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Andrew Arkley|January 22, 2024

Writing A Great Architect CV: Our Advice

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In this guide, we’ll share the blueprint for a great architect CV that highlights your skills and achievements.

We’ll also outline an example CV for an architect role to give you some inspiration.

As of 2020 there were 42,547 registered architects in the UK, according to the Architects Registration Board (ARB). That year, the profession achieved gender parity for under 30s in architect roles.

Compared to other sectors, the workforce is relatively small. But that means the competition is strong for the best roles, working on the most interesting and exciting projects!

And according to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the total revenue from chartered practices grew in 2022 to £3.1bn and staff numbers reached pre-pandemic levels.

At smaller practices (with fewer than five staff), the private housing sector provides 70% of the revenue, which makes sense given the ongoing shortage of homes in the UK. There is a need for an extra 4.3m homes, according to the Centre for Cities.

At larger practices, you’re more likely to work on offices or mixed projects. Asia is now the largest source of international work, ahead of the Middle East.

To turn heads in architecture, you need a great CV that showcases your experience both efficiently and effectively. Here are some best practices to make your architect CV stand out.

Architecture CV dos and don’ts

While you create a CV for an architect role – or any job for that matter – always keep the reader in mind. In other words, what do they want to know about?

Use the job advert and your knowledge of the industry to identify what prospective employers want to see, then draw attention to the relevant experiences from your career.

Do:

  • Put your unique skills or achievements high up: They may decide whether or not to keep reading after just the first few lines!
  • Keep your CV layout and formatting simple: Resist the temptation to show off your architectural design skills with an eclectic CV format. Make sure that the document is straightforward to read and the key information is easy to find.
  • Tailor your CV to the job description because that indicates what the employer is really looking for.
  • Write a personal statement that sells yourself, outlining who you are and what you can bring to the table.

For many people, the personal statement is the hardest part to get right. You may want to leave space for it at the top of your CV and write it at the end, once you’ve worked out how to summarise your best qualities.

Don’t:

  • Mention salary expectations.
  • Add personal details such as your age or marital status.
  • Lie on a CV because it won’t do you any favours.
  • Put your photo on a CV in the UK.

You don’t need to include your full portfolio on the CV. Highlight the achievements you’re most proud of and provide a link where readers can look through your full portfolio instead.

Architect skills

The jobs you’re applying to should mention some hard and soft skills that the prospective employer claims are required or desired.

You could add a key skills section to show employers which of these you have. Alternatively, as long as they still stand out, you can work them into your personal statement and career history sections more organically.

Depending on the specific role, some of the skills that employers are looking for could include the following, for example:

  • 3D modelling
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Architectural drawings
  • AutoCAD
  • Blueprint design
  • Project planning
  • Revit
  • Urban planning

Supporting your claims with evidence is the best way to demonstrate your experience. So, include any relevant facts and figures, or impressive statistics, to prove the impact you have had in your career thus far.

This evidence will have more weight in context. Consider using the STAR method to explain your best achievements, but if you need a few sentences to do it, your cover letter will provide more space for you to elaborate.

STAR stands for:

  • Situation – the context
  • Task – the challenge or goal
  • Action – what you did, with proof points
  • Result – the outcome or success thanks to your actions

No professional experience yet and looking to start as an intern? Here’s how to write a CV with no experience and also, how to write a cover letter for an internship.

Want to see some architect CV examples? Here’s a template to help you get started:

CV example

[Name]

[Address] – [Phone number] – [Email address]

Personal Statement

Use a few lines to explain why you stand out and what your unique traits are. Here is a sample first sentence:

Award-winning registered architect specialising in sustainable design with 7 years of experience, plus a proven track record of delivering projects on time and under budget…

Key Skills

If your skill section looks strong, include it here and if not, after your work history section. Match your skills to the job description and use bullet points – for example:

  • Adobe Certified Master
  • Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD
  • Problem-solving
  • Sustainable design
  • Technical drawing
  • C1 level French

Work History

For the typical CV format, list previous roles or the companies you’ve worked at in reverse chronological order, including internships, starting with your most recent or current position.

Then add bullet points, to describe your relevant responsibilities or successes – for example:

[Role, employer] [Dates]

  • Planned and developed 11 projects with a combined value of £25m, receiving an award for one from Architects’ Journal in 2022 – Best Project Under £500k
  • Delivered projects under-budget overall, saving the company 10% per project on average despite challenging market conditions
  • Won over 85% of design proposals

Qualifications and Education

Start by including any relevant qualifications, then give your education details: 

  • [ARB / RIBA qualification(s) obtained] [Dates]
  • [University name, degree subject, grade] [Dates]
  • [School name, A-Levels, grades] [Dates]
  • [School name, GCSEs, grades] [Dates]

Interests

Ideally, any interests you include should ideally strengthen your application in a relevant way – if you’re short of space on your CV, this section isn’t essential.

References available on request

Final thoughts: How to write an architect CV

Focus on highlighting your strongest skills, any unique experiences and what makes you an outstanding candidate – then build the CV around these points.

Don’t forget that there are several different types of CV, so decide which one is right for you based on your level of experience.

The above example uses the most common reverse-chronological format, but alternatively, you may prefer to try a more skills-based approach.

Has it been a while since you last wrote a CV? Or this is your first one? If so, here’s how to write a CV – our comprehensive guide.

Remember, don’t undo all your hard work on the CV by making any easily avoidable, rookie errors. Read through your document several times and check it thoroughly – find all the mistakes, then fix them!

We also recommend asking a friend or family member to review it too, just in case they can spot anything else. 

If you need some help putting together an architect CV, look no further! We are CV writing experts – we know how to write a great architect CV for all types of roles, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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