Section-by-Section Architect Resume Guide + Examples

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If you’re an architect you love buildings and the built environment. You also have amazing opportunities to help improve life on Planet Earth by ensuring your architectural design is environmentally friendly and encompasses the principles of passive design. 

Happily, the job opportunities for a licensed US architect are amazingly broad, and whatever level of experience you have, you’ve got it made (potentially). 

While architecture essentially involves the design and construction of buildings, there are many careers an architectural graduate can embark on, all of which relate to shaping the built environment. 

These include specializing in urban planning and restoration architecture. 

Of course, there are some architectural design jobs you can get even if you aren’t a licensed architect, but we’re going to presume that whatever type of architectural work you might have done so far, right now you are opting for the real McKoy, for which you will need the right bachelor’s degree and a license to work as an architect.

Towards the end of this article, you will find a complete sample resume for an architect. Hopefully, it will inspire you to create a winning resume that will get you your next dream job. 

Resume objective for architects

The objective you write for your architect’s resume must conform to the requirements of the job you are applying for. But it’s not enough for your training, skills, and experience to meet the necessary prerequisites. You also need to market yourself so that you stand out above the other applicant architects.

If they want someone to work independently you need to show that you can. If the firm you are punting for is design-driven, it will help if you can say you have won an award (or even two). If they specify skills, highlight the ones that you possess in the Skills section of your resume, and mention a couple in your objective statement as well. 

As an example, we’re going to look at a job that’s been advertised for an architect who has between two and five years of professional experience. The company is quite keen to find someone with an interest in passive house design who has very strong interpersonal and communication skills. 

The hard skills in terms of apps are specified.

Sample Objective

Talented architect with strong conceptual and design skills. Keen interest in passive house design and energy-efficiency. Able to prepare, develop, and coordinate drawings and digital models in all phases of work. Proficient in a wide range of apps for drawing and 3D rendering. 

Resume skills for architects

Architects need a whack of skills, some hard, some soft, and a lot that are incredibly technical. 

For instance, it is essential for an architect to be able to think critically but creatively and to be able to solve problems of various kinds, as well as reason. They also need to be able to communicate well with the people they work with as well as their clients. 

Architects need to have an eye for detail and an ability to think and work in three dimensions. Attention to detail is critical. 

Education and training generally provide the necessary hard skills, including design, computer skills, math, and engineering. 

Technical skills like AutoCAD, Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), drafting, and the ability to work with powerful building information modeling (BIM) software like Revit, are also learned, and there are numerous options. Other popular options include Rhino, which offers a great modeling tool, and SketchUp for 3D, also for modeling. 

Sample Skills

CADD | AutoCAD | Revit | BIM | Rhino | Microsoft Office | Estimating | Scheduling | Procurement bidding | Building codes | Design | Model making | Budgeting | Creative thinking | Problem solving | Collaboration 

Architect work experience

We all know how important it is to have experience in any profession. But the Catch 22, so often, is that you can’t get a half-decent job until you have got experience. 

When it comes to architecture in the US, you won’t get a job as an architect until you have not only a degree from a registered National Architectural Accrediting Board [NAAB] program but also a specified amount of experience. 

But unlike most other professions, architects in the US can start gaining real-world job experience as soon as they graduate from high school and start studying to become architects! It’s like being an intern from Day 1. 

The key is the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) Architectural Experience Program (AXP), a comprehensive training scheme that ensures under-graduate architects get the necessary skills and knowledge to become certified and get a license to be able to practice as a professional. 

Some states require additional experience, but either way, list all of it on your resume. If you’re licensed and have been working professionally you can be more selective. 

If you are writing a junior architectural resume for an internship, list anything that sounds like an achievement. This could be an award or competition you have won, a freelance project you’ve completed, or even a project you have undertaken at college.

If you are writing a junior architectural resume for an internship, list anything that sounds like an achievement. This could be an award or competition you have won, a freelance project you’ve completed, or even a project you have undertaken at college.

Sample Work Experience

Smith & Associates

Architect, 2018-2019

Developed architectural drawings for use in client presentations and for use as construction documents. Involved in material and product research. Attended client, contractor, and vendor meetings. 

  • Concentrated on new construction and residential renovation work
  • Participated in existing-conditions surveys and architectural base-plan presentations
  • Introduced 3DS Max software developed by Autodesk to the department
  • Member of an award-winning team that won the Better Philadelphia Architecture Competition for inexpensive design in 2019

Rhino-Right Architects

Architectural Intern, 2016

Produced basic architectural design drawings. Created 3D models of houses. Developed technical solutions under the supervision of the company’s licensed architects. Used AutoCAD, Rhino, Revit, and SketchUp as required. 

  • Learnt how to use the full range of computer-aided design and drafting software
  • Worked on six local company projects developing solutions for technical issues
  • Sat in on meetings with company directors when the lead architect explained the solutions we had developed
  • Offered a second, more senior, internship position for the following summer

Architect education

In the US, you will need to have at least a Bachelor of Architecture or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architecture, which is not the same as a BS in Architectural Technology and which won’t qualify you as an architect as such. 

Other architect-related degrees that do not result in an architecture degree include a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Architecture, and a BS in Fine Arts or BS in Art and Design, even if these are issued by the architectural department of a college. 

In addition to the degree, an architect needs to be licensed from one of the 55 state licensing boards. This usually means that as well as having an acceptable degree that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), you’re going to need professional experience that can be documented, and you’ll have to pass the national licensing exam.

A few state licensing boards accept degrees that are not accredited and accept experience in place of some of the educational requirements. 

NCARB has a program that enables graduate architects to record and verify their education, experience, and examination history. This is key to getting NCARB certification (see below). 

Most colleges and universities will help architectural students find internships. They can also be located through NCARB. Some of the time spent working as an intern counts towards the three-year training requirement, which must be completed within the five-year deadline architects have to complete their exams. 

A Master of Architecture degree also requires internships. At all levels, internships are paid. 

Sample Education

Cornell University College of Architecture, art, and Planning (AAP), 2013 – 2017

Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) 

  • AAP’s Cornell Future Architect Award, 2013

Certifications 

Certifications and licensure are key to a professional career in architecture in the US. 

Professional registration, certification & architectural associations include NCARB, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and various state chapters, as well as state societies of architects. 

If you have a degree in architecture from a program that is accredited by NCARB, you qualify for certification. With that under your hat, what you need to practice as an architect is NCARB-approved certification in your state.

We talked about the NCARB AXP and certification earlier because both are pivotal for the education and experience of architects. 

The AXP is what will get you certified in your state, which is what you need to be able to practice legally as an architect. You also get to use the initials  NCARB after your name, though certification will have to be maintained if you want to continue doing so. 

People often talk about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. But architects cannot be certified by LEED, only buildings can. Architects can though be LEED Accredited, which is another great “qualification” to add to your resume. 

You can also register as a professional architect with the AIA. 

Sample Certifications

  • NCARB certification
  • State certification

Complete architects resume sample

So you’ve had a few jobs as an intern architect and at least one since you were certified. But does applying for a new job get any easier?

Probably not. Apart from anything else your experience keeps growing and you need to update your resume to ensure that it encompasses what you have learned and what you have to offer new employers. 

While you might have a completely different type of job in mind, we are going to look at one that is advertised for a project architect to work in Washington DC. The approach you will take for any other position will be the same, it will only be the specifics that differ.

This award-winning company is looking for a mid-career architect with between three and eight years of experience to join the company. Ideally, they want someone who has worked with SketchUp and is familiar with BIM. 

This is an opportunity to work in an environment where you would be able to use your own individual skills but would be encouraged to collaborate with your work colleagues.

Ultimately, it is clear that they want an architect who is talented and driven to succeed. Your resume will need to show that you fit this bill! 

Professional Project Architect

Objective

Experienced, licensed architect with recognized talent who has worked in US architect’s firms fulltime for five years. Passionate about the historic preservation of buildings in Washington DC. Commitment to aesthetics that combine with design excellence and sustainability. 

Skills

AutoCAD | BIM/Revit | SketchUp | Adobe Creative Suite 5 | Excellent graphic and computer skills | Creativity | Sound design principles | Advanced technical skills | Knowledge of Washington Building Codes | Highly ethical

Work Experience

ABC Design Company

Staff architect, 2018 – Present

Assisted the company’s project team in producing, coordinating, and managing project operations to assure quality, accuracy, profitability, and timeliness. Involved in all phases of projects. Reviewed construction design form compliance.

  • Controlled the quality and completeness of drawings to ensure success
  • Assessed profitability and increased profitability of most projects
  • Worked as in-house consultant to the office staff in terms of technical ramifications of architectural drawings
  • There have been no negative compliance issues at the firm since I joined

Sorg and Associates

CAD Architect, 2015 – 2017

Produced design documents for all phases of projects: concept, schematic, design development, and the final blueprint stage. Produced presentation-quality drawings using AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, and Adobe Creative Suite 5.

  • Worked closely with external consultants, architects, and designers
  • Achieved professional certification in computer-aided design
  • Prepared multiple detailed schematics that were used for building construction projects
  • Doubled my salary in the first year

Top Design Associates

Intern Architect, 2014

Completed work responsibilities that had a design and technical focus. These included conceptual studies, schematic documents, design development documents, and construction documents. 

  • Awarded a scholarship to gain access to the intern architect program 
  • Had to be Revit-proficient for the job 
  • Also worked in SketchUp, Lumion, and the Adobe Creative Suite
  • Was commended for several project inputs

Smith & Brown LLP

Architectural Intern, 2013

Performed work on basic segments of architectural projects. Assisted in general preparation of design and construction documents as well as models. Completed basic documentation and presentation work. 

  • Undertook significant code and zoning research for several projects
  • Learnt Photoshop, illustrator, and Sketch Up to improve my graphic presentations
  • Proved my hand-drawing abilities were top notch
  • Played an important role in coordinating with clients, project team members, and regulatory agencies

Cardno & Co

Architectural Intern, 2012

Collaborated with a senior licensed architect on all phases of projects. Used AutoCAD, Revit, and Microsoft Suite for projects. Did 2D drafting and BIM 3D modeling. 

  • Provided support to the lead architect in the firm 
  • Coordinated and assisted with detailing of building materials for more than 20 projects 
  • Three of my new structure design were incorporated into the architect’s final designs
  • Commended for my artistic creativity in 2D and 3D modeling

Certifications

  • NCARB certification
  • Washington DC certification

Education

University of Washington College of Built Environments

BA in Architecture, 2011 – 2014

  • Second prize in 2013 for a research project on The Potential of Building Typologies that Combine Resource-Efficient  Food Production with Other Uses

Key Takeaways

There’s a lot of education and training to conquer before you can call yourself a professional architect. If you’re up for the challenge you’re on your way. But even with five or six job experiences (including internships) under your belt, the challenge will continue.

A really good, professional resume will help you continue the ladder to success. 

  • It is illegal for you to call yourself an architect in the US unless you are licensed. You can do architectural work as a designer, but you cannot call yourself an architect. And you cannot call yourself “an unlicensed architect.”
  • Architecture combines functionality and aesthetics with human safety. This is why the requirements to be licensed as a professional architect are so strict in the US. 
  • Internships are highly valued as an educational tool for architectural training. They count as education and experience, so are also important on any architect’s resume. 
  • The skills an architect will need to succeed are vast and varied. They include creativity, as well as organizational, analytical, visualization, and communication skills. Additionally, architects need strong technical skills like computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) that enable them to create plans that are part of building information modeling (BIM). 

Tips from Experts

“Architecture and urbanism do more than merely provide the shelter where we live. They shape the public and private realms in which we inhabit our planet and develop our cultures, economies, and futures.” – University of Notre Dame School of Architecture

“Whether you get an architectural license or not is a personal choice. It is entirely up to you to decide whether getting a license is really important to you and if you should devote your time to that. But unless you have been licensed by a state, it is illegal to call yourself an architect in the United States.” – National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)

Conclusion

The path to becoming a licensed architect in the US is long and hard, but the rewards at the end of the day can be immense. It’s the age-old story, you get out what you put in. 

Once you’re halfway there and you’ve got your degree, you are licensed, and you’ve got some experience under your belt, you’re likely to want to start climbing the career ladder to success. Your aspirations will be your own, but they will likely include a higher income and a chance to work in a particular niche. 

This is when a successful resume can help you. 

We’ve given you guidelines and suggestions. Now it’s your chance to make it your own. You can do it!


Sources

Methodology

In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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