Finding my first job

Brian Henry (M.Arch, U of Idaho, 2011)



Sep '11 - Jan '13

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    Job Search Strategery

    Brian Henry Feb 16 '12 7


    With the design-build project that I’ve been working on coming to a close and my portfolio off to the printer for a test print I thought I’d write about something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now, job search strategery. As a disclaimer I’ll say that I have no idea how well this works, or doesn’t work. This is just my take on the job search strategies I’ve run across on firm websites, blog posts, and archinect forums.* I’ll explain myself briefly, but feel free to leave a comment or ask a question if you'd like clarification. Take note that this isn't everything in my strategy; I've got to keep at least one ace up my sleeve.

    First of all, I haven’t got much to rely on in the way of networking so most of the time when I walk into a firm’s offices it will be their first impression of me. It should also be noted that I’m looking for work in a local economy that doesn’t support many architecture firms so I won’t get many chances to make good first impressions before I run out of firms to impress. So with that in mind my strategy comes down to three important parts.

    • The Teaser. As the name implies, the goal of this to have something to give to potential employers in order to tease them into contacting me for more information and/or an interview. Essentially, this is a portfolio of my work that is meant to give someone a taste of my work. It will be small, 8 pages (2 sheets folded), and will include work samples, an abbreviated or modified version of resume/CV, and a cover letter. It will be easily customized to address the person I’ll be giving it to, and consequently will be printed and bound by myself. Essentially, the teaser is an enhanced version of a business card in the way that it says, “This is who I am. If you like what you see, call me.” The key here is to actually hand this to somebody who cares or has control over hiring.
    • The Portfolio. This is 32 pages of my blood, sweat, and tears. It will be professionally printed and bound, and it will most likely stay the same from one firm to the next. I would bring this to an interview in order to show more of my work and answer questions about my skills, abilities, and design process.
    • The Website. This is obviously the online source of more information. The teaser and portfolio link to this website and the website links to where you can find out information about me (twitter, LinkedIn, archinect, portfolio, …). I don’t know just how effective this will be as most of the local firms I’m looking at have very little online presence themselves. This could be because the local market doesn’t demand it, or because no one in the office knows what the internet is. Monitoring website traffic will tell me more as time goes on. Right now I don’t think this will be anything fancy, just a hub where you can go to different sites for information … for example check out or

    Additionally, I have other materials to bring to an interview. Perhaps the most important is a half-sized set of construction documents I did for a design-“build” studio (build is in quotations because the project never got enough funding). I say this is perhaps the most important because while I’d like to think that I will be hired because of my jaw-dropping portfolio, the truth is a potential employer will probably care more to see that I can draw a legible detail in AutoCAD. 

    Anyway, like I stated at the beginning, I have no idea of the effectiveness of this strategy but I think it's important to have some sort of plan going out there. Expect at least one follow-up post on how the strategy works.

    *More information


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About this Blog

Commentary on looking for work, portfolio and resume design, networking, social media and the job search, interviews, dealing with rejection and the joy of landing a job.

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