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If you look out only for the to-do list while writing a resume, we want you to think again.
Creating a resume is also knowing what to avoid, as much it is about knowing what to include. Sounds confusing, right?
Well, to put it simply, the mistakes in your resume are highly likely to stand out more than your capabilities. Even with proper qualifications and vast experience, a poor resume can throw you out of contention like nothing else.
So, we’ve curated a detailed guide on the 7 mistakes that will ruin a successful architecture resume.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Mistakes To Avoid While Writing An Architecture Resume
Not Highlighting Your Experience
One of the most common mistakes that candidates make while writing a resume is stating their experience superficially, or worse, not mentioning anything at all. The chances of doing so increase when you’re explaining a project, which is not actually needed.
For instance, you can go on and on describing the standout features of a building. But it will hold little value if you don’t mention your specific contribution. The recruiter will not be interested in the uniqueness if it isn’t directly related to your work.
That said, architects often become so involved with a project that they forget not everyone will understand their hard work without proper explanation. So, although you may have the exact idea of your work, your hiring manager may not understand it and reject the application without giving you a second chance.
In this regard, always remember that the goal of your resume is to communicate about you and not the projects.
A good way to avoid this is by using active words for each project, which shows how YOU got the job done. For example, words like led, created, implemented, managed, developed, organized, increased, achieved, and so on can be used to precisely explain your role. Since a building obviously cannot lead or organize on its own, it will be a constant reminder to focus on your skills and achievements.
Writing N Number Of Pages
Although we may come across as self-contracting, hear this out: the hiring manager or the organization isn’t interested to know everything about you to the tee. Even if you have a professional experience of half a decade, your resume should strictly be restricted to a maximum of two pages.
At this point, you might be thinking, how can you include every accomplishment and award that you have acquired over the years? And the answer to that is: approach the resume as a concise list of your skills and experiences. It doesn’t need to have every single detail about your life journey. Rather, it’s a detailed checklist of the points relevant to that particular position.
Thus, it’s important to strike a balance between what to and what not to include. The most likable resumes are the ones that give just an overview of your experience and get the hiring personnel interested to know more during the interview.
Make it a point to leave out irrelevant details that serve no purpose in enhancing your candidature. However, don’t lose focus on describing the previous job duties, which give your potential employer a good understanding of the responsibilities you have handled so far. Most hiring managers prefer bullet points, which automatically draw attention to the key attainments.
Including Irrelevant Information
Going back to our previous point, including too many points will act as information overkill. Hiring managers will then obviously require a lot of time to sort relevant information, let alone processing it all. And since you most likely won’t be the only candidate to apply for the job, there’s no reason why they will spare so much time on a single application.
But unnecessary information can creep in, especially if you create one generic resume that can be sent to dozens of architecture firms. Not that it won’t fetch you results, but your chances of landing an interview become a number game as some companies may require all or some of the mentioned skills.
When following a single static statement, you increase the possibility of omitting job-related skills and experience. Hence, we’d strongly recommend customizing the resume to fit the needs. Nothing draws the potential employer’s attention as a tailor-made, concise, precise and relevant resume.
Sure, this sounds like a lot of work, and honestly, this is the least you should do to get that dream job. Begin tailoring the resume by following the job description. Since you’ll already have the details, try and connect your skills to the position. Long story short, restructuring the resume to fit the requirements will do the job.
However, it’s not unusual to get confused regarding what to include in professional experience. Especially for fresh graduates out of architecture schools, they may feel overwhelmed to put just about everything in their resume. While we agree that working in a restaurant will hold virtually no value, you can always be creative with framing the experience.
Look for instances when you have actively participated in an activity, completed a project on a tight deadline, or volunteered for a cause. Then, portray them as your ability to adapt to new circumstances and situations. Job done!
Avoid Using Too Many Graphics
The topic of including graphics in a resume has always been the center of debate among professionals. While a section of architects swear by graphically-loaded resumes and claim them to be ‘the future’ of job hunt, it might not be the best way to go about creating a resume.
Don’t get us wrong; we aren’t trying to preach old school values. But the point that candidates often miss is the judicious use of graphics. Not only can the correct use of graphical elements elevate the resume visually, but they also provide more information about the candidate.
On that note, let’s address the elephant in the room-grading skills using graphs. Hiring managers will agree that one of the weirdest things they see is the graphical demonstration of skill proficiency. For instance, candidates may use a pie chart to represent 90% expertise in Photoshop, 100% in sketching and 95% in leadership.
The question then becomes, who determines the score? If it’s the candidate, why would he want to blow his own horn in an obvious manner? And which previous boss provides a graphical assessment of their employees’ skills?
To avoid the complication altogether, be cautious about using them sparingly and only if needed. For the latter, don’t go crazy by including a lot of colors. Use only one or two colors to highlight the standout.
And before we forget, never design a logo based on your name or initials, for they skyrocket the fakeness and cringe level. Curate the resume in such a way that it becomes easy to read and even easier to understand.
Don’t Go For Cheesy Lines Or Cliches
Talking about cringe, we can’t stress enough the importance of strictly avoiding cheesy lines, empty phrases and cliches. Frequently, hiring managers come across resumes that try to portray the candidate as a noble soul.
The most common practice is to include an object right at the top of the resume, which reads something like: ‘talented, self-motivated leader looking to grow’, ‘enhance skills and experience’.
Such cliches catch the hiring manager’s attention in the worst way possible, and destroys any slim chance that you might have had of impressing him. If you want to highlight your leadership skills, simply put ‘led a team of 5 people for successful completion of the project’. That will add more value than all those flowery phrases combined.
Besides, use the cover letter to describe non-technical skills like leadership, team player, etc. Keep the resume to the point.
Furthermore, don’t put any corporate jargon that you don’t understand or don’t do anything to enhance your skills. Even if you mug up the meaning from Google, your hiring manager won’t stop at asking just the definition. Any related question and you will be a goner, so better to save yourself from the embarrassment from the get-go.
No matter which profession you aim to be in, grammatical errors on a resume are among the biggest red flags. However, this problem isn’t restricted to wrong verbs, adverbs and pronouns. Hiring managers worldwide are equally troubled by the absolutely avoidable silly mistakes like typos and inappropriate punctuations.
Similarly, poor sentence structures can also be avoided with a little more attention to detail. And there are a number of ways to do that. Firstly, always use a free proofreading tool like Grammarly to check multiple aspects like spelling, grammar and voice. Don’t rely on the spell-checker only, as mistakes like ‘they’re’ for ‘their’ won’t be picked up by them.
You can also ask a friend or family member to proofread everything, even the portfolio, which is overlooked due to the emphasis on graphics. If you can’t find anyone at that moment, loudly read your resume a couple of times. This will help you identify the errors that may have gone unnoticed. And when you do, rectify them immediately.
Not Emphasising On Your Skills
Similar to experience, highlighting relevant job skills is also an essential factor to consider. You should clearly explain why your skills and qualifications are best suited for the job.
A primary reason for doing so is that architecture, as a profession, consists of many genres or sub-types. So, a particular opening may ask for a specific skill set. And just because you have come fresh from a large scale commercial project doesn’t necessarily mean you will have the desired skills for a small residential project.
Moreover, the skills might not always transfer and even if they do, it’s important for the firm to understand that it has. Again, framing your resume to match the required skills is like restructuring it to eliminate non-essential information.
Start with reading the job description line by line, and note down the skills. Next, make a list of all relevant experiences you had and find a way to match them to the requirements. This will involve a certain level of creativity on your part.
For example, coordination and management skills are preferred by any firm and for any project. So, you can write about your management skills, irrespective of the scale and topography on which you have worked.
Other Mistakes To Avoid
Just like hiring personals don’t want to waste time on a long resume, a short resume reeks of laziness and lack of experience. By short, we don’t mean the number of pages, but including only a couple of points, especially if they are irrelevant.
Also, include the keywords naturally where possible. If the job description has words like ‘designer’, ‘developer’ and ‘architect’, insert them contextually. Otherwise, the hiring manager may assume that you didn’t read the description properly and are just trying your luck.
Now that you know what to avoid, get started immediately!
Undoubtedly, a resume creates the first impression, so you’d want it to be perfect. And there’s no rocket-science behind it. Just place yourself on the hiring manager’s chair and think about what you’d like to see.
At the risk of repeating, we’d say no matter how enticing flowery terms or vivid graphics appear to be, the fact of the matter remains that they do nothing. So, instead of wasting time on them, focus on the details that will make your resume more valuable.
With this, it’s time for us to wrap up. But we are not leaving without a last pro tip: take help from the abundance of free resources like architecture resumes, cover letters, and applications available online.
Hope our guide helps serve your purpose. Signing off with best wishes!