CV tips

Grab attention

On average, recruiters spend just six seconds looking at your CV. Make sure yours stands out for all the right reasons.

The basics

1. Keep it small
Under 5MB will ensure your CV doesn’t exceed email file limits. (Handy tip: If you need to submit your portfolio, send an email-friendly version, and include a download link to a higher-definition version if necessary.)

2. And keep it short!
An effective CV is a concise one (more on that later), so keep it short (1-2 pages), and use bullet points to help you summarise.

3. Sort out file names and formats
Always follow any instructions on the job posting, but if in doubt, a PDF format is a good bet. Your CV will open correctly no matter which operating system a recruiter is using. And make sure the file name is clear and includes your full name (eg.: Frank Lloyd Wright_CV).

4. Just say no to crazy fonts
Keep it classic with Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman.

5. Proof and proof again
Spelling errors and typos make you look careless and unprofessional.

6. Go easy on the graphics
Unless they’re really relevant and add something valuable, leave them out.

What's next?

Be relevant, don’t ramble
A CV should be a concise, easy-to-scan overview of your most important skills and accomplishments – not a checklist of everything you’ve ever done. Put your latest and most relevant qualifications and experience right up front, and leave out anything that won’t help your job prospects.

Generic is the enemy of unique
Preparing a good CV takes time and effort, so it’s tempting to send out the same generic version every time you apply. Resist that temptation: tweak your CV regularly to make it as relevant as possible to the specific position you’re applying for. More work … but worth it.

It’s all in the details
Architectural projects often involve a large team of different people, so make sure your CV gives a clear breakdown of your specific contribution to the work. Provide concise details to show which aspects of the project you worked on and how you applied your skills.

Cover letters are key
They’re just as important as your CV! Your CV is a great overview of your accomplishments, but it’s your cover letter that provides crucial context and detail. Always tailor it to the job you’re applying for, and don’t just repeat your CV. 

Do your homework on the company or organisation you’re applying to, so you can state exactly why you’re the ideal candidate. If you can, find out the name of the hiring manager (so you can banish the tired old ‘To Whom it May Concern’ and use their name instead), and avoid opening with predictable or obvious statements. Companies want to see initiative, and get a sense of your personality, so make sure your cover letter is unique to you.

Get feedback
Ask a lecturer, mentor or someone else you know with experience in the architectural field to scan your CV and make suggestions. An extra pair of eyes can make all the difference.

Follow CIFA on