Due to perfectionist attitude of many architecture students, we have a tendency to get carried away on the details. This results in spending way too much time in one area and ending up not spending enough time in other areas. If you have been in an architectural studio, you know exactly what I am talking about.
When it comes to getting your first architecture job, it is critical that you focus on the things that are important. If you get the most important things done first, you will greatly increase your chances of securing a job after graduation. This is great skill to get outside of your own head and realize that some things need immediate attention.
Let me give you an example. Some people say “the design of the portfolio is very important”. OK, accepted and agreed – but only as a stand alone question. But is it really that important in the context of getting a job. Absolutely not. I can say this with 100% confidence. The content of your portfolio probably accounts for 90-95% of success in getting a job. Only 5-10% will be the design of your portfolio. Now I am not saying the design isn’t important. I am just saying it has it’s place. That is 5-10%. So you must be focusing 90% of your time building great content and then focus only 10% making the presentation right. As long as it is legible, clear and concise – it qualifies as a portfolio that can get you a job. It is going to be the content that matters.
So by seeing things for how important they really are, you can maximize where you spend your valuable time. Spend it doing things that will actually help you and not get carried away in ether of details, design and presentation.
Another big question is – How do I know what is important for getting my first architecture job? Where should I be focusing and what are some things that don’t matter at all? Good question. The answer will vary from person to person. It is up to you to find out how to bring out the best of you on your portfolio and resume. Try to answer some of these questions and you might just answer yourself:
Do I want to work for a commercial or residential architecture firm?
How can I research what type of architecture I want to go into?
How can I leverage my skills so I have a competitive edge over others?
Will I be a designer or a draftsman?
What software can I use and which firms are using the those softwares?
How can I learn a new skill or to use a new software easily and efficiently?
Can my theory based, student like portfolio actually good enough to get me a job?
Is my resume impressive enough? What is a good resume to architecture firms?
How do I eliminate competition?
How can I build a network and get introduced to potential employers?
How can I meet potential employers in person?
Are there enough employers in my city or do I need to move somewhere?
If I am lacking work experience, am I showing enough potential to the employer?
What are some offices I can visit and even meet the employers?
How do I follow up properly with someone I got introduced to?
How to I effectively network with friends, family, professors and at events
How do I present myself and my work to make the best impression
Should I have an online portfolio? If so, what kind?
How do I get my foot in the door?
What do I do to succeed in an interview?
How do I negotiate a good salary and benefits
How should I properly do online applications to get positive results?
A simple pen and paper exercise for answering these question will help you tremendously in determining what needs to be done. Now instead of doing everything at once, prioritize and work on things that are the most important.
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.