How to Make an Awesome Resume? For architects & Designers

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First, I want to congratulate all the new graduates this year!!! Are you ready for the real world? Finally, you graduated after five years (or more) of hard work, and its time for you to get out there and find a job. When I first graduated, I had no clue what to do with finding a job. (My school didn’t really have much support when it comes to architectural jobs unfortunately.) I blindly sent out a bunch of resumes and work samples, even though I didn’t know what a work sample was. So I decided this week I will share some of my thoughts on how to make your resume (while eating this fancy Sea Salt Fudge Truffle icecream...). Feel free to put in your ideas!

1. The Magic: Graphic Clarity

We (architects/students/designers) are visual people. We strive for graphic clarity and consistency in everything we do from school presentations to CDs to our little sketchbooks. Why not our resumes too? If you google "designer's resume", you will find a ton of ways to graphically spice up your resumes. But remember no matter what style you choose, always keep it simple. Limit it to one or two colors. I love black texts with just one accent color or no color at all. Choose a font that's professional and easy to read, and keep it consistent throughout. Use bold and italics to help prioritize information. When your resume is easy to the eyes, it really makes the reviewers/employers' job so much easier. Add a logo! It's just fun and more personal.

2. Keep it short and sweet

When I made a powerpoint template for my old firm, I put "KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET" on the template. Don't you hate it when people put a whole paragraph on a powerpoint slide? Do you really expect people to read that in 30 seconds? It's the same when it comes to resumes. Use bullet points for all the job descriptions. Try to keep each bullet to one line (no more than two!). ACTION WORDS! Use past tense for all the old jobs, use present tense for your current job. Don't say vaque things like "Worked in close collaboration with project architect", but instead say what you really did like "Prepared construction documents with project architect on a 4-story residential project". Keep everything to one page!

3. SPELL CHECK

I don't think I need to explain this one, right?

4. Make it relevant

If you just graduated, the employers don't expect to see a tons of experience on your resume. So don't exaggerate on your experience. Simply put down any internship or related design field that you had. If you don't have any internship experience, be prepared to explain why during the interview (may be you were taking classes? doing study aboard?...) Show them any awards you have, and put a little description under it, so the employers know what they are. Your education, skills, languages, any organizations you joined....

5. The Secret: Reference Letters

Instead of writing "References upon request", which really doesn't mean anything, I asked three of my professors to each write a short recommendation letter and attached them to my resumes when I sent it out. When I went for the interview for my first job, they told me they called me in simply because of the awesome letters without looking at my work. So ask for some references from professors that know you well or supervisors at your previous internships. It could help tremendously when it comes to your first job.

Here is my current resume:

This is a resume that I made for my friend, who is a user experience designer, so I figured he would need something more visual. He went on a career fair, where most employers said it was the best resume they saw all day. It definitely got enough attention to get him a summer internship that he wanted!

Resume takes a lot of time to edit. It took me a year to research and refine it to the point that I am comfortable with. That's why I say "make" a resume, not just "write". Especially for intern architects, they expect us to be able to put information together graphically.

Do you have any resume tips? Share your resumes with us!

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Thanks for reading! Good luck for all the job hunting out there.


Aspiring architect and graphic designer. I design buildings and write about it. My interests revolve around urban architecture, people, graphics, arts and culture.