In the last entry, we discussed the Architecture Career Fair and how to make the most of these events connecting you to the profession. Now, over the next many weeks, we will outline the process of securing a position within the profession – be it only for the summer or for after graduation.
Amazingly, it is approaching the end of February which means summer is only a few months away. Many architecture students are NOT yet thinking about the summer because of the amount of work that still needs to be done for the semester; most are focused on spring break. But, now is the time to start the process of A.R.C.H.I.T.E.C.T.
By applying the skills you learn as an architecture student to gaining experience, you will be able to design your own career rather than just letting it happen. Be creative in organizing your search for prospective employers. While not guaranteed, the following ideas, spelling the word ARCHITECT, will assist you in gaining experience.
Over the next number of weeks, we will discuss each of the below listed steps as they relate to the Career Search.
The first step in the pursuit of your career involves assessing yourself. Assess what aspect of architecture inspire you: programming, design, interior architecture, construction management, etc. What do you want to do in an architecture firm? What are you able to offer a prospective employer? Ask yourself, “Why should this firm hire me?” Constantly evaluate your interests, abilities, and values and how they match those of your current or a prospective employer.
But how do you perform assessment?
Many architecture students or college students in general wrongly think that the process begins with the creation of a resume. It does not.
How do you answer the questions in the previous paragraph? First, ask questions of your faculty and fellow classmates; in particular, ask upperclass or graduate students who have previously worked in a firm. Find out from them how they approach the process of learning about a firm and in what aspects of a firm they were interested. Of course, an additional approach is to review firms on the internet (see next week: Research).
A great source to learn more about an architecture firm is the AIA Handbook of Professional Practice or the Student Edition of the same publication. Given the expense of these resources, you may wish to access them from your library.
What can you offer a firm? Remember, an employee – employer relationship is a give / take relationship. In most instances, an employer is providing you a salary and benefits in exchange for your skills. Thus, what are you bringing to the relationship? An employer may be hiring you for potential, but they are also hiring for other aspects of you. How will you fit in with the existing team? How will you contribute to the firm beyond architectural skills?
Performing an assessment of who you are and what you are seeking will help you find a better fit with an architecture not just now (summer or after graduation), but for the remainder of your career.