How to Get the Architecture Job You’re Looking For
It’s that time of year where you’re probably wondering how to get the architecture job you’re looking for. If, like me, you’ve just graduated from architecture school, you’re starting to think about the next step in your career. Naturally, graduates start to look for an architecture job - although that doesn’t need to be the next thing you do. For most people who have been in the thick of it, developing projects and gaining new skills over three years, finding a job is often an afterthought. Want to watch the video instead? Head over to my YouTube channel.
Similarly, university doesn’t always prepare you in the best way for the process of job-seeking and entering the architecture world. The industry (atleast in the UK) is quite close-knit and hard to break into. Add on top, the fact that most courses don’t help you in finding a placement, it can be an even tougher journey. In this post, I wanted to break down the initial steps I think an a graduate should take after finishing uni and considering finding an architecture job.
First things first, get your stuff in order. By that, I mean your CV, portfolio and tie up any loose ends with your university work. Chances are you’ll also be preparing for the end of year show or exhibition and need to get some of your drawings together. I think the best way to do this is to spend a few hours to organise your files (and back up your work!). Get all the usable assets you want in one folder where the images are compressed but still high-quality.
This can also come in handy if you’re thinking about entering any competitions and using your work. At this point, putting together a portfolio is an exercise of drag and drop files into an InDesign document. If you’re really struggling, consider taking our :scale studio course this year where we show you exactly how to put your CV and portfolio together as well as learn how to build your online presence and communicate your value to employers.
The reason I say to get this done first, is because you might still be on a high after finishing your project and it can be tough to go from working pretty much all day to having nothing to do. This is a good in-between and means that you can start to evaluate your project and the good and bad bits.
The next point, and one that a lot of architecture students dismiss, is networking. Now, I don’t mean that old-fashioned idea of networking where you attend a boring event and it’s full of older people who you can’t really relate to. Instead, networking through social media can do wonders for finding an architecture job. To give you an idea, I received 4 responses from employers about an architecture position the day after I made a post on LinkedIn. That’s the golden goose. LinkedIn is the most underrated platform for architecture graduates. In the past, everyone would tell you to post stuff on an architecture account - which is great for getting discovered by peers but not so much by bigger practices whose eye you want to catch.
Spending the time to craft your LinkedIn profile and optimise it with keywords or skills can boost you up someone’s feed overnight. The main trick I’d say with LinkedIn is to get in people’s faces. You can do this by engaging with someone’s post, probably an associate or director or even hiring manager if you can find them and comment on their posts, ask questions and don’t be afraid to hit that DM button. Just make sure you’re being personal and not formal or generic. Posting on LinkedIn is also a great way to make new connections - you never know what connection could bring an opportunity so don’t close things off early on.
Obviously, the process of developing this online presence is part of a longer game and doesn’t always give you instant results. That’s why its best starting it whilst you’re still an architecture student and document your work. Another piece of advice I like to give students is to embrace the half-finished and ‘ugly’ work. This makes you a lot more relatable that those who attach a link to their portfolios or post amazing, high-quality renders that just look nice. You want your audience - and potential employer - to understand why you do what you do and what your creative process is like. Sketches, photographs and even ideas-in-progress are a great way to show this. I’ve found that the less formal you are on LinkedIn, the more people you invite to your profile.
Lastly, it’s good to keep in mind that you do need a good level of persverance and patience when it comes to finding an architecture job. Everyone’s journey is different and I know it can be quite off-putting seeing your peers moving on to new jobs whilst you’re in the same place. The thing is though, your time is coming, you just have to put in the effort each day. Finding a Part 1 job took me an entire year, but I was determined enough that I spent most of that year creating content, working on this blog and building my own personal brand - which has worked out for the better now. Finding an architecture job is a process. It could take a week or it could take a year. All you can do is increase your chances by putting yourself out there. Maybe use the time during the summer to take a course or learn a new skill and keep that self-development wheel running. But don’t be too hard on yourself if nothing seems to be working out. Patience is a virtue after all.
Setting yourself up for opportunities to come your way begins with a precise level of organisation and getting your stuff in order. Don’t waste time to put together your CV and portfolio as employers are already on the lookout for graduates. Next, you want to jump on the networking boat and put in effort a few times a week to get your name out there. Having a good level of credibility online will only help your chances. Do your research and figure out what you’re looking for in terms of work, but don’t close off your options and apply to everything! Lastly, remember to be patient. Good luck in your search!