Five things to put on your resume to stand out

12 July 2016

The internet is teeming with websites and short blurbs about resume advice, as well as tips to set you apart from your competition; but it is important to remember that most of these articles are so general that they can almost be assumed as common knowledge. Architecture is a unique field. The scope of your work is different, your office culture is different, and so is the way you present yourself. For twelve years, Microsol Staffing has been working with the AEC community, and we’ve learned some tricks along the way. There is a stark difference in how architectural resumes can (and should) look when compared to the general working population. Here are five simple things that can make a greater impact on your resume than something like font size or color:

  1. Software Skills

We constantly see this omission from resumes when in fact it is the most crucial. At best, they’ll just have to ask you about it, at worst they’ll think you have no software skills and chose to omit it purposefully.

  1. Dates of Employment

It immediately looks like you’re hiding something, and again, it happens quite a bit. It’s best to include specifics down to the month. It may be hard to remember back that far, but there’s a big difference visually between DOE: July 2007-December 2008 and DOE: 2007-2008. Ask yourself, which one immediately looks like a longer period of time? We’ve found that firms are very concerned about your work progression, and you should be upfront about any gaps in your resume. It’s better to be honest rather than look like you have something to hide.

Project List

Believe it or not as an architect, you are allowed to have more than the standard 1-2 pages for your resume. Use as many extra pages you need for a separate project list. Save your employment history section for a detailed shortlist of your responsibilities at work. Therefore, your project list can be as detailed as you want without making your employment history section too difficult to read. (Note: we see a lot of project lists, and can easily help you format one that best frames your career highlights.)

  1. Personal Statement

The more advanced you are in your career path, the more meaningful this section will be. The younger you are, the shorter it should be since you have less to say about your accomplishments. Someone with ten plus years can give a very meaningful 2-3 sentence worth of information about their abilities and specialties, and really make themselves look like someone who is proud of what they have done to date. Plus, adding an automatic self summary makes it easier for busy HR personnel to circulate your resume to principals and firm leaders. Scanning your personal statement, seeing appropriate buzzwords and a general sense of authority translated into text = instant interest in you as a candidate.

  1. Business Plan

Not quite so common in the architecture field, but useful if done right. A friend of mine was asked to produce one while being hired, as a way to show other higher ups exactly what he would be bringing to the table as a way to justify his hourly rate as a consultant. You can also use these as a supplement to the resume you apply with, to show them you already have a full grasp of not only what the firm does, but also what you know positively what you can do for them. Depending on how cynical their hiring personnel are, this might be viewed as a gimmick, so maybe it’s best to save them for the positions you are really gunning for.

If you have any additional questions about setting yourself apart on paper, please contact the Microsol Staffing team for further information. Resume consultations are always free, and we are always able to provide you with templates and formatting help as well.


About the author

Belle Gallay

Belle has 25 years of experience working in architecture recruiting and has been with Microsol Staffing since 2003. She works hard to form happy, long-term relationships between candidates and clients.