There were over 6,000 people that graduated with architecture degrees in 2019.  As this talent enters the job market, how does one stand out over the other?  What do architecture firms look for when hiring?

Since architecture firms receive hundreds of resumes per posted job listing and usually interview only about six of those candidates, it’s crucial to learn precisely what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for.

If you focus on some of the following elements, then you will stand out. 

Engaging Resumes and Portfolios  

Resumes continue to evolve from being unimaginative lists of past jobs into engaging career narratives. If your resume does land in the hands of hiring managers, they many only spend a short time skimming it anyway.

Creating an engaging resume and portfolio is the best way to ensure that you get noticed. For instance, start top-loading your resume with your most significant accomplishments, skills, and competencies. Architecture firms are looking for candidates trained to use specific design software like SketchUp, Rhino 3D, etc. A strong branding statement that tells employers why you want to work for them can help you stand out too. Here are some examples:

  • “I help architecture firms streamline their processes so that they can minimize waste and boost their profits.”
  • “I’m looking for architecture jobs at small firms where I can make a big impact.”

Finally, create a resume that is relevant and links to a portfolio website that highlights project images. A compelling portfolio shows firms how you’ve identified challenges in the past, along with the steps that you took to overcome them.

Positive First Impressions

A growing number of firms are using phone and video interviews to screen candidates before inviting them to visit the office. You can still make a great first impression even though you aren’t meeting your interviewer in person. For instance, minimizing distractions, demonstrating enthusiasm, and just being a good listener are some easy ways to impress hiring managers on a phone interview. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate curiosity, ask thoughtful questions, and show excitement during the hiring process. The most important thing to remember….look in the camera from time to time.  No one does this and it is impactful.

Warning!  Common Reasons for Rejection

Relevant and transferable skills rank among the most important things that recruiters look for. So, candidates are more likely to get rejected when they lack specific skills sets, project experience, and traits. Remember that just because you have all the proper credentials for the job doesn’t automatically mean that you will match with the firm’s values and work culture. Other candidates are rejected for making grammar, formatting, and spelling errors that could easily be avoided by asking someone to proofread their resumes.

In addition to traditional cover letters and resumes, some architecture firms are requesting video resumes from candidates to gain a better glimpse into your personality. Hiring managers are more likely to shortlist applicants that show some enthusiasm about architecture jobs. Then, focus on avoiding the common reasons for rejection that we discussed and making a positive first impression.


Contact us to discuss how we can bring top leadership talent to your firm. David Brown International is s a global leader in executive recruiting and placement of top tier talent in Architecture, Design, and Technology. Our mission is to create a lasting legacy of success, growth, and profitability for our clients, candidates, and employees.

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