Résumé Critique

I am seeking constrictive criticism on my résumé draft for job applications. Praise is appreciated, but criticism is preferred for my growth.

There are a few piece of my résumé I am not quite content with and would like a different option.

- Should "architectural designer" be changed to "CAD designer" for licensing purposes? I do not want to project false advertisement, or disrespect the work and knowledge of licensed architects.

- Should skill comprehension levels (expert, advanced, skilled, etc.) be removed? I understand staff utilization rate and me being a junior staff need billable skills to produce +90% utilization rate.

- This is unrelated to my résumé. Regards becoming a licensed architect: 

There are few of my fellow Black Americans in the architecture career field and even fewer with license, thus it is a career goal to attain a license. A problem I have is my degree is not accredited by the NCARB, so I assume I must attain an accredited master's to be eligible for taking the ARE 5.0 exams. My undergrad experience in the department was horrendous graduating with a 2.43 GPA and less than subpar portfolio ... I feel no masters program will accept me and must build my application on work experience and letters of recommendation. Its been over a year since finishing undergrad and in all honesty the time since has felt fairly disheartening. Any criticism or advice will be more than valued! <3

Jun 17, 20 6:02 pm

Spelling!  ("Stduios")

Also, you want criticism that's constructive, not "constrictive."  Take time to go over this mundane (yet important) aspect of your documents.

Jun 17, 20 6:17 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

get rid of the self-graded skills, let those who will look at your portfolio decide if you’re an expert or not.  Ditto on the spelling and basic sentence structure. 

Jun 17, 20 8:11 pm  · 
2  · 

Thank you for sharing part of your story, Elijah.  (Nice photo, btw.)  Some thoughts:

  • You should get licensed, definitely.  If you need the master's, fine, but don't obsess on it now.  Instead, keep looking for work and gaining useful experience.  A solid portfolio including professional work will help you get into a good program after 2-4 years, making that undergrad GPA far less important.  (I know this from humbling experience.)  So, stay focused, but first things first.
  • I'd call yourself Architectural Graduate and Designer.
  • Agree with NS on self-grading; delete those (but not your skills).
  • Punctilio 1: spelling items noted above.
  • Punctilio 2: "ten months' work experience" is a possessive time expression; you need the apostrophe.
  • Punctilio 3: punctuate your phone number.  Ever since I was in school I've noticed different ways that architects get creative with this single item.  All dashes?  All periods?  (Old) school-form?  It doesn't matter.  But ten digits in a row are too many if you hope someone will use them to call or text you.

Good luck!

Jun 17, 20 8:31 pm  · 
2  · 

Change “Work Experience” to just “Experience”, so that it's more open-ended, since you have self-employment and coaching in there.

Take your driver’s license off completely (particularly since the date it was received makes it appear it's later than most college grads would have done that.  I'm sure there's a good reason, but it just shouldn't be a focus for anybody.)   Unless you’re in NYC or another very dense urban area it’s pretty much an assumption that every able-bodied adult has a license.

You mix your verb tenses within the same phrases (such as “curate and developed”.  If the experience you're describing is in the present/continuing then all the verbs should be present-tense.  If it’s past experience - i.e. you’re no longer working there or doing that - then all the verbs for that experience description should be in the past tense.

The entire paragraph below your name is unnecessary.  In general more white space is better than dense text.  If you feel you must have some sort of description or object statement, then shorten it to just "Bachelor Degree in architecture.  Approximately 1 year of professional experience.  Currently studying for ARE 5.0.”

Get rid of “huge” in the sports fan category (use “avid” if you must have an adjective).  It's too casual and associated with exaggeration.  Normally I’d say get rid of the whole sports category, but since it relates to some of your work experience it might be a good conversation starter.

The soft skills category is problematic, because most of these are things that every architectural designer is expected to have.  Definitely nix Creative Thinking and Attentive Listening.

In Traveling:  I would shorten this to “Visited Dubai and Italy”.  Get rid of the rest.  But if you’re not going to take that advice, at least fix “specially” (should be “especially”.)

I agree with getting rid of all the self-evaluations of skill level - except on your language proficiencies.

As for whether to call yourself anything with archil-anything in it:  it’s risky in some states that have rabid fine collectors and the staff to spend all day googling up infractions (California and Pennsylvania come to mind.) Most other places it probably isn’t going to bite you on a resume, but you really don’t need to give yourself any title at all.

Jun 17, 20 10:12 pm  · 
1  · 

Elijah, I like the simplicity of the graphics, and agree with what's already been stated. Question; do you want to attend grad school? If so, now's the time to hit your portfolio with the same energy as you've placed into your resume, it's good, start with that knowledge. I have some contacts in Denver, albeit structural engineers, I can send out some feelers if you like?

Jun 18, 20 7:35 pm  · 


I am one of the licenced African American architects that you mentioned in your narrative.....

To learn more about currently licenced African American architects for inspiration you should look at these web sites 

-The  directory of African American Architects The University of Cincinatti

-The  national organization of Minority Architects 

Also you should research 

Julian Francis Able

Paul Revere Williams

Norma Sklarek

Roberta Washington

Vertner Woodson Tandy

Philip Freelon

Just to name a few

Elijah there are many roads that lead to architecture licensure. Your goal should be to find the path that best suits your current and aspirational circumstances.  To quote  what a college football recruiter once told me, recruiters don’t  solely recruit the players based upon their current skillls, abilities and size, they recruit based upon where the recruits will project to be 2 to 3 years later. As a recent graduate, your resume should do the same. It should project where you will be 2 to 3 years from now. 

Your education should be  emphasized sooner as well as an objective statement that reflects your passion for Architecture and the value that you can bring to a potential employer, as well as your objectives in gaining additional exposure to (pick one -a particular project type that the firm specializes in, a design/ delivery methodology that a particular firm utilizes or an emphasis on community/ cultural/ ecologically  sensitive design)

Your resume should attempt to stand out from the heard of other resumes that your resume is competing against.

Your resume should use some of the language, terms and jargon of the profession in your description of your work experience.

You can mention your knowledge gained in your previous position 

Relating to codes, ADA, construction products, the various  disciplines and consultants that you worked with, 

In your personal business section you should refer to yourself as an want to use language that emphasizes your knowledge of the industry, business, money, construction, development, marketing, and sales.......

No where on your resume do your mention volunteer you mentor kids somewhere, do you help little old ladies cross busy streets....are you involved in any clubs or organizations........even though it’s more difficult to do so now due to the covid lockdown must network and socialize with other recent architecture school grads and seasoned architects.....get to know people....and the local architecture activity of your first 2 jobs in Architecture firms both of wich were in African American owned firms in Philadelphia were  due to relationships that I built years earlier after reading about these two firms in the news paper.

I would not emphasize your grades and would emphasize what you have learned

Use your entrepreneurial -sales skill set to really sell yourself skills and passion.

Did your work efforts result in something ...( i.e. wining a major project......completing a project on time, on budget)....mention that something

Did you win any awards in college or highschool that you can mention.

Regarding you goal of becoming a licensed architect, research grad schools that are accredited that you can apply to that emphasize molding and developing architects with strong skills as opposed to schools that only accept students with already exceptional skills...

You must realize that the current job market is hurting now due to covid.....similarly, the economy was terrible when I graduated. There were no jobs  in the profession at the time so I applied to and was accepted into grad school to ride out the recession..

Ultimately, if you want to become a licenced architect, you should try to eventually decide what type of architect you want to be. An academic, a designer, technical spec Writer, a jack of all trades, a construction product sales rep, a construction - contract admin specialist, a code plans reviewer for a local jurisdiction or an Entrepeneur. Once you realize which type of architect you want to be, research that path and follow it. Also, Utilize  your Architecture school alumni network.

One last bit of advice, look on websites, like this one to see other resumes for inspiration (not plagiarism) also ...realize that resumes need to be constantly updated to remain fresh and current.

Also realize that resumes alone may not get you the position that you desire. Networking and connections  are an under valued and under utilized tool that may benefit you in addition to your resume.

I hope this all helps and good luck....

Jun 18, 20 9:05 pm  · 
1  · 

What font did you use?? 

Jun 20, 20 5:16 pm  · 
  • Consider editing the summary directly under your name.  Currently you are reiterating info that can already be gathered from the info below.  Instead, use this space to spell out that you're looking to gain a license and work experience.  If you know what kind of work you'd like to pursue (K-12, multi-family, etc) say it, but if you don't know that's ok too. It is not expected that you automatically know where you fit into the industry right out of school.
  • It is assumed that anyone born after 1980 probably knows Microsoft Office enough to work in an office. Consider this.
  • Remove your soft skills.  Show these via cover letter with examples or through the interview.  It looks like filler to list on the résumé.
  • List the cities for each of your experiences.  You never know who may see your résumé who may know someone at one of these places and be able to call them up and ask about you.  Don't make them guess where/what you mean.

A general note: You say that you assume you can't start ARE testing until you get your masters.  Look closely into your state's rules.  It looks like you're in Colorado, so that very well may be the case.  But some states allow licensing without a masters or for you to finish licensing requirements up to a point - maybe hours but not exams.  Figure out what you can do now and use it for leverage to help you get into a masters program.  

Personally, I wouldn't start studying for exams until you're authorized to begin testing.  If you want to continue learning on your own, I'd suggest asking a supervisor for a good set of drawings and specs to take home to study.  Look at what details are required, how the materials are drawn/noted, how the specs are organized, and the language used in all of the documents.  If you have questions and what you see, ask your supervisor if they have a few minutes to spare to talk through your questions.  

Jun 20, 20 6:43 pm  · 
2  · 

^ Cover letter! That is an excellent place to narrate (rather than bullet) important, relevant things about yourself. Conciseness is key: less than a full page to increase chances it will be read.

1  · 

Thank you everyone!! I did a fair amount of editing on my resume and these are the semi-final results. I'm not content with the short paragraph below my name and am still working on that. 

Broadstreetexpresstrain you're critique and advice was excellent. I took it to heart in a positive manner. Thank You!

Jul 5, 20 9:49 pm  · 
1  · 


Glad to be of help......good luck to you in your future eandeavors

Jul 9, 20 3:13 pm  · 

Your new version is definitely better, but I think you need to explain the year long gap since your first position ended. That’s the first thing I noticed, and most people will also given how new you are to the profession. I know you have your own thing going, but even then that had a 4 month gap in a strong (at that time) economy. I think if you address this your resume will be stronger. Good luck!

Jul 10, 20 9:43 am  · 

The content is definitely much improved.  I don't love the orange graphics - it doesn't make sense that the orange rectangles are next to some items and not others.  The blue in the original version was calmer - the orange is more jarring visual clutter.  I could see using the rectangles at each category heading - that would make more sense - but even then they're not really necessary.  Don't be afraid of white space and brevity.

You've still got verb tense issues (example: in the first job listed, you use "construct" for the first task, and "developed" for the second.)   If a job is in your past then all the things you did there should be in the past tense.  If you're still working there then all the things for that job should be in the present tense.

Jul 11, 20 12:12 pm  · 

Also I'd change your English proficiency to "native proficiency."    You don't list any other languages in which you're fully fluent, so you're not bilingual, and saying "native or bilingual proficiency" makes it too obvious that you started with a template of somebody else's proficiency categories.

Jul 11, 20 1:55 pm  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: