Right let’s get started. This is the bit we really need to concentrate on. I am going to go through section by section, and help you not only figure out what you need to put in your CV – but also the more appropriate way to write it.
I am going set out the content of the CV in the standard order for the time being – however, in later posts we will look at design options, and different layouts where you can let your creative flair shine. Which ever way you look at it, the following information will need to be in your CV, so you might as well put it down on paper as a starting point and work from there.
So, first thing’s first.
There is no need to title your CV “Curriculum Vitae”. Just your name and contact details are sufficient. Contact details include:
– Your Address
– Telephone Number (I would recommend your mobile and definitely not your current place of work)
– Email Address (Make sure you have a professional sounding email address – if you have something like beefcake69@ or missbikini22@ – I would recommend you create a new email address with your name – no nicknames!)
Don’t include your date of birth, it is not a requirement. I would also discourage you from including any personal information like marital status, whether you have children and so on. Again, it is not required, and potential employers do not need to know whether or not you are single. On a similar note, recruiters do not need to know your religious beliefs, your national insurance number or passport details – so don’t include these items in your CV.
Personal / Professional / Career Profile
This is the first brief section that your potential employers will read on your CV. The idea of this section is to convey an overall impression of your main personal and professional characteristics. This should inspire your reader to want to know more about you and read on to the next section of your CV.
The title of your Profile will depend on your background and level of experience. For example, a personal profile may be more suited to a new graduate who has less professional or career experience. A career profile tends more towards work background and experience. Professional profile is a good combination of the two.
Do you need a Profile Section?
You may find that you have included this sort of introduction to yourself in your cover letter – however, not everyone will see your cover letter so it is recommended that you include this introduction again in your CV.
What to include in your Profile
You are looking to summarise your skills in a couple of lines, a small paragraph. You don’t want to be too wordy and bore people, but you should avoid using bullet points too at this stage as you will be using them more throughout the rest of your CV.
Try to talk a little about your personal attributes – for example:
self motivated, problem solver, communication etc (See Part 2 for list of useful words)Part 2
You also want to talk a little about your job specific skills – for example:
Skilled 3d visualiser, excellent BIM knowledge, innovative approach to sustainability
Consider words relevant to architecture – like:
– Attention to detail
– Design focus
– Enjoy being part of a team
– Work well to deadlines
– Innovative approach to problem solving
– Confident communication skills
– Able to develop solid relationships with clients, suppliers and colleagues
– Consider your main selling points and focus on them, this is the first bit they will read so make sure it counts.
What sometimes helps is if you write lots of short statements down, which you can then reorganise, and thin out later. Start off by just getting some words down and go from there. Most people find this section the most difficult to write – so don’t worry, take your time.
An objective section explains the direction you would like your career to go in, and what you are looking for. This is quite common in CVs but I personally don’t think it is appropriate and suggest you avoid writing an objective. If your employer wants to know this, be prepared for those kind of questions in your interview.
If you have just graduated and don’t have much work experience, then this is the more important section to you. This section needs to be set out in reverse chronological order, that is to say, the most recent item first.
You can use bullet points for the following:
– Date you received your qualification – or attended the relevant institution
– Description of your qualification
– Grade or marks you achieved
If relevant, the name of the university you attended (you don’t really need to mention the school or college name unless it is particularly well known)
If you got a degree, but didn’t get a 1st or a 2:1, don’t mention your grade. Also, if you have a degree it is not entirely necessary to list your A-Level and GCSE grades, unless they were exceptional.
After your main qualifications you may need to include a Further Training section. Maybe you have completed a course in Revit, or carried out a particularly relevant CPD that is worth mentioning.
Career / Work History / Experience
The title of this section will depend on your personal situation – choose appropriately.
As with the education history, you must set out your previous work experience in reverse chronological order. The information you need to include in this section is as follows:
– The dates you worked for the company
– Your job title
– Name of the company you worked for
– Description of what your role included
When describing your role you want to bullet your main duties and responsibilities and examples if possible. You want to emphasise what you achieved in the role. Think about the job you are applying for and pick out the more relevant examples first.
Don’t forget you should also include any relevant unpaid or voluntary work you carried out. Obviously it depends what you did but you may have gained skills that your potential employer may consider valuable.
I would suggest you don’t include salary details of previous employment (this can be discussed in the interview), also don’t mention your reason for leaving previous role and any other unnecessary details at this stage.
If you have no work experience in the architectural field, it is still worth mentioning any other work you may have had. Demonstrating experience in the workplace in general is better than nothing at all.
Sometimes it is useful to list your skills. You can include it in the eduction section or have a separate section of its own. In the Skills area I would mention the software you can use. Of course, you will be expected to have an understanding of the basics, but seeing as different offices use different software (AutoCad, Reivt, ArchiCAD, Sketchup) I think it is worth listing the software you know – and whether your level is basic, advanced and so on. Don’t forget things like Photoshop, InDesign and rendering packages – and anything else you feel is relevant to the role you are applying for. You could also mention things like administrative skills, organisational, presentation, research skills and so on (obviously only if you feel you excel in these areas).
Some people like to include an achievements section to their CV. This of course depends on whether or not this is section that you can fill. Your achievements can be anything from student competitions, achievements in the workplace and so on.
Some people put on their CV if they have a driving licence – this is worth mentioning as you may be required to make site visits so the employer would like to know if this is something you will be able to do easily. I would also mention if you are a first aider. I recommend you include any professional memberships you carry – RIBA, ARB, CIAT and so on.
If you are applying for a job that is not close to your address on your CV – you should note that you are prepared or looking to relocate. Otherwise you may be disregarded if the recruiter thinks you live too far away.
In this section you could also write that references are available on request. I would not include the details of your referees at this stage, unless you have specifically been asked to do so.
You can include your interests and activities in this section too – or keep it for a separate section if you wish. I think it is worth including your interests – particularly if you feel they may be relevant. For example, if the practice you are applying for do an annual cycle ride (they may have a blog where you can find out this information) and you are a keen cyclist – this could work in your favour and perhaps be a good ice breaker in the interview. If your interests are going out, and watching telly – perhaps omit this section!
Be truthful though – as you don’t want to be caught out!
Keep it brief – you don’t want your potential employer to think your extra circular activities are more important to you than your work – and you also don’t want to bore people with a huge list of all the things you like doing in your spare time. Keep it relevant – if you have an interest that is related to architecture, for example, architectural photography, then of course it is worth demonstrating your love of architecture! If you are involved in any teams, sport or otherwise, this is always good to mention as it shows you are a team player which can translate well to an office environment.
So that just about concludes the list of content you need to consider for your CV. Take your time to think it all through, as this is your first impression, so you need to sell yourself without being over the top.
First In Architecture is looking to develop its links with potential employers. If this is something that is of interest, and you would like me to keep you informed with any developments please sign up to the employment newsletter.
We are looking to connect excellent candidates with inspiring and exciting practices. Watch this space.
If you have any suggestions, or ideas please drop me an email (email@example.com) or comment below, I would love to hear from you.
I read every comment, and every email I receive – so get in touch!