Lately, I have been meeting with a number of upper level design (architecture and interior) students for academic advising; after our discussion on courses, I always ask the question about their plans for next summer – what their plans on are gaining career related experience? Perhaps, not surprising – very few have begun their search claiming they do not have time; it is only fall – summer is a long way off.
I reply by saying it is NEVER too early; I share that if they truly think they do not have the time now, they will definitely have time next spring. Thus, I suggest they take between 2-3 hours per week – a single hour or so twice a week to start the search.
Start with the TOOLS – resume, portfolio, interviewing and cover letter writing; in other words, work on your career search materials. With the dedicated time, updating your tools may take a few weeks. Just as important is developing your list of potential firms. Develop a list of firms in your desired location and research them by visiting their website. Take just 10-15 minutes to review their highlighted work, see the team, and learn their application process; use the resources listed below.
Also, start your networking; the most effective method of finding a position is NETWORKING. Connect with your family, friends, classmates, and anyone else to gain an edge. Share your story and request connections they might have with the discipline. For a minimal cost, you may consider obtaining business cards to share.
Once you have completed your tools, you can start the search by applying. Over the holiday break, visit firms to start the process to connecting. Once the spring semester begins, prioritize your firms and begin contacting the firms with your applications.
Start now and remember – the early bird gets the worm.
Architect Finder: http://architectfinder.aia.org
Architect Finder puts you in contact with some of the world’s most talented architects. In the end, at your fingertips, you will have access to over 20,000 architecture firms.
AIA Chapter Finder: https://www.aia.org/find-chapter