Professionalism 101 – Applying for a Creative Job

Applying to a job in today’s market has never been easier (I say with an eye roll)…  Often, all you need to do is press a button and a website will automatically compile your information and send it on to your future employer.  Or so you think…  Often the automated information is a generic black & white document that doesn’t tell your future employer much about you besides that fact that you went to “fill in the blank” school and worked at “fill in the blank” job.

So what should you do to show your future employer how awesome you are?

1. Use your Eyes!
Oh… look at that… HAYNE IS HIRING

READ the job description and requirements carefully. If it’s in all CAPS chances are that it is IMPORTANT!

What is the job title? What is the job description? Do you meet the requirements?

“Must be local” does not mean “willing to relocate”. “Revit Experience required” DOES NOT mean “Trying to learn right now”. “In-house” does not mean “in your house”.

2. Send your Resume

Don’t have one? Microsoft Word has some great free templates! Take the time and fill it out!

Look at all of those options!

Look at that, they even have useful descriptions to help you fill in the sections!

When you are finished SPELL CHECKING, get it ready send…DO NOT send a WORD DOCUMENT! Word documents are EDITABLE! It’s like submitting a draft to a potential employer. ALWAY send a PDF document.

If it feels like I’m yelling at you now, that’s because I am.  Sending Word Documents is one of my biggest professional PET PEEVES.

How do you make a PDF you ask? It’s really easy…

File. Export. Create PDF.
Don’t forget to name it! YourName_Resume.PDF

Want to show your employer more?  Send a cover letter as well.  This is a great place to showcase your enthusiasm to work for them!

Oh look, Microsoft Word has the templates for that too!
3. Send Your Work Samples

In the creative field you must alway be ready to send work samples.  These samples should showcase your strengths and abilities.  They can be scanned sketches, hand drafted drawings, digital drafted drawings, renderings of 3D models, photographs of physical models, etc.  Make sure you have high quality images saved and ready to be sent upon request.  (putting together a digital portfolio is a great idea…)

Please DON’T send images like these…


I mean what is this? Sketches are a great way to showcase your thought process and style, but please don’t photograph them like this!
This might be OK for an Instagram post… but not a work sample!
I have no words.

But remember, how you send your work samples is JUST as important as sending the work samples!  Why?  Because if I have to spend time individually saving imbedded images in an e-mail, I will probably just delete it.  If I have to look at sixteen e-mails with a single image in them I will probably just delete them.

I mean come on!!!  What is this?
Wow look how clean and Professional that is!

Don’t have Adobe Acrobat Pro?  Don’t have a digital portfolio ready to go?  Use free online PDF tools to create a quick portfolio from your high quality work sample images!  Try SodaPDF.

Want more guidance in creating a killer resume and portfolio?  Check out these other sources:

Young Architect Guide: 7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Online Portfolio
Life of An Architect: Architectural Portfolios
The Two Page Architecture Portfolio
The Architects Guide
The Architects Guide Podcast with EntreArchitect


And remember to check out our previous post 10 Tips for Interviewing with a Small Architecture Firm.