How to Write an Architecture Cover Letter

How to Write an Architecture Cover Letter

How to Write an Architecture Cover Letter

An architecture cover letter accompanies your application to work for an architecture firm.

It is commonly required whether you are interested in an internship, junior or senior position.

Whilst your resume details your educational background and work experience, any architecture application is greatly strengthened by the addition of an engaging cover letter.

A well-written cover letter highlights why you are a good fit for the role and conveys your enthusiasm to work for the firm. It is an opportunity to display your knowledge of the architecture practice and how your work and experience will align and complement it.

Whilst a cover letter is not always cited as essential for a role, if you are serious about progressing to the next stage of the recruitment process, you should make the effort to write a tailored cover letter for each application.

An architecture cover letter is addressed directly to the individual recruitment manager for the role.

If you are not given a name in the job advertisement or application pack, it is worth taking the time to identify one to display your motivation.

Start with the firm’s website and LinkedIn, researching the relevant department. If you have no luck after taking your own initiative, try emailing or calling the firm to ask.

What Should a Great Architecture Cover Letter Include?

A strong architecture cover letter should seek to highlight your key competencies, skills and qualifications. It should also convey your motivation to work for the architecture firm in question.

Central skills and competencies can vary depending on architecture specialism; for example, technical architect, design architect or a sub-discipline such as sustainability. The pertinent details to highlight will differ according to the role.

Ensure, however, that you are using the cover letter to adequately sell yourself and your unique set of talents.

Whilst you should always speak to the specific qualities highlighted in the job posting, there are also wider soft skills sought for most architecture roles. It is important to highlight these soft skills alongside your technical expertise.

For example, use your cover letter to evidence a strong work ethic, the ability to deliver against tight deadlines and the possession of stamina for working long hours on a project when required.

Seek to demonstrate that you can not only cope but creatively thrive under the demands of the profession.

Competency with commonly used design software such as AutoCAD, Sketchup, Revit and Adobe Suite will be expected, so if there is an opportunity to naturally highlight your proficiency then include it.

Avoid, however, including a straight list, as these skills will already be listed in your resume.

Cover letters highlight important parts of your resume and are not simply a copy of it. If the job posting is seeking an expert in a particular program, promote your software talent centrally.

The skills anticipated and the expectation around experience will, of course, differ depending on the level of role you are applying to undertake. You should seek to tailor your cover letter accordingly.

Internships

If you are applying for an internship at an architecture practice, you will likely still be studying and have less experience to draw on than if applying for a higher-level role.

Seek to demonstrate your skills by highlighting the relevant experience you have obtained through your studies. Do not worry that you do not yet have a solid portfolio, instead explore how your university projects have prepared you for work within the practice.

In the cover letter, ensure you convey your enthusiasm and belief in your potential.

You are just starting in your architecture career, so an architecture firm will be looking for your potential rather than an evidenced track record with clients.

Junior Architect

If you are applying for a junior architect role, recruiters will expect to see that you have been previously involved in and contributed meaningfully to the design or realization of several successful projects.

Choose examples of projects that align with the practice’s existing portfolio (for example, residential design, large or small-scale commercial properties, sustainable builds) to demonstrate that you have worked to similar design briefs.

A solid knowledge of workplace processes, systems and an ability to flexibly deal with challenges should also be illustrated.

As you will likely have been working in the field for a few years, draw on your experiences at your previous firm and highlight your specialist areas.

If you have additional technical skills (for example, in Building Information Modelling (BIM), sustainable Passivhaus design, retrofit or workplace consultancy), emphasize the extra value you can bring.

Architectural Manager/Senior Architect

If you are applying for an architectural manager or senior architect role, you will have considerable experience within the profession.

As with the other roles, carefully select examples from your experience to include in your cover letter.

At this level, highlight the extent of your specialist experience, alongside leadership and managerial skills.

You will have many examples to choose from so ensure you are selecting those that speak directly to the job description and the responsibilities, essential criteria and desired attributes outlined.

If you are aiming to make the transition from a more junior role, highlight your key achievements and experience to date to convey that you are ready for the challenge of new responsibility.

How to Write Your Architecture Cover Letter

The Top Section

At the top of your cover letter, include the name and address of the company and the date.

If you know the name of the person within the company who will be receiving your letter, add this as the first line of the company address.

You can also include your own name and contact details, though these can alternatively be included after you sign off.

Ensure you format the letter correctly to display a familiarity with the structures of more formal professional correspondence.

Opening Paragraph

In the opening paragraph of your letter, clearly state the role you are applying for at the company. If there is a job reference number, include that too.

You should seek to introduce yourself and your experience in a concise manner.

Also, if you have been referred by someone for the role, make sure to mention it.

The opening paragraph should ideally be no more than three sentences long and create a strong first impression.

For example:

Dear Mr Murray,

I wish to submit my application for the Junior Design Architect (Residential Housing) role within RGB Architects (Job ref. 098256). With four years of experience working in housing design with [previous company name], I have successfully delivered several award-winning sustainable inner-city residential projects and suburban developments.

Second Paragraph

In the second paragraph, highlight your skills and competencies.

You may choose to flag your qualifications, particularly if you hold any extra certifications above and beyond your architectural qualifications and architect’s license.

Explain why you are a good fit for the role, relating to the information given in the job description and matching it to your experience. It is sensible to echo the language used in the job advert to cement the impression of your suitability.

Highlight the key terms used and aim to work them into your experience as organically as possible.

If you have a range of strong relevant achievements or experience to include, consider using a bullet point list to keep it concise. This is not the same as listing off your entire resume.

It is important to demonstrate throughout that you are aware of the background and priorities of the company and have the specific experience they are seeking.

For example:

Working for a relatively small practice that predominantly focuses on residential design, I have had the opportunity to be an integral part of the core design team, managing a significant workload to tight deadlines. I am proficient in Autodesk and AutoCAD, and heavily use Building Information Modeling (BIM) for my designs. As a LEED Green Associate, sustainability considerations across a building’s life cycle inform all my design contributions. I also have experience in managing design interns, so I am excited about this dimension of the role.

How to Write an Architecture Cover Letter
How to Write an Architecture Cover Letter

Third Paragraph

In the third paragraph, highlight your motivation for applying to the architecture practice in question.

The best cover letters are specific to the practice and role, so convey your enthusiasm.

What is it about the culture or work of the practice that attracts you? Do you align with their values?

For example:

I am drawn to RGB Architects because of your focus on bringing quality and sustainable design into lower cost residential projects. I share the belief that thoughtful design – creating living spaces that work for both people and the environment – should not be exclusive. This ethic can be seen through the innovative and progressive community design projects that I have had the privilege to be involved in.

Fourth Paragraph

In the penultimate paragraph, highlight what you will bring to the responsibilities of the role and the company beyond.

To do this, display an understanding of the company’s goals, values or direction and, again, match it to your experience.

For example:

At my current firm, I have been involved in Passivhaus designs for homes and workplaces, as well as exploring how to incorporate sustainable modular housing into large-scale social housing mix projects. The experience gained means I am well placed to support RGB Architects with the design of the Batton Development cited as the initial central project for this role. I am aware that RGB is seeking to move into the modular space, so can offer my insight from significant experience in this field.

Final Paragraph

In your final paragraph, thank the reader for the consideration of your application and create a call to action.

You should sign off formally.

The way you do this will differ depending upon whether you are responding to a job advert with a clearly laid out recruitment process or making a speculative enquiry.

If the follow-up procedure is not clear, you may wish to state when you will be in touch with the company to discuss your application further when you sign off.

If the dates for review are known, or the application is via a structured online form, be patient and wait for your application to be processed.

For example:

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I firmly believe that my alignment with your company values and direct experience in innovative sustainable housing design make me a great fit for this Junior Architect role. I look forward to hearing from you and would welcome the opportunity for a conversation at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Greg Jennings
07382 974243
g.jennings@gmail.com

Architecture Cover Letter Top Tips

  • Keep it concise – Hiring managers will have many applications to review, so keep your cover letter well-structured, clear and to the point. Aim for between half a page and a page in length. The letter will be reviewed quickly so needs to create a good impression of your competencies and experience rapidly.

  • Complement your resume – Remember that your cover letter will not be read in isolation, but alongside your resume. Avoid repetition. Instead, use the cover letter as a chance to highlight and add detail to a couple of relevant examples of your experience.

  • Tailor your letter to the firm – If you want to be seriously considered for the open role, ensure you tailor your cover letter to the specific role and architecture practice. It may be tempting to reuse the same cover letter for multiple applications, but this is unlikely to result in success. A generic letter will not impress the recruitment team or convince them that you have a genuine interest in being a part of the company, so take the time to craft a worthy cover letter.

  • Speak to the job posting – Following on from the above, make your architecture cover letter specific to the job advert. It is sensible to do your own additional research on the firm but remember to use what is given to you in the job description and advert. Speak to the qualities and skills that are sought in the posting, highlighting your experience and how it can be directly applied to the architectural design areas or new projects the firm has in the pipeline.

  • Avoid any grammar or spelling mistakes – Your cover letter is the first example of your written work that your potential employer will receive. It is therefore an opportunity to display the quality of your written communication skills. Format your letter professionally and check your spelling and grammar carefully before sending. Ensure that your sentence structure is good too, as this will impact readability and contribute to the overall impression.

Example Architecture Cover Letter

Now, here is how a sample architecture cover letter might read:

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Hiring manager’s name]
[Company name]
[Company address]

[Date]

Dear Mr Samuel Murray,

I wish to submit my application for the Junior Design Architect (Residential Housing) role within RGB Architects. With four years of experience working in housing design with [previous company name], I have successfully delivered a number of award winning sustainable inner-city residential projects and suburban developments.

Working for a relatively small practice with a predominantly residential design focus, I have had the opportunity to be an integral part of the core design team, managing a significant workload to tight deadlines. I am proficient in Autodesk and AutoCAD, and heavily use Building Information Modeling (BIM) for designs. As a LEED Green Associate, sustainability considerations across a building’s life cycle inform all my design contributions. I also have experience of managing design interns, so I am excited about this dimension to the role.

I am drawn to RGB because of your focus on bringing quality and sustainable design into lower cost residential projects. I share the belief that thoughtful design – creating living spaces that work for both people and the environment – should not be exclusive. This ethic can be seen through the innovative and progressive community design projects that I have had the privilege to be involved in.

At my current firm, I have been involved in Passivhaus designs for homes and workplaces, as well as exploring how to incorporate sustainable modular housing into large scale social housing mix projects. The experience gained means I am well placed to support RGB Architects with the design of the Batton Development cited as the initial central project for this role. I am aware that RGB is seeking to move into the modular space, so can offer my insight from significant experience in this field.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I firmly believe that my alignment with your company values and direct experience in innovative sustainable housing design make me a great fit for this Junior Architect role. I look forward to hearing from you and would welcome the opportunity for a conversation at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Greg Jennings
07382 974243
g.jennings@gmail.com

Final Thoughts

Whilst writing a tailored architecture cover letter for each job opening may at first seem time-consuming, a strong cover letter is your main chance to make a positive impression. Employers want to get a feel for your personality, your motivation and your experience to date.

Use the cover letter as an opportunity to complement your resume, highlighting the relevant skills and experience you possess for the role.

Remember that your cover letter should be unique to you and that selling yourself through someone else’s words will not appropriately showcase your talents. Use phrases from the job description but not to the loss of your voice.

To be shortlisted, your cover letter should be authentic, well-written, and speak to the company and role.

Use our architecture cover letter top tips and structure suggestions to help you write a concise, confident cover letter that upsells what you bring to an architecture practice.


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