Resume Advice



I am a recent M. Arch graduate from UNC Charlotte seeking a job in Orlando FL. I have a very specific reason for relocating to Florida– my fiance is a lieutenant in the USAF at Patrick AFB.  My issue is that I cannot find employment. I know this is most likely an issue for many, however I'm looking for advice. There must be an issue with my resume or portfolio (resume is attached without name/contact information for critiquing). Below I've listed some of my concerns for which may be reasons I am not being hired that may be true or not true. This is not a ploy for pity or a showing of entitlement, I honestly need pointers on why my job search is utterly unsuccessful. 

- My name is foreign (because of my parents), though I've been an American citizen all of my life.

- My resume has my Charlotte address listed, even though I've made it clear to potential employers in emails that I am 100% relocating.

- My B.S. in Architecture was completed in Malaysia (again, because of my parents). As a caveat to that, I do not see why that would be an issue considering my most recent education is at an American institution and a masters at that. 

- Will employers not hire me because I have a masters? I've heard that sometimes they do not want an architectural intern because they want someone "less" qualified.

- Is it simply lack of experience? In which case, I do not see how it would be possible to find an intern position where experience is required coming straight out of school. Not very logical.

- Does my resume simply suck? I need something constructive...

Lastly, I've literally applied to 20-30 firms in Orlando and the areas closer to the coast which is where I'll be living. I have even applied for CAD technician and all other entry level types of jobs. How is that I have been rejected or not replied to for simple 33k a year jobs when I have 2 degrees specifically in Architecture?

Please give me suggestions or share your experience getting your first architecture job. Thank you for your time.

Jun 17, 17 12:49 am

In architecture firms, I find many of these unlikely. My perspective is this...

Name, probably not an issue in this profession - Location. Maybe indirectly an issue, because places might figure it's not worth trying to get you in for an interview, the actual idea of hiring someone who's relocating is less of an issue in my mind. - Masters, very unlikely the issue, unless the job description is clearly just looking for drafters. - experience, is always a plus, but people will hire fresh grads if they see potential - I prefer simpler resumes with less graphic and more concise information.... but that leads into what I think are bigger points....

What other materials are you sending them? A resume for a fresh grad means a lot less to me than the portfolio/work samples. It's really not possible to gauge you as a candidate for hire without seeing some projects.

Also, what's the market temperature down there? I do think it's always harder to apply from a distance, especially without much experience, but if the market is good enough that should be much less of an issue.

Jun 17, 17 2:58 am

In hindsight, I want to comment more explicitly about things on your resume. Again, I think the other materials are a huge factor, but with that in mind, if people are bothered enough by your resume it could have a negative impact.

First, the good.There is a graphic quality to the resume that I like, even if it's not my style. I would probably look past the issues I have and look at your work to make a judgement.

However, I do have a few issues with it....

I really don't like your picture. It's traditional not to include a photo of yourself on resume's in the US. I don't think this is a huge issue in our profession, and it can even be a plus if done intelligently. However, your picture choice is not creative or professional enough for a resume. Sorry.

I'm always torn about graphic skills sections, but I like to compare them against work-samples to gauge honesty and self-awareness. However, I would probably say "modeling/drafting" not drawing. I would consider the terms used in the production section. Do you mean laser cutter and CNC Machine?

Taking a step back, I find your writing awkward. I think you have issues from syntax to word choice. For an example of word choice: What do you mean by "Managed 2nd"? Did you manage to get second? or were you in charge of second place? (I assume the first, but then the word is a much less reasonable choice) The writing as a whole could just use some work in my mind.

Remember too that these processes can take some time. You can do it!

Jun 17, 17 3:43 am

Thank you so much for your comments/advice. I'll definitely make improvements on the resume.

I'm not sure how to attach my portfolio to a thread and have yet to make a website, so hopefully attaching a link to the google drive will work. Here is my portfolio to critique (let me know if it does not work)

The link above is specifically to my masters thesis so let me know if that is good enough. It is also in my portfolio but the very end. Would it be beneficial to put my best work first? I thought that if my earliest work is first in the portfolio then it would portray my potential in that I improved. Please let me know, thanks.


You have a beautifully organized resume, and visually, it's great!

Here are my suggestions for improvement on the resume and your process:

1. Remove the photo of yourself.  It can be a "turn-off" to potential employers in the US for many reasons.

2. Edit the text to a third fewer words than you currently have.  I find myself tripping over a lot of what you've written.

3. Move the professional experience to the top and explain in fewer, clearer words what you did.

4. I find the font small when printed at 8.5 x 11.  When people do print it, it's often going to be in black and white, and the light orange text is hard to read in grayscale.

5. How are you applying to firms?  Are you calling?  If you are emailing your resume to a company email and receiving no reply, that doesn't count as applying and you wasted your time--especially if you do that for a dozen firms.  Towards the end of the work week, pick up the phone and find out if they actually need you first unless they specifically state "do not call."  The shotgun approach to emailing and then not receiving a response isn't worth anyone's time.  

Jun 17, 17 3:47 pm

Thank you for the advice! I'm definitely going to have to remove the picture.

As for applying– I've gone through actual website applications, emails, and calls. I have had one or two people to actually email me back and after my professional response back they did not reply. I haven't called in a while, because a few months back when I did this for 5 companies or so, they all told me to apply online or gave me one of those career emails to send a resume to. Is that normal? Thanks for the emailing tip though.


Seems oddly similar to another one I've seen... You wouldn't have a pseudonym under the name of John Doe by any chance?

Jun 17, 17 4:54 pm

Yep, that's where I went for templates. You should have seen the one I originally made that got turned down for the first 15 applications! The internet is your friend.


As I replied in a comment above, if anyone would like critique my portfolio go for it. Bottom link is my last project during my masters. Thanks!

Jun 17, 17 5:28 pm

My take on both resume and portfolio: typically you have a sense of what you like/don't like about architecture once you hit grad school and you start to find your voice. If you found your voice, you aren't showing it yet. It doesn't help that your resume and portfolio have different designs. Sculpt both to show your voice and interests/what you want to pursue - then find firms that do what you want to do and apply.

Don't send your stuff out to anyone and everyone and hope something sticks. Regarding address - as long as you mention you are moving to Orlando in your cover letter you shouldn't have an issue.

Jun 18, 17 12:11 am

These design resumes suck. dont do it.

Its not your name, its not because you didnt study in america, its not because you have a Masters its 100% because your resume sucks.

Most people who look at your resume dont care if its designed nicely. I know you probably heard someone say "people look at resumes all day so make it look different and they will remember you!" Just make it easy and clean for the people reading these. 

1) get rid of all the color and design: most of these will be opened in a browser and they will scan for key words. Having the design makes the file larger and harder for the words to process. They are not saving your resume on their local computer but rather their database. so they are opening it on chrome/IE/firefox etc..

2) get rid of the middle split. This makes it hard to follow and read. Just use standard convention. 

3) get rid of your bio. no one cares and no one is going to read that. Keep that for your portfolio or website. 

4) for your skills. the bar showing how well you know a software/skill is pointless. you could feel that you are at a 10/10 but for a specific job your employer might feel you are at 0. so just list the skills you know with out any other "level" "exp" these things are stupid and ive seen them done too many time. ALSO you don't need to list your languages unless the job calls for a 2nd language.OMIT "wood shop tools", "Microsoft word"

5) just please get rid of your travel too/from: it looks like you are taking up space to fill out your resume but you have more than enough info to fill it up. This is also something that you can talk about in an interview that will make it much more impressive to learn about rather than telling it right off the back. whats more impressive? telling you i know 5 languages or you finding out because i actually used one of them and later telling you "yeah i spend x years here and picked it up". ones bragging

6) use bullet points for everything. no one wants to read a paragraph or 2 sentences. Its easier to break it up by bullets. At least 3 but no more than 5.

Your resume is the single reason why no one is calling you back. I had a resume like this and changed it up to a standard one and instantly i noticed the difference. your portfolio is good 

last tip: if you are applying to a job and you dont live in the city. Just put down the city name in your resume and get a google phone number and update that with the city area code. they dont care if you 100% about moving because there is already 20 people after you that DO live in the city. 

Jun 19, 17 4:14 pm

This is awesome, thanks!


I'd probably ditch the bar graphs for your competencies.  Either you know the program enough to function in an office, or you don't.  I think every company should expect to have a learning curve, even if it is just adapting to office standards. 

Ditch the quotes.  More often than not, such things get laughed at.  They're kind of cheesy. 

If you are concerned about your name/degree/previous work throwing people off, you could include something to the effect that you've been an American citizen since 199X. There is a small chance that firms are hesitant to deal with work papers for someone who is wanting to stay in country, post-graduation. My experience is that most firms have been accommodating for folks. 

Use a trip visiting the fiancé to make some connections.  Attend a meeting, or find a firm you like and stop by.  If there is a firm that will accept a hand delivered résumé for one of their listed jobs, then definitely hand deliver.  A lot of people here disagree with me on this.  But, my greatest successes with employment have always involved in-person communication. But also know that architects are busy people.  Don't eat up too much time. 

Jun 19, 17 4:33 pm

Thanks for the advice, its great!


- remove the photo, it is not customary in the USA to include one, and your photo with your fiancee is much too casual for use in a job application.  A business photo in the USA is usually a head and shoulders image of you by yourself wearing business attire.

- Odd use of the word "manage"; "Won second place" would be a better description of your placing in a competition.

- "chicago" should be capitalized "Chicago".  Spelling, grammar, and capitalization errors are usually fatal on job application materials.

- Get rid of the skills bar graphs.  The graphs on resumes is a silly Millennial thing. Use words to describe, as has been customary for the past 70+ years.

Jun 19, 17 6:25 pm

Appreciate the advice!



Jul 5, 17 8:53 pm

There are multiple errors in your resume:

subterranean, not Subterranean...Chicago, not chicago...high school, not highschool...architecture not Architecture

Others may disagree, but we don't consider resumes with errors like
these - our thinking is that if you can't get your resume to be error
free, you're work on day to day items is going to be error filled too.

I agree with others that your wording is awkward in several spots.  It's likely due to language difference between Malaysia and Us, or maybe English being your 2nd language, but it's off-putting.  One would say they're a graduate of, not from a program....and in getting (or just getting) not to getting.

Under your photo, you say Architecture, designer, creative seeker.  You're a're a creative're an architecture?

None of these syntax items are huge issues, but taken together, they're awkward.

I wouldn't care either way about having a photo, but that's not a good photo to use.

For your portfolio, it needs improvement.  You have way too many images on each page.  No one's looking at all these.  Show them 4 killer images of a project, not 32 blah images.  Cut at least 1/2 of them (or even better, 3/4).  White space is your friend.  You have lots of renderings that are super basic.  They're not helping you.  Learn how to do better renderings - you can do this quickly, and they don't have to be photo-realistic, just more engaging.  Get rid of the personal statement, these always sound pretentious and poorly thought out (I know mine did when I graduated), don't help you get the job, and may be off putting to a potential employer.

And your text in the portfolio is littered with grammatical, capitalization, tense, and singular/plural errors.  Have someone who's used to writing in a business setting to red line all of your writing to find/fix these.  To be honest, many of these mistakes would be caught by spell check, so they just should not be happening.

Get rid of the justified text...everyone wants to use it right out of school ("it's nice and even on both sides!") but everyone comes to realize it's awkward to read and requires hyphenating too often.

Sorry if this is coming off harshly, that's not my intent.  You can fix the written things in days.  And the portfolio issues in weeks.

Good luck.

Jul 5, 17 10:56 pm

I don't understand why you would put a picture of your girlfriend? boyfriend? with you on your resume.  Is this a dating site, where you're trying to show your attractiveness to the opposite sex?  For me, it shows bad judgement on your part.  Added bonus - you introduce ambiguity to who is the one actually applying.  Is the resume supposed to be for two people?  Why do you have a picture of two people then.  Makes absolutely no sense.

Jul 6, 17 5:36 pm

That's a good point, especially with the OP's unique (by US standards) name, I could see some employers having no idea if he was a he or she was a she.


in addition to everything that was mentioned- just remember that this is similar to making an elevator sales pitch. minimal but straightforward- 2 pages: 1st for your resume, 2nd page for a "teaser" of your works. 

Jul 7, 17 4:10 pm

Here is my best advice: Make a 5-10 minute Q&A video of yourself answering funny relevant life/career related questions. Then post it on the net and cross your fingers. (Don't laugh, it worked for me)

Jul 7, 17 5:04 pm
That could work - I believe there was someone that got a job at BIG after sending in a video resume.
Jul 7, 17 8:37 pm

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