Monday, March 22, 2010

Redlined Resumes: coming back to architecture

Okay, folks, time for another resume. Same rules apply as before: I've printed the resumes and hand-marked them in red. I've scanned all the documents in black and white for a two reasons: one, you can see my red marks better on a black-and-white page; and two, your beautiful color resume may end up getting printed by someone with a crappy, B&W-only printer (I know, you'd think everyone's caught up by now) or faxed (and fax machines generally only print in B&W--horrors!) I've marked out names and addresses as well as places you've worked, but I left schools in. To read the JPGs of the resumes, double-click on them and they'll open in a separate window at a larger size.

Today's resume comes to us from A.H., who stepped away from architecture for a while and is now going back to architecture school and has renewed his commitment to the profession. While A.H. sent me resumes for going after a variety of positions, I'm going to focus on the most architectural of them and edit it as if he's going after a position as an intern with an architecture firm.

The first thing I loved about this resume is that it's not vertical--that jumped out at me because it was unusual but didn't give me any problems in opening, reading, and/or faxing and printing it. Also, this format allows A.H. to fill the page with his experience and education while also making sure it's legible. There's something nice about the quote at the top of the page with his name--almost graphic layout/magazine-like. I also like his Summary of Qualifications section--in lieu of the old "Objective" on a resume, this allows his resume to be sent around without (or separate from) his cover letter, and he can customize this for every firm to which he sends it. In the redlines, I'm suggesting that when he rework his Summary of Qualifications, that he sample a bit out of it to use as his enlarged quote above. Rather, below--move the Summary to the top of the first column and then move the quote to the bottom.

A.H.'s software skills are good to include, but as I mentioned on the previous resume, it's best to explain if you're familiar or proficient with the types of software. What I failed to realize until now is that A.H. would also do well to describe what kinds of web designing software he is familiar/proficient with, as web design is described as one of his skills in the second column. I suggested that he set that skill and task apart from the rest in that second column under where he worked for the AIA. Also, I've tweaked a few words there: "focused" isn't nearly as active of a word as "coordinated", and "trouble-shooting" is one of those words that's iffy when you put it into past tense. (I checked with a college English professor on that word, and she recommended "performed trouble-shooting" in order to get around the iffyness). As for the last job, which was clothing retail, I realize I didn't say much about it. Perhaps a better way to describe those tasks may be: "Understood current promotions and all product features" and then "Clearly communicated features and product options to customers to aid in their product selections". The phrase "influenced buying decisions" may strike some potential employers as a little manipulative. Save the discussion of reading verbal and non-verbal cues as something for an interview--it can sound scheme-ish in written form but a brilliant skill in psychological understanding when explained in person.

A.H.'s resume has a lot of good things going for it in terms of formatting, and even the content has a lot to offer. If A.H. went after a job at a firm that did a lot of government buildings, he could boldface the part about being Criminal Database Certified, and if he went after a position in a small firm and found that they had a crappy website, he could accentuate his web experience.

Next post: another resume! In the meantime, if you have an architectural/design profession resume that you'd like for me to review and post on the blog, or any question or topic you'd like to see covered here, feel free to mention it in the comments or email me at the address in the sidebar. Thanks!

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