You are probably reading this article, because you are looking for your first architecture job. Maybe you are not sure, if you are doing it right. Or maybe you don’t know where to look for job offers. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. With these 6 tips and tricks you are going to nail it and have many responses to your submissions.
Let’s begin with what you should have ready before you start looking at job offers. CV or Curriculum Vitae is essentially an overview of your work life. It is typically a singular page where you put your educational and work experiences. As you are looking for your first job, you don’t have work experience. However this doesn’t mean your CV should be empty. Don’t be afraid to brag about a workshop you’ve taken part in, or a competition you submitted your entry to! Remember that at this stage of your career any additional activity you take can be vital as it shows your hard-work, initiative and team working abilities.
Additionally in CV you put your skills. Write about software you use and know. Remember to also highlight other skills, that may interest your future employer – like knowledge of ordinances for a specific location, languages etc.
It is important to know that your CV should be legible and clear. If you took part in many workshops and competitions, try to highlight the most important ones. Maybe it would be better to write down only about the best achievements, than to lose them amongst smaller ones.
Some studios may also require a cover letter – which often consists of a few sentences about you and why you want to work for said firm. It is a good idea to prepare a few arguments beforehand – an interesting and personal cover letter may add a few extra points to your audition.
Together with CV you should prepare your portfolio, where you showcase your best projects. Before you start doing a portfolio of your own, check the internet for those done by other people and get inspiration from that. There are countless possibilities of how a portfolio can look like! Be creative – an original portfolio has better chances to interest a future employer.
What is vital to remember is that an employer is going to look through many portfolios. This means that they won’t want to look at one portfolio for too long – better to condense your portfolio than to create a book with 100 pages. This is why you need to choose your best work and from that choose the most vital drawings showcasing the idea behind the design. If you took part in a competition – consider adding that to your portfolio. Not only does it show that you did some extra work, but it also is a huge advantage, if you actually won said competition.
Sometimes a good idea is to prepare more projects than you would add to a portfolio – especially if they show different aspects of your work. From that you can build various portfolios. After all you would often send different designs to studios that deal in interior design than to those doing multifamily buildings.
Don’t forget that you know your projects, but a person that is going to look through your portfolio won’t. Consider adding a few sentences of description to each project. But remember to keep it brief!
Last thing to have in mind is that most of the studios would want a small file in their mail, so remember to compress your PDF before sending it in.
- GET NOTICED ONLINE
Another good thing to do, even before looking for work, is building your online presence. Are you doing interesting visualisations? Think about creating an Instagram page. You’ve won a couple of competitions? How about creating an online portfolio showcasing your work? You can create your own webpage or create a portfolio online on Behance. Sometimes online presence can get you a job. Thanks to that an employer interested in your previous work can find you easily and propose you an internship or even a job!
Another great way is to be active on various forums on Facebook and architectural webpages. Discussing architecture or showing your work to a bigger number of people can not only broaden your horizons, but also can help you get to know more architects. And who knows? Maybe one of those people will be your future employer?
- FINDING THE JOB NOTICE PERFECT FOR YOU
With CV and portfolio ready to go, it is time to look for some job offers. First thing to do is to check out your local architectural studios. Check their websites and find out if they are hiring. If you can’t find the info, you can ask them via e-mail. If you don’t mind changing your location, check out offices that are located in other destinations. One great tip to have in mind, is to find offices via google maps. There may be plenty of small studios, which you don’t know of, that may be looking for an employee! Other than that, there are sites that specialize in being job boards – remember to frequently check them!
If you find a notice that looks interesting to you and have a question for the employer regarding the notice – try finding the answer first on your own. It may probably be in there already. It is important to read the offer thoroughly, employers may as well find your question out of place and disregard your whole audition because of that.
Last but not least – remember that the offer may not be for you. Maybe the office looks for someone that needs to know how to use a program you don’t. Or maybe they need someone with experience. Of course it is good to try and send your CV regardless, however you may not get an answer, if you don’t fulfill the requirements. Try looking for a studio that can work with your skillset and don’t give up!
When you get an invitation to an interview – congratulations! It means that someone found your entry interesting and wants you on your team. Interviews are important, because they verify information you put in your CV. It is for the employer to get to know you and to talk about specific conditions of working like salary or length of work day. Sometimes you get to do a simple task in a software you stated you knew. Remember to answer the questions honestly and not to stress out too much. If you got an invitation to an interview, it means they want to hire you!
The interview however is also for YOU. You also get to verify the employer – if you would want to work for them. You get to know how the actual work looks like. You get to know your scope of duties and verify it with the notice. Remember that you also must be happy with terms! So don’t be afraid to ask questions. This also shows your initiative and actual interest in work.
- START EARLY
It is often a good idea to start looking for jobs before finishing your university. Starting your career by doing internships is a great way not only to learn, but also to expand your CV. While on internships you will try out different things and expand your skill set. You actually do work and get experience. You can find out, if you want to do design multifamily housing or maybe become an interior designer. After all the best time to try things out is right now, when you are not shaped in any particular direction yet. Often universities help students find internships, even internationally, so find out if your university takes part in some sort of exchange program!
We hope that these tips are going to help you find your first architectural job! Would you add any other trick to our list? Please comment below your experiences and tips. We would love to hear about your first job hunts!