How to Write a Cover Letter for an Architecture Job – A Blueprint

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Picture this: your dream architecture firm posted a job posting and you’ve got your portfolio ready and you can’t wait to apply, but there is one more thing in your way: the cover letter. While you may thing that it’s a mere formality, writing a successful architecture job application cover letter can make all the difference when applying. It’s the tool that allows you to create a convincing connection between your skills and experience and the benefits for the firm you are applying to. In this post we’ll learn how to write a cover letter for an architecture job that makes a lasting impression!

Let’s be honest, nobody likes writing cover letters… While it may be tempting to write a basic cover letter, don’t miss out on the opportunity to wow your future employer by writing an outstanding cover letter that they can’t say no to!

Let’s get right to it:

The 7 Steps to an Effective Cover Letter

Don’t get stuck in front of an empty page: Follow these steps to write an effective architecture job application cover letter:

  1. Research the Company: Before you start writing, research the firm! Understand its mission, values, projects, and overall company culture. Your cover letter should show that you’re not only a good fit for the job, but also the company as a whole.
  2. Customize the Introduction: The opening paragraph should be a direct address to the company. Here, express your interest in the specific role and the firm. Make sure it’s tailored to the company and the position you’re applying for.
  3. Highlight Your Skills and Experience: Use the body of the cover letter to detail your qualifications, experience, and your skills. Be specific about your experiences and past roles, and tie these back to how they add value to the company.
    • Technical Skills: Architectural drafting, 3D modeling, CAD/ BIM software expertise, Parametric Design, Adobe Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, understanding of building codes and regulations.
    • Design Skills: Innovative design thinking, creativity, attention to detail, problem-solving skills.
    • Interpersonal Skills: Communication, teamwork, project management, client relations.
  4. Express Your Passion for Architecture: Show your enthusiasm for the profession. Discuss why you chose architecture, what aspects you enjoy most, and how this passion will drive you to succeed in your role.
  5. Detail Your Career Goals: Outline your short-term and long-term career goals, and how the role aligns with them. This gives the employer a clear picture of your professional trajectory and ambition.
  6. Write a Strong Conclusion: In the closing paragraph, express your interest in an interview and thank the reader for their time. Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and the company.
  7. Proofread and Edit: Always proofread your cover letter for spelling or grammatical errors! A cover letter free from mistakes shows your attention to detail.

The Correct Formatting of a Cover Letter

When writing a cover letter for an architecture position, it’s crucial not only to consider your content but also how it’s presented. Following the correct formatting can make your cover letter more readable and professional. Here are some important points to note:

Paper Size and Position of Elements

  1. Standard paper size: In the United States, the standard paper size for documents is ‘Letter,’ which measures 8.5 x 11 inches. If you are applying for a position in a country that uses the metric system, use ‘A4’ size, which is 210 x 297 mm.
  2. Positioning: Start with your contact information at the top left corner of the page, followed by the date, and then the recipient’s contact information. The body of the letter should begin one line below the recipient’s address.
Essential formatting of a cover letter for an architecture job

Font and Size

  1. Font choice: Choose a clear, professional-looking font. Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, and Helvetica are good choices for cover letters. Readability is paramount!
    If you want to give it a special touch without breaking the bank, Google offers free fonts like Roboto here.
  2. Font size: Keep your font size between 10 to 12 points. Smaller text can be hard to read, and larger sizes may look unprofessional.

Layout

You can give your cover letter an special touch, you are a creative after all! But don’t go overboard – clarity and readability are a top priority!

Here are some layout options that can give your cover letter that extra zing!

Layout ideas for a cover letter for an architecture job

File Format

  1. File format: Save your cover letter in PDF format. This ensures that the formatting will appear the same regardless of what device or program the employer uses to open the document. However, always follow the employer’s instructions if they specify a different file format.
  2. File name: Use a file name that includes your name and the words ‘cover letter’. By doing so you’ll make it easier for the hiring manager to identify your document.

Remember, the key is to keep your cover letter clean, concise, and professional-looking. Your cover letter is a reflection of your professionalism, so ensure it’s well-formatted and free of errors.

Architecture Job Cover Letter Examples

Below you’ll find three examples of a cover letter for different experience levels. Junior architect (0-2 years), experienced architect (5+ years) and project manager (10 + years). For a guide on writing a cover letter for an internship position, check out this article.

Let this examples be an inspiration or a reference of how to write professional cover letter for an architecture job. Make sure that you tailor it to both the firm you are applying to and your personal skillsets and experience. Make it your own! Be as specific to you as possible – a memorable cover letter will stand out among basic, run-of-the-mill cover letters.

Sample Cover Letter – Junior architect Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the Junior Architect position at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). As a recent Master of Architecture graduate from [University Name], I have been deeply inspired by OMA’s innovative and thought-provoking approach to architecture. I believe my academic background, passion for design, and readiness to learn would make me an excellent fit for your team.

Throughout my studies, I have honed my technical and design skills to a high degree of proficiency. My academic experience has equipped me with a strong foundation in 3D modeling, CAD software, and understanding of building codes and regulations. My design sensibility is strongly influenced by OMA’s commitment to question conventions and push the boundaries of what is possible in architectural design.

As part of my final year project, I worked on designing a community center that aimed to be both sustainable and highly functional. This project was commended for its innovative design approach and attention to detail, attributes I see mirrored in OMA’s work. While I may not have extensive experience in a professional setting, I am enthusiastic about translating the skills and knowledge I have acquired into practice.

I am deeply passionate about architecture, especially the way it intersects with society and influences our everyday lives. OMA’s approach to urban, cultural, and social issues through the lens of architecture deeply resonates with me. My career goal is to work on projects that not only demonstrate architectural excellence but also contribute positively to the community and the environment. I believe that starting my professional journey at OMA will offer me an invaluable opportunity to work towards this goal.

In the spirit of learning and contributing to OMA’s ongoing success, I would welcome the opportunity to further discuss how my background, skills, and passion for architecture align with your firm’s vision. Thank you very much for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of contributing to OMA’s impressive legacy.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Sample Cover Letter – Experienced Architect Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the available architect position at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). I am a seasoned architect with a Master of Architecture degree from [University Name] and seven years of experience working in both national and international architectural firms. With my comprehensive project management experience and a particular skillset in designing sustainable skyscrapers, I am confident I could contribute significantly to your team.

In my career thus far, I have managed multiple high-stake projects from conception to completion, providing me with a robust understanding of every stage of architectural development. My most notable accomplishment to date has been the successful design and execution of a next-generation sustainable skyscraper, which pushed the boundaries of architectural design and sustainability.

Working on this project allowed me to dive deep into the nuances of creating environmentally conscious designs without compromising aesthetic appeal—a principle I see echoed in SOM’s incredible portfolio. This experience would undoubtedly be beneficial as I contribute to SOM’s vision for developing innovative, sustainable skyscrapers.

Moreover, I have always admired SOM’s holistic approach towards architectural, structural, and urban design. It aligns with my own views on the transformative power of architecture and its ability to affect change on an urban scale. My extensive experience in this area could prove instrumental in further enhancing SOM’s impressive legacy in the industry.

As a dedicated architect, I am continually learning and evolving, striving to push the limits of my design capacity while staying updated with the latest architectural trends and technologies. SOM’s commitment to pioneering technology and research is one of the many reasons I find the prospect of joining your team so exciting.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how my experience, skills, and visions could contribute to the exceptional work SOM continues to produce. I appreciate your consideration of my application and look forward to the possibility of working together.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Sample Cover Letter – Project Manager Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the Architectural Project Manager position at Perkins & Will. With a Master of Architecture from a renowned American university and a solid 15 years of industry experience, I bring a depth of expertise and a breadth of skills necessary to lead and coordinate complex architectural projects.

My project management journey, enriched by numerous projects across the U.S. and overseas, has equipped me with the necessary skills to lead and harmonize diverse teams. Collaborating with Local Design Institutes (LDIs), specialty consultants, and large client organizations, I have successfully directed large-scale projects, from initial conception to successful delivery, within budget, and on time.

I have admired Perkins & Will’s commitment to sustainable and human-centered design, having been a keen observer of your ground-breaking projects over the years. What attracts me the most to your firm is the convergence of innovation, sustainability, and client-focused design solutions, a philosophy that I deeply resonate with and have sought to implement throughout my career.

As an Architectural Project Manager, my strengths lie in fostering collaborative team environments, coordinating multifaceted aspects of design and construction, and ensuring seamless communication between stakeholders. I am confident that my adeptness at leading project teams, coupled with my technical expertise, would significantly contribute to the continued success of your firm.

It would be an honor to bring my comprehensive project management capabilities to Perkins & Will, and I am eager for the opportunity to discuss how my extensive experience and unique skillset could contribute to your esteemed firm.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of contributing to Perkins & Will.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

The Final Blueprint: Concluding Thoughts on Your Cover Letter

We’ve sketched the outlines, selected the right materials, and carefully assembled each piece. By following this guide, you’ve written a document that’s tailored to your prospective employer and highlights your unique qualifications and experiences.

But remember, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. Your cover letter should be a living document: adapt it to each new architectural position you apply to. Just as in architecture, each project requires its own specific approach, your cover letter should reflect the unique characteristics of the job role and company.

As you continue to grow professionally, mastering additional skills can significantly bolster your application. Nothing will give you better chances to land that job than improving your architecture skills. Consider enhancing your software skills or delving into specialized areas like computational design. Even if that new role is still a few weeks or months away, it’s never too early to start preparing.

Check out our course Grasshopper Pro if you want to master parametric design. In only two weeks you could add a sought-after skill to your cover letter!

Now that you know how to write a cover letter for architecture job, the only thing left to do is click ‘Send’! I hope you’ll land that job!

Best of luck!

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Thomas Tait
Architect at Snøhetta and Head Instructor @ Hopific (or, in plain English, I help designers use Grasshopper to supercharge their designs.

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