I have again begun the difficult task of seeking new employment after recently finishing working for an architectural practice this year. I have done extensive research and attended several graduate workshops to learn about how to best market myself.
Here are a few tips I picked up:
1. Before applying to a firm, make sure you know what employers are looking for and understand how the company recruits. After this initial research you will be able to see what is expected of an applicant and take a few steps to improve your chances. (Note: There are many types of architectural practices in which firms vary eg. commercial, residential etc).
2. Unfortunately in this struggle to find a placement or graduate job it is best if you are flexible. Go where the work is! 84% of businesses in London employ graduates’ so heading for big cities can be a good choice. Although, remember property and rent can be expensive, so too can travel costs if you decide to commute.
3. Employers exceptions are high! To enhance a CV look for opportunities in: internships, work experience, volunteering and knowledge transfer partnerships. There are a few websites you could try for architectural volunteering: http://architectureforhumanity.org/
4. USPs (unique selling points) are a good way to make you stand out from others. Try to find something that is desirable to the employer that other applicants might not have thought about.
– Extra curricular activity
– Voluntary work
Scary fact: ‘Every year 300,000 students in the UK alone graduate with a degree’.
5. Use words that have been written in the advertisers ‘job description’. Some employers have been known to search for key words in a CV or cover letter to decide if they want to read it in full. This is a way to save time when reviewing hundreds of applications.
6. Customise every cover letter!!! It is extremely important you tailor each letter to the firm specifically. General letters will not be interesting enough to the employer. This does take a lot of time especially if you are applying to multiple jobs however, it will improve your chances of being recognised considerably.
7. It has been said up to ‘80% of jobs are never advertised’. Ask around as many people as possible and try to network as often as you can. This may open up new windows of opportunity to make contacts in your field. Unfortunately, quite often it is not what you know but who you know.
People you could contact:
– Previous employers
– Voluntary workers
I hope this article will be somewhat helpful to those who are currently searching for work placements. Do not feel defeated if this process is taking a long time, it is important to remain positive and focused. To fill in the spare time see my blog post titled ‘My top 10 ways to stay involved in the profession of architecture’ published on the 9/15/2014.
I wish you all the best of luck!!
(Post in Progress)