Whether attending a job interview, or sending out an online application for the first time, delivering a positive and well-rounded first impression is of vital importance, and this is especially true when it comes to applying for an architectural position within a firm.
As particularly when competing against many other suitable candidates, applicants rarely get a second chance to introduce themselves, so why not do it right?
In this article we discuss how to write the perfect architecture cover letter, and examine its purpose, format and structure, together with tried and tested writing tips and principles that conclude with a step by step paragraph breakdown and free cover letter template.
All aiming to ensure that you and your application stand out to your next prospective employer.
For those looking to get straight into preparing and writing their cover letter, we have prepared 28 fully editable and adaptable cover letter templates to help support and speed up the process.
Fully-structured, ready-to-use, and highly-customizable, these can simply be opened, edited, and sent. Bespoke elements and personal details are clearly highlighted in red, making them incredibly easy and simple to edit. …More information via the below link:
What is a cover letter and what is its purpose?
In your search for prospects in the architectural field, you can spend hours on end trying to pull together the perfect resume. However, the silver bullet could be a well written cover letter.
Though it is believed that a lot of employers do not read cover letters, more than half of them expect to be sent one with an application regardless.
Job applications in most professions, architecture inclusive, have two main constituents. First is your resume – which provides a summary of your education and professional experience. Next is your cover letter!
Though they might both seem commensurate, the cover letter is possibly the more important, as it is the first means of introduction to a prospective employer.
If landing that job is of top-priority to you, your resume is not enough! Be it for an internship, part-time or full-time position, ensure you include a cover letter. This gives more weight to your application and greatly improves your chances of getting called for an interview to discuss and present your portfolio.
Just like a spare tire, you never know when your cover letter will come in handy.
For more information on preparing a resume, we have a full guide here: How To Create The Perfect Architecture Resume
The purpose of a cover letter
Think of a cover letter as you would if you were meeting someone for the first time. As a professional, it signifies your intent, tone and values.
In the event that your cover letter is not successful at inspiring someone to learn more about you, there is a high chance they will not bother taking a look at your resume or portfolio at all.
A cover letter serves various purposes, some of which are:
- It communicates to the employer the reason why you should be hired.
- It showcases your noteworthy endeavors and expertise. It is suggested that you show-off the duties you undertook at your previous jobs. This will draw the employer’s attention to your distinctive capabilities.
- You might want to convey how passionate you are about the field of architecture. Also, showcase enthusiasm for the position you are applying to and how important the job opportunity is to you.
- Cover letters set precedence for follow-up. We suggest that you include the date and time you plan to call for a follow-up, so as to abolish the waiting game. This places the ball in the court of the employer.
- A great cover letter makes up for a sub-par resume. If your resume is lacking in some areas, be sure to exhibit your personality via a convincing cover letter.
- It illustrates your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Resumes tend to be short and precise, so a cover letter affords you the opportunity to expatiate on points.
- Cover letters confirm that you have carried out adequate research on the company and what they search for in a client.
Core cover letter tips and principles
Here are some tips to help with writing your architectural cover letter:
Keep it brief
- A cover letter should not be longer than a page. Ideally it should have a target of three paragraphs; maximum of four or five depending on how you break up the body of writing.
- Use this space to state the things you can offer the firm, and avoid bombarding your letter with redundant words and unnecessary information.
- Place your focus on writing a griping and succinct cover letter, as this demonstrates your ability to effectively communicate.
- Be sure to avoid repetition.
Begin your write-up by stating the role you are applying for, and why you are a suitable candidate for the position. Be sure to mention your work experience and qualities that make you ideal for the job.
Note that you should stay away from phrases like “I’m the perfect candidate for this position because…” or “I am confident I will exceed your expectations in every way.”
For applicants that do not have prior work experience in the field, it might benefit you to focus on recounting your extracurricular accomplishments. In general, the firm should get an idea that your foundation is solid enough to launch a career in the architecture field.
Customize your cover letter
Personalize your cover letter by adding keywords that have been mentioned in the job description. Make sure you read through the job posting carefully, and highlight the skills needed for the role (e.g., years of experience, technical skills, degree, etc.)
A pro tip is to take the buzzwords in the job posting, and reverse engineer them to fit your cover letter, as many companies even use automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen applications. Furthermore, make evident your acquaintance with the job role, the architectural field and the firm or employer.
Your application should stand out as it will not appear to be generic, but put together specifically for this purpose.
Address a specific person
If possible, your cover letter should be addressed to the hiring manager – with their first and last name. If you do not have a name, a quick google search might help.
You could take it a step further by contacting the organization directly to find out. The personal touch shows that you made an effort.
Though “Dear Hiring Manager” and “To Whom It May Concern” are a bit frosty, we would suggest you go with the later if unable to get any information on the hiring manager’s name.
Keep your cover letter distinctive as it is your marking document. Do not simply copy and paste everything in your resume, but expand on the best parts of it.
List and expand on your soft skills and social skills, as some companies are really big on this. Some examples of soft skills include communication, teamwork, problem solving, etc.
Your cover letter gives you a chance to explain gaps in your resume, if you have any. See the cover letter as would your “elevator pitch” or a marketing campaign.
Use the right format
Formatting plays a major role in the world of design. Your cover letter should look professional and clean. Also, ensure that the format of your cover letter complements that of your resume.
Keep the tone of your cover letter to three essential points, which are the introduction, body and conclusion.
Providing references from former managers, co-workers, and clients can go a long way in emphasizing your expertise and passion for the job. Add one or two testimonials to your letter, but do not go overboard with it as it might lead to overcrowding.
Be sure to double check your letter right after you are done putting it together. It is easy to make spelling errors and “spell check” might not catch every single one of them.
We suggest you give your letter to a friend to check for grammatical and spelling errors as well. You could also show them the job description, to confirm that you have covered all points required.
Mistakes to avoid
- Beating around the bush: This can be a time waster for you and the hiring manager. Go straight to the point in your letter.
- Using emoticons and abbreviations: Avoid using emoticons and words like “WOW,” “LOL,” “OMG” as they show a lack of professionalism.
- Focusing too much on yourself: Your emphasis should be on the job description and what you bring to the table. The employers needs to know that you can get the work done.
- Overusing the word “I’: Using the word “I” at the beginning of every sentence makes your letter look monotonous and more like an autobiography.
- Oversharing: Resist the urge to share every tiny detail about your previous work experience. A brief and concise description is fine.
- Giving red flag details: Do not overemphasise your weaknesses and bad encounters from past jobs, as this could easily create a negative impression of you.
- Length: Do not overstretch the cover letter. Also, avoid complicated sentence structures and ambiguous vocabulary. You can keep the letter at half or full page.
- Unprofessional contact information: Make sure your email address does not contain vulgar words. A formal and safe address is one that contains your first and last name.
- Generic letters: Customize your cover letter to each job posting.
- Same information: Skip information that is already included in your resume.
- Sign: Do not forget to sign your cover letter, as this shows that you pay attention to detail.
- Proofreading: Ensure you properly proofread your cover letter to avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
- Passive tone: Do not depend on the hiring manager to contact you. Instead, include a scheduled time you will be calling or mailing them for feedback on your application.
- Addressing the letter: Make sure the cover letter is addressed to the hiring manager of the company. Do not forget to personalize it, if possible.
How to format and structure your architecture cover letter
01. – Format
Human Resource Managers get loads of applications all the time, but only interview a few applicants. So how can you get your cover letter to stand out among the rest?
These quick pointers are a simple yet effective way of ensuring your letter is successfully formatted and structured:
- Align all parts of the cover letter to the left side.
- Letters should be single spaced with 1-inch margins on each side.
- Choosing the right font is crucial. Stay away from fancy fonts and be sure to match the cover letter font to that of your resume.
- Your architecture cover letter should be a single page or less.
02. Your cover letter header should have the right contact information
The header is the very first thing that people see. Ensure you start with the correct date and contact information. Then, proceed to the recipient’s name, title and their contact details.
Here is an example:
Architecture cover letter sample – header sample template
[Your Full Name]
[LinkedIn Profile Link]
[Online Portfolio Link]
[Hiring Manager’s Full Name]
[City, State, Zip]
For uniformity and easy identification, use the same header on both your resume and cover letter.
03. Introduce yourself and reference the position you’re applying to
Your cover letter should match the job description and begin with the full name of the hiring manager.
Compose the first paragraph of the letter by introducing yourself and stating the job position you are applying for. Cite your greatest architectural accomplishments and ensure they fit the job posting.
Here’s an example:
Architecture cover letter sample – introductory statement sample template
Dear [Manager’s Name/Hiring Manager]:
As a graduate architect based in the city of [your city], passionate about [specific skill they need], I was delighted to find your ad in [where you found the ad] for a [specific architecture job position]. For the longest time, I have been a fan of [company name and specific fact about the company you love]. This is why I believe my [big architectural achievement that fits their needs] makes me a great fit for the role.
04. Mention Applicable Architecture Achievements & Skills
It is important to gather relevant information applicable to the job role. You should learn the terms of the employer before proceeding.
For the second paragraph— Revisit the job description, find work requirements and show that your past experiences put you in a position to handle the job appropriately. This is how:
Architecture cover letter sample – middle paragraph sample template
From your job posting, it is evident that you are searching for an experienced architect with [specific skill or requirement]. The company is interested in [specific company goals] and I am certain that my [number of years] of accomplishments at [your previous company name] have adequately equipped me for this role, including:
[Skill #1]. [Achievement #1]
[Skill #2]. [Achievement #2]
[Skill #3]. [Achievement #3]
05. Ask for an Interview
Before sending in your application, put a solid ending on your cover letter. Be sure to ask for a call or an interview. Use the opportunity to reiterate how valuable you would be to the firm.
Here is an example of a cover letter closing:
Architecture cover letter sample – closing statement sample template
It would be my pleasure to talk over [company name]’s upcoming projects and share how I can further revitalize your team with my project [specific skills].
Full sample architecture cover letter template
4334 Chips Street,
Mississauga, ON M9W 1L5.
January 1, 2020
84 Suntan Avenue,
Toronto, ON L4W 48E.
As a graduate architect based in the city of Mississauga, passionate about building design and construction, I was delighted to find your ad for the role of an Architectural Technician. For the longest time, I have been a fan of FMIA Architects and the company’s dedication to sustainable architectural design. This is why I believe my creativity and 3D visualization skills make me a great fit for the role.
From your job posting, it is evident that you are searching for an experienced architectural technician with 3D rendering skills and knowledge of working drawings. The company is interested in green house advancement and I am certain that my 5 years of accomplishments at Crowley Designs and Management have adequately equipped me for this role, including:
– Leadership. Led the design of more than 15 residential and commercial building projects in the city of Toronto.
– Collaboration. Introduced new teamwork approach with project management team which saw a 20% decrease in planning time.
– Independence. Solely oversaw the management and construction of 7 residential buildings in the past 5 years.
During my time at Crowley Designs and Management, I practiced and learned many skills, which are transferable into the architectural technician role at FMIA Architects. My years of experience producing architectural designs and construction drawings give me an exceptional edge for this new role.
As evident in my accomplishments, I am very pleased with the work that I do, and if given the opportunity to prove myself at FMIA Architects, I will come with that same work ethic and enthusiasm.
I am welcome to discussing FMIA Architects’ future projects and plans. I would love to meet up for a coffee, and further explain how I believe my skills could be translated to my work at the firm. I will be in touch in the coming week to confirm an appointment.
Submitting your cover letter
Now that you have successfully written a cover letter, it is time to send it out to a prospective employer with your resume, and in some cases, a portfolio.
In general, most job applications are sent via email. Submissions via the company’s website, or a job recruitment website, are quite common as well. There are some employers that would rather have the old-fashioned hard copy submission method.
There are three email submission methods, namely:
Option 1: Cover letter in body of email, resume and portfolio attached separately
- It is more likely that the cover letter will be read if it is in the body of the email, as opposed to it being in a separate attachment.
- This is a great option to use if the formatting of the resume and portfolio are different from that of the cover letter.
- The package is more interesting, as opposed to opening an attachment and seeing just a letter in it.
- The benefit of the resume and portfolio attachments being separate, could also be a disadvantage, as they could both remain unopened after the cover letter has been viewed.
Option 2: Cover letter, resume and portfolio attached separately
- This allows for different formatting to be used in each document
- The hiring manager can simply skip to the exact document they are looking for
- Documents can easily be lost or skipped. Also, more files to open for the hiring manager.
Option 3: Cover letter, resume and portfolio joined into one attachment
- Keeping track of just one document is a lot easier.
- It makes it easier for the hiring manager to print all, if need be.
- If the body of the email is not compelling enough, the attached documents may not be opened at all.
- In the case where the cover letter is included in the body of the email and also in the attachment, it becomes redundant.
- It is a bit trickier if you have different formatting in the documents, e.g. portrait and landscape modes.
A lot of large architectural organizations allow job applicants submit the application on their websites. Usually, there is a form on the website for the applicant to fill in their details, and attach resumes and portfolios.
PDF documents can also be attached and a text box is incorporated in case candidates want to write their cover letters.
Simply follow the directions on the website, as they vary based on the company.
Mailed Hard Copies
Yes, there are still companies out there that expect you to mail hard copies of your cover letters, resumes and portfolios to them. You might also want to drop in on the architectural firm, and hand in your documents in person.
In that case, ensure that your documents are printed out on high-quality, white-colored bond paper. Place documents in a waterproof envelope to reduce chances of them getting wet. Do not forget to sign the cover letter by hand before submission.
Writing a cover letter may seem like a hassle, but note that it is a great way to create a worthy first impression. It can quickly inspire the person on the other end to interview you or trash your application.
Take the chance and craft a magnificent letter that sells you in the best possible light to prospective employers. A well written cover letter can land you the perfect job, so give it a chance.
We’re rooting for you. Best of luck!