It’s about this time of year, that graduates are looking for summer placements! or are looking for a permantly jobs. One of my students dropped me an email recently asking what’s the best method. My answer is not going to be short and sweet, rather long and complex, and it’s going to take several blogs, it’s not going to be easy is my real short answer, and is going to involve a complex set of arrangements from the traditional CV to lists, web sites and copies of all your current work, and several imaginative projects in a variety of formats.
But first lets look at the market, the most obvious is the architectural practice, or you might look at the alternative, which I wil discus in brief below but for now let’s just concentrate on the main route of Architecture.
Work is picking up, jobs or employment is out there and there are a load if not loads of practices looking for young gifted graduates. There names and address are all over the place, and there are lists abundant, from the RIBA, or your counties equivilant, practice book, to the CIAT practice list, to searching on the web, what ever route you choose, make a list, know who works there, their type and style of work, the operating and CAD system, and most importantly their past and current job list. Get to know who is involved, from the most senior to the bottom of the heap.
Put marks against them all, favouring the ones you like, or use your favourite CAD package, there is no rule here it’s up to you, who to desire, who to target and those you put lower on the list, it’s a ranking system at it’s basic.
Next is the CV, regardless of what you read, there is no getting away from it, you will need one, but what style and what to write is the real question, there are a million sites telling you there own right way, and just as many wanting to write one for you. You will also need some one to check it, for spelling, grammar, and to make sure you have not forgotten anything, like contact numbers, both mobile, home and you email address, you want to be found.
A portfolio for the interview is next, it needs to contain a collection of drawings, specific for the job your applying for, A3 is the optimum size, it’s easy to carry, and big enough to show detail and the larger elevation set. You will need a large collection to choose from, to suite each individual interview, they should be well printed on good paper, and be property titled.
You now need to define the position you will be looking for, be realistic, and don’t try applying for the wrong position, if your a graduate Technologist, don’t think you can apply for the Architects job, your not even in the same league. Think realistically about who your up against. Your a graduate Technologist with three years college experience, with perhaps some summer work, you need to look for a position to suite your skills. I’ll expand on this point later, again it’s not a simple subject.
Believe it or not you will need two totaly different web sites, the first is a place to add a lot of sample drawings, that you can’t take with you on interviews and as a place to expand your CV. It will need to compliment your CV and act as a gateway to you. It will be a place to place comments, thoughts on Architectural technology. You don’t need to pay loads for a bespoke site, a free wordpress.com site is ample, I’ll guide you through this, but you need to add your stamp and make it yours. The second web site will be for your photo collection, of details, architecture and almost anything to do with design that you think might help your cause. Take my advise, Flickr is the best and it’s free. Plus wordpress will activate and use the photos you store there. They will also be a means to being found. Don’t forget to mention your CPD activities, I list it in my CV, but use my web site to give more detail.
Finally the issue of job adverts, the web and agencies, staff positions, working for your self, and that means freelancing, forming a limited company and what that entails, plus the enevitable salary discussion, what are you worth. The opening letter or phone call, how will you approach your future employer.
I have not mentioned CIAT, and what this will do for your employment chances, belive me when I say it is very important, even if your a student or associate member, trying to complete your pops record application.
That’s it for now, the next issue of this will take on one aspect of the points raised above. But be clear, this is not a simple task it will take time and a lot of work, some realistic soul searching, and involve making a long hard look at the career you want, is it straight architecture !, or will you split like I did and go into manufacturing, or surveying, or perhaps insurance. You may find that your plans and career are controlled by events not currently apparent, like the next recession, or bank failour, marriage and the district possibility of children, this will involve a backup plan.
Today’s photo is of a 2CV, no other reason to use this photo other than I always wanted one. The placement is an experiment, I always use a photo, placed at the top, mostly on the right, but never in this place, let see !!.