We offer a variety of assistance as you launch your career, including ways to build your professional network and refining the materials you use to apply for internships and permanent positions. The SARUP Resource Center offers several services including help in writing resumes and cover letters, and an appointment with Sharadha Natraj can get you started on the road to a successful search for an internship or job.

Resumes
  • Save resumes as pdfs. Do not send out Word documents.
  • Use easily recognizable file names that include your first and last names.
    Eg. Smith_Jane_Architectural_Intern_Resume
  • Include live links for Linkedin profile, personal websites, online articles, etc.
  • Every word counts: keep relevant and specific information.
  • Avoid commonly used phrases like “excellent work ethic”, “good communication skills” and “detail-oriented”.
  • Honesty is key.
  • A few design elements can be included. Formatting and layout (fonts, logos, page orientation) are better consistent with cover letter. Do not use a font that has all caps (eg. COPPERPLATE G O T H I C).
  • Get objective and educated feedback.
  • Proofread.
  • Make sure formatting, tabs, type sizes and spacing are consistent.
  • Do not include photographs of yourself.
  • Tailor your resume to the character of the firm. Don’t send wacky resumes unless you are certain the firm will appreciate the sensibility.
  • Every element should be there for a reason and well thought-out.
  • Save your resume in a file format that won’t get distorted by the recipient’s system.

Please contact Sharadha Natraj for help with your resume.

Sample resumes for job seekers with some relevant experience

Sample resumes for job seekers with no relevant experience

Cover Letters
  • Simplicity is key.
  • Personalize each letter.
  • Do not apologize or plead.
  • Don’t think in circles. State each idea once.
  • Email/pdf are acceptable formats.
  • The body of the email can be a cover letter.
  • Focus on what you bring to the firm, not what they can do for you.
  • The letter should not exceed a page.
  • Do not repeat your resume in your cover letter.

How to write cover letters for a position in architecture.

Portfolios
There are several books in the SARUP Resource Center that will help you with digital and paper portfolio layout and project selection.

We also house portfolios submitted by international architects for the Marcus Prize. These are available for review during the hours the Resource Center is open (Mon-Thurs: 9 am-6 pm/ Fri: 9 am – 4 pm).

The following links provide excellent advice on developing a strong and professional portfolio for architects:

Twelve Tips on Making an Architecture Portfolio
Visualizing architecture by Alex Holgrefe
How to Create the Perfect Architecture Portfolio
Creating a Sample Portfolio

Internships/Externships
Urban Planning students in Milwaukee take advantage of the many opportunities for internships in planning organizations. Several students each year find opportunities working for the City of Milwaukee, while many others work in the dozens of suburban planning departments, include county planning in the seven-county region and at the regional planning commission. Others receive their planning experience working for state agencies, especially the Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources. A number of planning consulting firms with local offices seek out our students as interns. Finally, students also intern in a wide range of non-profit organizations, including community development corporations, large neighborhood organizations, and issue-oriented non-profits related to housing, health, water quality, food access, and other issues.

Architecture firms in the Milwaukee and Chicago area seek out students during the annual Interview Day. In addition, students can avail of the opportunity to participate in the School’s externship program. We receive announcements for positions from the area and from alumni located throughout the country on an ongoing basis, and share these with students.

Permanent Positions
A good starting point for architecture students to explore permanent positions is Interview Day. This provides a method of establishing professional connections and meeting potential employers.

Positions in Architecture and Planning

Planning

Architecture

Email Etiquette
Use an email address that is professional and easily connected to your resume, eg. Firstname.lastname@gmail.com, not Itrashedtheneighborhood@gmail.com

  • UWM email addresses have a limited life after graduation. Remember to use an email address that will not bounce back because it becomes invalid.
  • Use an email address that you will check often.
  • Make sure that the subject line is clear and includes your name and intent, eg. Request for meeting : Jane Smith.
  • Emails for the purpose of job searches are business correspondence. Use the same rules for grammar, punctuation and usage as you would for a cover letter.
  • Keep it concise, with no repetition.
  • While writing emails, be careful not to ask questions that are easily found online. Research before you ask.
  • If you are including attachments, mention this in the email. It is often easy to overlook attachments if a person is rushed. Make sure you attach the file before sending.
  • Read and follow instructions for emails carefully, if any are specified by the prospective employer.
  • Email is not private! Imagine your email being read by everybody in the organization.
  • Avoid the use of inspirational and religious quotes in your email signature when you are engaged in a job search.
  • It is acceptable to write a cover letter in the body of the email. All guidelines for a professional cover letter will apply.
  • Pay close attention to the tone of your email. Keep it professional. Save drafts and read again for tone before you hit the send button.
  • Don’t use all caps or bold.
  • Avoid sending emails from your phone. Autocorrect is unpredictable, and tone is hard to control when sending emails in a rush. Take your time to think and write out a complete response.
  • Avoid using instant messaging abbreviations, excessive punctuation like question marks and exclamation points, and emojis.
  • Avoid using decorative backgrounds and colored text. Simple is best.
  • Leave the recipient’s address blank until you are ready to send the note. This will help you to avoid sending it before it is complete.
  • Do not use only email for urgent messages such as getting directions to an interview or to inform the person you are meeting that you will be late. Make a phone call in case the person does not read their email.
  • Respond to emails within 24 hours. If you need time to prepare materials being requested, it is good to respond and let the person know you will follow up soon.
Interviews
Take along a hard copy of resume and portfolio. Consider taking a printed sample portfolio to leave behind. Be comfortable with explaining your projects both on paper, and as they are shown on a screen.

  • Only take necessary materials.
  • Collect business cards of those you meet/interview with.
  • Take along pen and business pad.
  • Add reminders on top page, any questions you thought ahead of time, so you won’t forget it during the interview.
  • Carry folders, not book bags.
  • Do not carry in drinks.
  • Make sure your cell phone is off.
  • Be professional in demeanor, not cute.
  • Research firm and dress policies.
  • A tie is never wrong, provided you are comfortable in it.
  • Dress comfortably. Don’t try a new style or new shoes on interview day. Make sure clothes are not too tight or short.
  • Make sure shirts don’t crumple easily. Tuck in your shirt.
  • Lower heels are always right.
  • Focus on personal grooming.
  • Be polite to all staff.
  • Listen – think – respond.
  • Be yourself and be sincere.
  • Do not be overconfident.
  • Think of the positive…don’t apologize for lack of experience.
  • Use appropriate language. Even if the interviewer seems informal, use proper language and no profanities.
  • Let them lead the interview.
  • Don’t talk too fast.
  • Remember: the people interviewing are experienced, so treat them with respect.

Interview Questions

  • Why are you in this field?
  • How do you see yourself in our firm?
  • What are you looking for in a job/firm?
  • What is your biggest skill?
  • What are five things you want me to remember after this interview?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • What is important to you in a job?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Who in the profession do you follow and admire for their ability and why? (both local and
    international)
  • How do you distinguish yourself from others?
  • If you had to choose one project to define yourself and which would represent yourself the
    best, which one would it be?
  • What trends do you see in Milwaukee architecture/urban planning and what are your thoughts
    on it?
  • What is your best non-architectural skill that helps you in architecture?
  • Tell me about something you built with your own hands?
  • Describe a situation where you have made design tradeoff decisions?


Questions you should ask

  • What are the short-term expectations? What will I be working on?
  • What is the job environment/structure?
  • Does the organization provide support for professional development?
  • Does the organization provide support for pro bono work?
  • Make sure your questions are thoughtful and relevant.
  • Set a “hook”. Tie in a key, unique event or something you have done that makes a difference in your work.

Useful resources to prepare for questions
For current local trends in planning and design:

After the interview

  • Send thank you notes immediately; but not written from a phone…take the time to sit down and format a professional letter.
  • Send individual notes. Do not cc or bcc a group.
  • Clarify any open questions or doubts, or anything you feel you might not have answered properly.
  • Worst things to wear for a job interview
    Preparing for job interviews
    Interview questions and how to prepare
    The Perfect Job Interview in Eight Simple Steps
    Archinect: how to negotiate for the position you really want

    Networking Skills
    • Meeting people and establishing professional relationships is much the same as personal life. It takes time and effort to build a rapport and a connection that will last.
    • Networking skills need to be cultivated and practiced. Anyone can be a good networker! All you need is ONE connection to start with.
    • Do you have a professor or member of the staff you have a good relationship with? Ask them to put you in touch with professionals in the field.
    • Attend events, lectures, workshops, Lunch and Learns. The School conducts several of these over the course of the academic year, and AIA Milwaukee has an uptodate listing of events around town.
    • Introverted? Take a friend along. You will feel more comfortable, and have more confidence to introduce yourself to strangers.
    • If you have a conversation with someone and you think you would like to continue it, ask for their business card or email address. Follow up and re-introduce yourself, eg. “I met you at… and enjoyed our conversation. I wondered if it might be possible to get a tour of your firm?”
    • Follow up a personal meeting with a Linkedin invitation.
    • READ! There are several journals in the Resource Center that address design and practice issues. Learn about what is going on in the profession today, so you can form thoughtful questions to ask and have a professional conversation.
    Licensure
    Licensure in architecture is managed by the National Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) and includes both internship and examination components.

    Formerly referred to as IDP, students are encouraged to participate in the NCARB Architectural Experience Program (AXP) as part of the path to licensure. It is also possible to take the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) while you are still completing in the AXP program. ARE pass rates are collected here by date and institution.

    SARUP’s AXP advisor is Professor Brian Schermer.