Cover Letter Tips 2015 Form

Sample Architecture Cover Letter

Here is a sample cover letter that you can use as a starting point. However, remember you are selling your unique story.

UPDATE FROM BRANDON 3/7/2017:

Hi there, just a quick note before you read the example. Since this article has become very popular (#1 on Google) I have seen many word-for-word copies of this architecture cover letter in a lot of applications. I don't mind it being copied but you are doing yourself a disservice because all of the hiring managers know about this article. "Here is another Brandon cover letter". Please just use this as a reference for you own voice and experience. Thanks!

This is a business letter so use formal block formatting (not indented) paragraphs. Don't forget to include your contact information in the header or footer. Just email and phone number are acceptable, your mailing address is not necessary. 

Download the example documents for a formatted sample. 

[insert your contact information in header or footer]
October 12, 2015
Mr. Chris Anderson
Design Director
ABC Architects
145 Main Street
Boston, MA 02108
Dear Mr. Anderson:
With this letter, I wish to express my strong interest in working with ABC Architects as a Junior Designer. After three years in design and construction, I believe I would bring several areas of competence to ABC Architects. My resume detailing my professional background is enclosed for your review and consideration.
In my current position, I manage a team of designers and coordinate various consultants and work streams under demanding deadlines. I have contributed to the design of numerous high-rise projects including the First Bank Tower in New York and the Finance Office HQ in Dallas.
Through these and other projects detailed in my resume I am experienced with building materials and systems, sustainability techniques and construction administration on complex projects. I have extensive experience with a broad range of design and management software including AutoCAD, Sketchup, Revit, 3DS Max and Adobe Suite.
I would very much like to speak with you about the designer opportunities and the ways you can utilize my expertise. Please expect my call on Thursday, October 15th to arrange a convenient time to discuss. I look forward to speaking with you about this opportunity.
Sincerely,
James M. Smith
[insert your contact information in header or footer]

Notice it does not say, “I look forward to hearing from you” or “Please call me at your earliest convenience.” You need to be firm and show initiative at this stage.

Submitting the cover letter

There are generally three ways to submit your cover letter:

1. Email
2. Website submission
3. Mailed hard copy

Email Applications

I generally recommend you include the cover letter in the body of the message if you are applying by email. By keeping the cover letter as part of the email it takes out one step from clicking on two or three separate attachments (cover letter, resume, and sample portfolio.)

There are several options in submitting your application by email, I will have a look at these options and discuss the pros and cons of each method.

Here are the three main “ingredients” of your application

1. Cover letter
2. Resume
3. Sample Portfolio

Option 1: Cover letter in body of email, resume and portfolio attached separately

Pros:

  • Makes it more likely the recipient will read your cover letter if it is just included in the email as opposed to opening the cover letter attachment.
  • Keeps the resume and sample portfolio separate so the formatting can be different.
  • Makes the package more interesting instead of opening the attachment and seeing a letter, instead of a portfolio image or a well formatted resume.

Cons:

  • The above benefit of the resume and portfolio separate could also be a disadvantage because it creates two separate attachments, increasing the chance they won’t both be opened.

Option 2: Cover letter, resume and portfolio attached separately

Pros:

  • Allows different formatting for each document.
  • Allows the hiring manager to skip to whichever document he or she is looking for.

Cons:

  • More things to open and/or lose

Option 3: Cover letter, resume and portfolio combined into one attachment

Pros:

  • Easier to keep track of just one document, but if this email does not include a compelling email body cover letter then the attachment may not be opened at all.

Cons:

  • If you also include the cover letter in the email body AND the attachment it appears redundant when you read the email then open the pdf. This can make it a little trickier if you have different formatting between the three documents, from portrait to landscape for example. However it can make it a little easier for the hiring manager to print or forward if it is all-in-one document.

Website submissions

Some of the large architecture offices will have application submissions on their website. For cover letters in this situation there are generally two options:

1. Attaching a pdf cover letter
Always go with this option first. If they only offer a cover letter text box then that becomes a formatting issue.

2. A text only box
This is usually a plain text box that does not allow formatting, you need to have your cover letter formatted for both html and plain text when applying so they are both clearly readable.

Mailed hard copy

I generally don't recommend submitting hard copies of your applications. However, if you insist on snail mail be sure to print your cover letter on quality white bond paper (that matches your resume) and sign it.

You may want to send it in a waterproof envelope to reduce the chance of it getting wet.

I hope you found this information on architecture cover letters helpful for your next application.

Want to find your dream architecture job?
Check out The Architect's Guide Resources.

To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download:

The job market is evolving and changing—and as such, so should the resume and cover letter you use during your job search. Smart candidates are figuring out how to navigate the job market landscape—and do so with poise and confidence versus confusion, frustration, and despair. Cover letters tend to be the one document that people constantly feel stumped about when it comes to writing. Most just aren’t sure what they should say—and for others, they know what they want to say; they’re just not sure how to say it—with meaning and impact. With that in mind, here are my top 7 cover letter tips for your 2015 job search.

Cover Letter Tip #1: Be yourself.

No one wants to sound like a canned message, and I’m sure employers are tired of hearing the same worn out cover letter introductions. Make yours stand out by being yourself. Write in a personable way, and use this opportunity to let your personality, talents, and passions shine through. There’s no perfect cover letter formula, and in my 15+ years in HR I’ve seen time and time again that the cover letters that get read, that make a great first impression, and then help secure the interviews are not the ones that read like a canned template. They’re the ones that really reflect who the person is.

Cover Letter Tip #2: Be conversational.

Jumping right from my next point, don’t be afraid to use a conversational tone in your cover letter. Your cover letter is the best place to capture their attention with your own story. What’s best about you? Let’s talk about it, and let’s do it in a personable way. The more you can reflect your personality, style, and who you are, the better sense the employer will get of who you are and how you’ll fit in. Plus, would you rather read a cover letter written in a friendly yet professional tone that tells a story (which almost always gets your attention)—or would you rather read a bunch of canned phrases and the same thing over and over again?

Cover Letter Tip #3: Make the connection.

Probably one of the most important parts of a successful cover letter is making the connection between your experience or interest in the company and the position they have available. I had an interior design client this year who had admired the work of a particular designer for quite some time. She considered her a role model and icon. She shared her connection to her work and how her own design work was influenced by and resembled the type of work this particular designer was seeking. She made the connection in a personable way—while being true to herself—and she won the interview and ultimately the offer.

Cover Letter Tip #4: State the benefit.

When you’re sitting down to write your cover letter you always want to write it specifically to the position/company you’re applying to. But here’s something else to remember—state the benefits. What benefit will this company gain from adding you to their team? State the value. What are your most persuasive selling points as applicable to this company and this position? State how you’ll meet their needs. What experience do you have that will allow you to immediately address and successfully resolve the company’s biggest need, right now? Hit the pain point. Know that there’s something most companies struggle with in your industry or position? Share how you beat the odds and overcame that challenge or obstacle with a past employer so they’ll be able to visualize how you can do the same for them. You certainly won’t need to do all four in one cover letter; I mean, you don’t want it to go on for days … but pick the one most relevant and elaborate on it.

Cover Letter Tip #5: Write to your audience.

There are different letters for different types of situations; and no two cover letters should ever be exactly the same. But when I say write to your audience, I’m mainly referring to the difference between writing a cover letter to a recruiter or search firm, writing a cover letter to accompany your resume when you apply to a company directly, and writing a value proposition letter – a different form of cover letter (you can read more about that here) when you’re executing a targeted direct mail campaign. Each has its own purpose and function; know which to use and when.

Cover Letter Tip #6: Answer the why.

Most job seekers forget to answer the WHY. Why are you interested in this position? Is it a lifelong pursuit? Your dream job? A company you’ve admired for years? Have a heart for a cause that they support, or does their mission hit close to home? Share why you’re personally interested in the opportunity. It shows you’re invested and excited—and that you’ve thought through your application and desire to work there.

Cover Letter Tip #7: Keep it short & close with contact.

While keeping all these great little tips in mind, it’s also pertinent to remember that the shorter your cover letter, the better. I recommend going through the steps above to write your cover letter and then going back through it, eliminating any superfluous words or any statements that might come off as canned or “from a template”. Doing so should cut back on any wordiness and shorten the length. Use bullets if/when you can, and when you close your cover letter, don’t forget to state your interest and give them a place where they can find out more about you—your LinkedIn profile, professional blog, or website, etc. Direct them to somewhere they can learn more.

My hope is that these tips will help ease the cover letter writing burden for you this year as you launch your 2015 job search. I’d love to hear your favorite tips for a successful cover letter and those you think that will be the most effective in 2015.

Let’s connect! I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn. Please feel free to send me an invitation here.

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