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With the recent difficult times for the construction industry, finding work in architecture has certainly become a lot harder. More than ever you need to stand out from the crowd to succeed.

RIBA Appointments has come up with the following ideas to help you in your job search and offer some practical advice for job seekers in this difficult period. Some of the following may appear quite obvious but will hopefully prove useful as a check-list in case there is anything you may have missed.

1. Improve your CV

Your CV and cover letter are the first impression you make on a potential employer and it is vital to make this a positive impression. A few tips are below or view our sample CV:

  • Make sure that your contact details are correct and up to date.
  • Keep file sizes ideally below 2Mb. Large emails can get blocked and therefore not seen.
  • Keep it concise.
  • Check spelling. This sounds simple but CVs with errors do make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.
  • Include sample images of work - not a whole portfolio. The CV should give a snapshot of your career and experience. Your portfolio can then be presented at the interview stage.
  • Start with your most recent experience first and work backwards.
  • Include CAD skills and the amount of time you have worked on each system.
  • If possible send your CV as a single pdf document. Word documents can lose their formatting and look messy when sent via email.
  • Avoid writing text over images as this can be very hard to read.
  • Avoid writing text at angles.
  • Limit the number of ways you choose to highlight titles AND keep IT consistent throughout the CV.
  • If you are emailing CVs, keep the background white so practices can print them without using all their ink!

2. Ask for the right salary

Previously architectural practices were often in urgent need of new staff and in many cases paying quite high salaries to attract the top architects. As the economic market has changed it is worth checking that the salary you are looking for is in line with the current market expectations. View salary guide

3. Be the first to see jobs

Our site is updated regularly so it is definitely worth signing up for email alerts to avoid missing out on the latest jobs. Sign up for job alerts. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

4. Responding to adverts

Our website contains adverts from practices across the UK and abroad. When applying to adverts we recommend that you tailor your application to the specific requirements of that job description. This can be as simple as a reference in your covering note or changing the emphasis of the CV but it will show that you have the taken time to consider the responsibilities of the vacancy and addressed your application to that specific role. Search jobs

5. Apply directly

Contact firms in your local area to see if they have any positions available. In times like this, offering your skills on a contract basis may often be more appealing to a practice than taking on permanent staff.  Search practices

6. Be up to date on CAD

The majority of roles we recruit for nowadays require CAD skills and having limited CAD experience can put you at a disadvantage. View CAD courses

7. Network

Research says that the vast majority of people find work through word of mouth. Therefore ask friends if their practice is looking for someone at your level; speak to tutors at university, go to architectural events and lectures. You never know who you might meet! Find out what’s on at the RIBA

8. Be up to date on CPD

If there are any areas you feel your knowledge is weak in or if you would like to redirect your career development you can take courses via the RIBA Online CPD.

9. Research sectors

Although a number of architects have been made redundant some sectors are holding up better than others. To know which areas to target, view the RIBA Future Trends Survey.

10. Prepare for interviews

  • When you are asked to interview ensure your portfolio is well presented with images in a tidy folder.
  • Present all your images in one size and avoid bringing out separate sheets which will get out of order.
  • Ideally keep the style and fonts etc consistent across your portfolio, CV and cover letter.
  • Confirm where the office is and don't be late! Google maps
  • Find out who will be interviewing you and do research on places like LinkedIn.
  • Research the projects completed by the practice.
  • Research the latest news about the practice by looking at their website, Twitter and Facebook pages etc.
  • If you intend to take a computer presentation of your work, check that they will have the facility in the interview for you to display this.
  • Dress to impress! Look smart and professional.

11. Consider relocating

Even though some parts of the country will lose jobs, others will also be gaining work and it is worth considering relocating to follow demand. Moving to another part of the UK could bring lower living costs and less competition.

12. Be Flexible

  • Consider working on contract.
  • Look at other construction related roles. For example working as Project managers or Client advisors.

13. Find out what employers look for

See the results of our skills survey which highlights the different expectations of employers and architectural graduates. Skills Survey

14. Found a position?

Once you find a position you may also like to look at:

Further links on finding jobs can be seen below:

Should you consider starting your own practice instead, this may be useful: 

If you have any questions on the above please give us a call on ong>020 7496 8370 to speak to our recruitment team:

Paul Chappell :
Alexandra Roberts :
Recruitment Consultant
Margarida Araújo :
Recruitment Consultant
Zisis Karampaglidis :
Recruitment Consultant
Paul Chappell Alexandra Roberts Margarida Araújo Zisis Karampaglidis


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