a photograph. It is not considered good practice in the UK to include a photograph of yourself. I would not recommend it. You may want to stand out from the crowd, but you are allowing the recruiter to develop a preconceived idea of you which may do more harm than good. Let your qualifications, work history, and graphic examples speak for themselves, and wait until you have the interview for the recruiter to first see you.
Sending your cv by post
It is generally more common these days to send your CV or resume by email. However, there are some cases where you will send out your CV by post. Ensure you print your CV on good quality white paper, using the best print quality you are able to use. Print on separate sheets if you CV contains more than one page, not on both sides. Staple your CV together, as you don’t want the two sheets getting separated or lost.
Try and choose an envelope that matches the colour and quality of your paper. It’s all about consistency and professionalism.
This concludes Part 1 of the Architecture CV – Everything You Need To Know series. Click on the button below to check out Part 2.Read Part 2 Here
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