Design Career Series: 6 Tips for Creating an Architectural Resume

As designers, many of us see a resume as an opportunity to not only list our qualifications, but to showcase our creative skills. With that said, how do you find a balance between design and the communication of base content?

The following are six tips I’d like to share to aid you in creating your resume. Note that I am focusing on the traditional resume format (standard letter sheet size, printed). I will cover other styles, or “promotional pieces” in a future post.

ONE. Keep it short!
One page is ideal. Find a way to communicate a basic overview of your qualifications in as effective a way as possible. Imagine that the person reading your resume is incredibly busy and flipping through stacks of applications. The last thing they want is to have to read through multiple pages of information that could be irrelevant. Carefully select information as a preview of what you have to offer. You can provide further details in your cover letter, portfolio, and interview.

TWO. Get creative graphically.
Like everything else we do in our studio environment, the resume should be carefully designed. This is an opportunity to provide a glimpse into your personality and showcase your graphic skills whether by hand, through the use of computer programs, or both.

THREE. Create a brand that speaks to your career path.
When we develop an idea, we aim to reinforce it through every decision we make. Think carefully about everything from colour choices and fonts, to icons, etc. Do your choices reflect the type of career you are pursuing?

FOUR. Diagram.
An ideal tool for communicating lots of information within limited space in a unique way.

FIVE. Ensure legibility.
Make sure not to over-design. Keep things simple with complimentary creative touches while maintaining a good balance with white space. Text should be clear and not lost amongst the graphics. Consider having friends, family, and colleagues critique your resume. They should be able to easily read all of the text and interpret the meanings behind your diagrams without any assistance from you. Ultimately, the graphics should only act to support a quick review of your document.

SIX. To include a photo, or not?
My research seems to find split preferences on this. Some employers find it to be a fun addition, others may see it as unnecessary. It really depends on the person and probably the photograph. If you do decide to include a photo, choose it wisely. Dressing “Professional” doesn’t have to mean suit and tie, or pencil skirt and blouse. Just ensure you exhibit your style in a way that would be welcomed in a professional studio setting. Also ensure the photo is of high quality and looks professionally done. Personally, if done well, I love the addition of a photo. I also enjoy if it is edited or incorporated with a graphic touch. I am a bit of a risk taker, though, so if you’re unsure then better to play it safe and not include one.

Any further questions regarding resumes for design careers? If so, let me know in the comments below, or email me at

Anyone care to share their take on design resumes? Further tips/insights?


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