Last week, we continued the process of A.R.C.H.I.T.E.C.T. – the process of gaining experience as a student or soon-to-be architectural graduate. Below is the PROCESS
Connections – 031629
Connections are crucial to success. Regardless of the discipline, over 60 percent of all positions are obtained through networking. Consider adding no less than ten names to your network monthly. Be sure to attend local AIA meetings where you will meet architects in area firms. Listen. Learn. Talk. Remember, every conversation is a possible lead. The more ears and eyes you have looking out for the positions you want, the more likely it is that options will materialize.
The most effective method of learning of opportunities is networking, but most people, especially students, do not know what this is. Simply put, networking is informing people around you of your intent to gain experience and asking if they know of leads for you. In a school setting, you may network with classmates, professors, and staff. You may also approach guest lecturers or architects on your reviews. Ask if they hire students for the summer or for part-time positions. They may not be immediately responsive, so politely ask for a business card so you can follow up.
Newer sources available online to make connections include social media web sites Facebook (facebook.com) and Linkedin (linkedin.com). First, subscribe to these social media websites, but use them in strictly a professional business manner. Once you have added your profile, you can search for individuals who have a connection to someone you are searching. With LinkedIn, you can search on industry, school attended, or company to connect with future contacts.
Your connections can be for a lifetime. Someone you meet while as a student may become a colleague in a future position. I am still connected with an architect whom I met during an AIA Convention through a joint colleague. A few years later, I inquired if they would be willing to be profiled for Becoming an Architect – a different use of a connection.
From my experience, I would suggest that “networking / connections” is ONE of the most important strategies in a career search.