Most architectural graduates have no idea of the competition that is out there. Every single year there are about 12,000 graduates in North America. Each and every one wants a job. Ok, not so good but not so bad right? There are enough firms to get everyone jobs? Maybe………
What you don't realize is that there are about 40,000 other people already waiting for jobs in the industry. These are architects with tons of work experience who got laid off, graduates from last year who (have done summer internships) are still looking for jobs and immigrant architects from other countries. All of them will beat you in every job application. If you have just graduated, you have got nothing on them. Trust me I have been in that position. Given this, it is paramount that you try to eliminate as much competition as possible.
Note: Online application is the worst strategy. There is literally no way to stand out or eliminate competition. Everybody in the entire country is applying for every single job out there. The chances of you succeeding is maybe 5%. Instead, I suggest the following:
1) Network with people who are already working in firms. This is very effective to get introductions to their employers, their colleagues and people they know in other firms. Go out to lunch with them, become their buddy and they will help you out. This will allow you to do this:
2) Meet potential employers for internal hiring. If you can meet the owners of architecture firms, you will eliminate 95% of the competition. I don't mean just say 'hello' at a party. I am talking about someone introducing you to them. Preferably, they have seen your portfolio and know that you are looking for a job. In most cases, when they need someone - they will just call you. There will be no job posting online. In that moment, you would have experienced the most epic job application strategy - "internal hiring".
3) Leverage/get a unique skill. A great example is being really good at a software (like Revit). Most graduates can only sort of use the software - if that. If you don't have a unique skill- develop it. Being good at drafting and computer software - and a portfolio reflecting that will help you eliminate 70% of competition. Most graduates have never done anything beyond 'presentation' plans and sections. You need to show them you can do real life architectural drawings with a industry standard software like Revit, AutoCad or Vectorworks (Rhino and Maya are not going to help you). If you can do this, you will stand out.
4) Leverage/get a unique experience. Good examples are real life work experience, internships, experience in the construction industry etc. If you don't have a unique experience- try to get one. Even if it is just for a week. It will make you stand out from the herd of applicants.
5) Walk in. As scary as that sounds, you can seriously just walk in to a few offices and walk away with a job offer in a day- if you have the following two things: 1) Graduated from school 2) Have a portfolio that shows you know how to do drafting using the software that they use in that office. It's that simple. You just eliminated 99% of the competition because nobody walks into an office. Many offices have are swamped with workload and they have been thinking about hiring a new person but haven't gotten around to putting up an advertisement. When you walk in, they will accept you just as long as you are good enough. This is a strategy that doesn't require you to do networking as long as you know you stuff. If you are skilled and have no networking contacts - use this method.
Original article published on FirstArchitectureJob.com
I write posts to help fresh architectural graduates secure jobs in architecture firms. Most graduates struggle because there is no manual on what to do after graduation and it can be an overwhelming experience. I write about how to prepare resumes & portfolios, networking, application strategies, firm selection, job interviews, softwares etc. Note: some articles are re-posted (with permission) from FirstArchitectureJob.com and I credit them at the bottom of those posts.