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What do firms fundamentally look for in a Resume?

Resumes can be a very tricky document to define and format in a way that properly represents who you are as an individual, as well as a professional. You must be able to understand what decision-makers look for when sifting through thousands of resumes, so we have compiled some information from surveys and online resources to help you create a resume that stands out! Remember that your portfolio and resume are your business cards, and tend to be your first impression.

Interview
Photo by Christina Wocintechchat

Resumes can be a very tricky document to define and format in a way that properly represents who you are as an individual, as well as a professional. One of the principals that we surveyed highlighted the importance of having your own style, knowing when to take risks in the design process, and having some professional/work experience including summer internships. The firms and the quality/standard of the work, and the working environment (quality over size of firm) of the applicants previous employers is very important for decision-makers to discern skill and value.

Another way in which firms try to understand the applicant and what they can bring to the table is by reviewing a demonstration of work that the applicant executed themselves (as opposed to as a group or team). They are looking to understand the applicant’s design authorship, abilities to take risks, and engagement in the design process – i.e. demonstrates having a design process including iteration, hand drawing, modeling and use of architectural drawing conventions.

Remote Work
Andrew Neel

Many principals defined the importance of having a fundamental demonstration of accountability for one’s work, a solid work ethic, and a joy in making and designing with a sense of inquiry and curiousity. With more senior roles, many firms defined the applicant’s ability to demonstrate building technology & systems understanding and/or project management skills as crucial.

Some of the other fundamentals that firms mentioned when looking through resumes, is that you have honed your communication skills and have demonstrated the ability to defend your ideas and projects. Decision-makers also look for sensibility for and having similar priorities and goals to the company, so that you can grow with the firm too. Cultural experience and life experiences that tie into your work, and can be seen in the work you have done was another fundamental that kept coming up during our conversations with firms.

In terms of the formatting and structure of Resumes, many firms mentioned that the file size should always be under 5MB. Make sure that you have your friends and colleagues read over your resume to avoid typos or errors. If you are writing your resume in a language that is not your native language, then make sure you have it corrected by another professional. If the language of your résumé isn’t your native language, turn to online communities or ask someone to proofread your résumé. Many decision-makers highlighted the value of simplicity over complexity. What this means is that you should not create visual mazes of information that make it difficult to understand key information about yourself.

When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-USand improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in.

If you need a hand with your portfolio or need to talk to one of our program advisors regarding your next career step, please leave us your name and email here.

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