During this time of a little unease and forced periods at home, it’s a great opportunity for reflection and self improvement. I know we have heard this a lot over last week, and some great suggestions like learn a language or to play an instrument., I’m going to suggest a simpler step – update your CV and portfolios.
I work in Architectural Recruitment, assisting practices, including most of the AJ100, to find new members of their teams. From Part II up to Senior and Associate Architects, and everything in between including Landscape and Urban Architects. Whilst you have a bit of time on your hands, it would be worth sharing my tips and tricks on updating CVs. Hopefully it will help you feel confident and ready for any new chapters.
1) Noone really fits into a box
So don’t try to, play to your strengths. I.e. don’t follow typical CV layouts if they don’t work to promote your experience.
2) Make the facts clear
All CVs should have – contact details / job title / employment history (listing mm/yy of when you worked in each role) / education / key skills (i.e. software: Revit, AutoCAD, Rhino) / State if your listed with certain bodies (i.e. ARB/RIBA) etc.
Those are the MUSTS. Everything else then comes as a bonus.
3) Mind the Gap
If you have gaps of employment in your cv, that’s okay. Don’t try and hide them, just make sure to address them and explain why. Companies understand things like sabbaticals, family care. Moving countries. You are better to explain the situation than leave it as a mystery.
4) First impressions count
Layout is important so make sure it’s clear. Use a maximum of three fonts throughout, don’t go crazy and pick JAZZY font because it gives character. Go for a standard one, make it easy to read. Remember the person reading your CV is probably looking through others one after another, and they want the one that is easy to scan read and concise.
5) The last point
This has two elements. First use your network. A referral into a practice is always a much warmer than applying direct cold. Whether that is through a friend or agency. Agencies work very hard maintaining a relationship with directors. If
they do think you could be great match for a role they will ensure your CV goes under the nose of the relevant person. This is free for you with an agency, But definitely worth a bribery drink or cupcake to a friend to put in a good word for you!
The second element is your references. You don’t always have to add their contact details to the CV. This gives you freedom to change who they are, depending on the role you apply for. But I strongly suggest adding ‘References available upon request’ into your CV as a of sign off. It implies your past bosses are happy to recommend you, you work hard and left on good terms. All within four words.
Those are my top six points, I hope they are of benefit.
All the best and stay happy and healthy in these times!