Drafting your cover letter is the first step to landing an architect job.
Just as an building’s blueprint you sketch, your cover letter must also be impeccably designed if it is to get the attention of an architect firm. Because of the highly competitive nature of this career path, it is important to tailor each cover letter you write to each firm you apply to.
If you are applying for a design position specifically, it may help grab the firm’s attention if you put your design skills to use in formatting your cover letter. This may include using an unusual layout (that is still easy to read) and/or including graphics as part of your letter’s presentation. However, if you are submitting the letter online as opposed to a printed hard copy, avoid using unusual layouts and graphics, as they may not open correctly on the employer’s computer. If you are not applying for a design position, stick to the regular business letter format, which includes a header, inside address, salutation, introduction, body, conclusion, closing salutation and your signature.
Going beyond the job description and researching both the architect firm, the department and the position you want will more than likely help you find a piece of information you can use in your cover letter. Find something about the firm or its current projects that you can relate to or have a special understanding of, then mention it in your cover letter as a way to both call attention to your skills and show that you cared enough about the position to look into it deeply.
The Cooper Center for Career Development recommends that you “avoid making the common egocentric mistake of describing why the position would be good for you.” Your resume is the document that shows the firm your skills, experience and education in architecture; the cover letter is where you explain how those abilities you possess can be put to use to benefit the company and add value to their projects.
Technical versus Design
The architect firm will be looking for specific information in your cover letter depending on whether you are applying for a design or technical job. For design jobs, you will likely be submitting your portfolio as well, and should refer to your strongest designs, as well as what type of design tools you use, in your cover letter. For a technical job, your cover letter should inform the firm what certification you have in drafting, what types of buildings (such as commercial or residential) you are experienced with and what types of design elements you have worked with.