Architect cover letters can be real tests of your ability to target a job. These are true professional cover letters, and the readers are also professionals who know exactly what sort of candidate they want. The architect cover letter has to be as well designed as any building.
Architect Cover Letter Issues
This letter requires some real thought and planning. Architect cover letters must provide a lot of information. Remember also that all architecture jobs are by definition competitive. You will have to spell out in detail why you’re the best fit for the position.
Drafting Your Architect Cover Letter
Start by researching the job and the employer’s business. This is absolutely essential to show a working knowledge of the organizational context of the position and the work involved.
The essential skills are a guide, but in architecture, the work can be quite complex, so make sure you’re fully briefed on the nature of the job.
If the job is technical, detail your experience in these areas:
- CAD and drafting certifications, qualifications and experience
- Types of building (residential, commercial, interior, etc.)
- Types of design and design elements you’ve worked with
Note: your portfolio will cover these areas, but make sure you show the employer examples of technical work which is related to their business.
If the job is design, your portfolio is the key. Refer to your strongest design work, including design elements and the types of design tools you use. For design jobs, an architect cover letter really needs to be a real map of professional skills and accomplishments.
Architect Cover Letter Structure
The letter should be simply laid out, a basic business letter format:
Refer to the position title, citing the job reference.
Outline your relevant experience and qualifications as appropriate. You need to include all essential skills in a straightforward sequence:
- AutoCAD 3D
- Certified AutoCAD Instructor
- Statutory approvals
- Client liaison
- Project Management
In this paragraph of you show high values to the employer. Citing achievements and using dollar values is a good idea, particularly for major architecture firms who need to see the ability to cope with big budget projects. Keep your descriptions business-oriented:
“In 2010 as Senior Project Manager for XYZ Architecture Inc. I supervised staff and co-designed the ABCD Shopping Mall, a major project with a $8.5 million budget.”
This is the motivation and summing up paragraph. Explain your reasons for interest in the position from a career and motivational perspective:
“My career objective is to participate in advanced project work for an industry leader in commercial architectural design. I believe I can contribute knowledge, experience and expertise to this position.”
Dos and Don’ts for Architect Cover Letters
- Do make sure that your letter is simply laid out and easy to read.
- Do check to be sure you’ve covered all essential criteria.
- Do be specific about your skills and experience.
- Don’t use large masses of text or lengthy sentences.
- Don’t clutter up the letter with technical information.
- Don’t go off topic. Stay focused on the essentials.
Architect Cover Letter Example
Architect cover letters may involve covering your claims to a complex job in one page. It’s important to make sure that you can deal with the important issues related to the job, make a good presentation of your qualifications and achievements.
Considerations for drafting your letter
Because of the requirement for good quality content, it’s advisable to do a basic draft, if necessary making a list of the important elements you want to include in your letter. This helps visualization of content and composition, and makes sure you include everything.
There are several primary considerations for your letter:
- Job criteria: Your applications must address job criteria clearly and objectively.
- Specializations: Depending on the job, you may need to devote a paragraph to your qualifications for the specific role of the job.
- Employer business considerations: Some architectural employers have particular business activities and areas of expertise. These areas are critically important to your job application, and you must make a strong case for your skills in these areas. You also need to address any relevant business experience you’ve had which shows particular skills in the employer’s line of work.
- Unique selling points: Your own individual specialties and abilities must show a direct relevance to the job. You can use your resume to cover some of these points, but your cover letter can add detail and emphasis to these points.
- Motivation: In many cases, particularly entry level jobs, your motivation and career track is very relevant to your job application. If you intend to become a development architect, for example, that’s highly relevant to a development architecture specialist employer.
Use a business letter model for your letter style. The cover letter is a part of a formal process, and the business writing style is the most effective form of presentation. It’s advisable to set up a personal macro for letters of this type, to save time when writing and to ensure correct formatting.
The business letter format is:
Addressee: Full title of recipient and correct address.
Your address and contact details: Make sure phone and email details are entered correctly.
Greeting: Dear Sir/Madam or name of recipient.
Heading including the job application reference and full title of position: “Junior Architect, Your reference ABC/123”
Introduction paragraph: Formal opening, like “I refer to your advertisement for the above position. Please find enclosed my resume.”
Letter drafting, content and editing
Use your drafting list of subjects as the raw material. You should allow a paragraph for each major element of the draft letter. The editing process may involve deleting less important elements from your letter so you can cover essential job requirements.
The most important content requirements are spelled out by the job:
Research the job in detail: What are the most critical job requirements? These must be addressed in your cover letter.
Keywords: These are usually job criteria, related directly to core job functions. What keywords are in the job ad? Your cover letter should use the same terminology, addressing these criteria. (In cases where job applications are screened by computerized systems, the keywords operate as primary checks on applications.)