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Finding my first job

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

 

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Sep '11 - Jan '13

 
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    Online Presence

    Brian Henry Oct 18 '11 2

    I've been seeing a lot of recommendations recently about having some sort of online presence when you go job hunting. It ranges from simply creating a LinkedIn profile to having a complete website at www.your-name-here.com. Given that there are so many ways to locate, contact, and put yourself out there for potential employers, I wonder if there is any sort of general standard or expectation regarding an online presence for today's job seekers. I think there is a benefit, but it is going to depend on your circumstances and your level of activity in the job-search-o-sphere.

    The Casual Seeker: You are someone who most likely has employment but is looking for something better. You are content to stay where you are, but you might prefer a change of pace. I'd recommend getting involved in social sites where you can be heard. The point isn't to be actively begging for a job but rather to get your face and name out there and make some connections with people who might be willing to hire you in the future. Participate in online discussion boards and forums, maybe even write a blog. Work on updating your portfolio and resume, you want to be ready so when the time comes for you to take on a more active job search you'll be ready and thanks to your casual participation you'll be a household name ... or at least a recognizable one.

    The Active Seeker: You are someone who I see as the next step up from The Casual Seeker. You are seeking a better work environment, better pay grade, more responsibility, change of scenery, etc. In addition to being active participants online, you are actively looking for and applying to job postings. You are contacting your connections on social media sites looking for referrals and information about unpublished openings. Create a website to post your resume, portfolio, design philosophy etc. Make the www.your-name-here.com easy to remember so potential employers don't have to reference your resume, or business card in order to type it in their browser of choice.

    The Starving Graduate: Your time is precious and your resources are few. You find that online job postings are useless as everyone is looking for experienced professionals. You've moved back in with your parents and spend most of your time on facebook commenting on your fellow graduates' walls who just landed your dream job ... which at this point is any job. Get it together! You just graduated with a degree that trained you at critical analysis and creative problem solving. Because the profile of The Starving Graduate is autobiographical and intentionally hyperbolic, I don't have any advice for you other than that. Even if I did, I may just keep it to myself because if there is just one opening for an intern architect out there, I hope you're still on facebook when I post about my new job.

    So that last line is obviously given tongue-in-cheek, but it does occur to me that for the most part, we recent graduates still largely rely on sending out unsolicited portfolios and cold calling. I still think an online presence will be helpful regardless; all of the benefits for the casual and active seeker can be appropriate for the recent graduate. Yet even then, it seems that the online is only secondary to a handshake and a cover letter/resume/teaser portfolio/business card. And most likely looking up someone's online portfolio is only an added step that few employers are going to take.

    So with that, I acknowledge that my view is biased, most likely naive, and open for reinterpretation. Any of you fellow -nectors have a different opinion or experience?

     

     
    • 2 Comments

    • Brian HenryBrian Henry
      Oct 18, 11 2:43 am

      btw, the 'your-name-here-dot-com' was meant to be purely illustrative and not link to "Roulette Sniper, Version 2.0"

      If anyone knows how to break the link given the blog interface I'll be glad to hear.

      Stephanie
      Oct 25, 11 5:46 am

      I'd revise this.

      The Starving Graduate: Your time is precious and your resources are few. You find that online job postings are useless as everyone is looking for experienced professionals and 250 other people of questionable design capability have already sent in their badly misspelled and featureless applications, wearing the potential employer out. You've moved back in with your parents and spend most of your time working and reworking your portfolio, cover letters, and resume; learning programs that are in demand by the firms of your choosing and attempting to learn German to better you possibilities of landing work in your dream city: Berlin. Get it together! You just graduated with a degree that trained you at critical analysis and creative problem solving, which actually turns out to be a disadvantage: architecture firms are a close breed who hire based on your ability to do exactly as they bid you rather than any critical analysis and creative problem solving skills you may have. Because the profile of The Starving Graduate is autobiographical and intentionally hyperbolic, I don't have any advice for you other than that. Even if I did, I may just keep it to myself because I have been eating dry pasta for 3 weeks to save enough money to start paying back my student loans and can't afford for anyone else to be successful in my place.

      Oh well. This is the most adventurous and exciting time of our lives, right? The possibilities and potentials are endless? 

      The experiences I've heard are pretty disheartening. Two recent grads I know who landed work ended up being let go because they had 'too many new ideas' and there was high in-office competition as to who could work the latest each and every day for the least amount of money. Grads get hired on 'freelance' contracts that essentially free the firm from any financial obligations like making unemployment benefit contributions, health care contributions, pension contributions.... And funnily enough, also enables them to fire someone whenever they like. Don't like it? There are 200 other people fighting to get your shitty freelance position.

      We don't have construction documents, building experience, or project management experience... but that doesn't mean we're worthless and incompetent. Most grads I know are full of new ideas about visualizations, are eager to learn new programs and find out as much as they can about the construction process, and would like nothing more than an opportunity to prove it. 

      Employers treat us like a liability and get frustrated that we don't know how to do things 'their' way. If they work with Vectorworks and you've worked with AutoCAD, they write you off. But one person can't know everything all at once.. and the ability to use one CAD program sort of precludes the concept that you could probably use other CAD programs too...

      Graduated and hungry, but hopeful...

      Stephanie

      PS: My online presence: www.archsynth.com

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