What You Need to Know to Get an Entry-Level Architect Job
There have been some frustrating jobseekers in the design and construction industry the last few years.
At Design & Construct, we see it all the time.
Jobseekers come to us looking for their dream job, but often their expectations are imbalanced. We always aim to place every jobseeker in the job of their dreams, but sometimes we feel the best position a jobseeker can be put in is a position that will lead them down the correct career path.
This requires an entry-level approach to the job search.
Many companies are hiring, but they're being particular about the people they bring in for nearly all positions. They are looking for people to fit certain roles and at many design and construction firms the positions that are available are entry-level.
If you're an architect and are looking for an entry-level position, we have a few things we recommend to others like you that are looking for the same positions.
We've found that these concepts help people find jobs that get them on the right path. These things are also what companies look for in candidates.
It's tough out there, but if you are a valuable employee you should have no problem finding the job of your dreams. There are lots of companies out there looking for great people.
Gain Experience In The Trenches
It's common in many industries, but it can be overlooked in the construction industry.
Architects might not think they need to get involved in the trenches, but it's actually a position that can give you the tools you need to fully understand your job.
Working on a construction crew hammering nails (obviously just a one of many skills you need) shows potential employers that you love the design and construction business. It also shows employers that you're willing to go to the most basic level to learn all about your craft.
Often, the leaders at design and construction companies spent time in the trenches. Some might still spend time doing the hard labor just so they can understand everything that goes on in their company.
It's always a good idea to model your career path after the leaders in a company.
Working in an entry-level construction job while still growing your architecture portfolio will give you experience that others seeking the same position won't have.
Find Your Unique Style, But Show Flexibility
Portfolios are great to have. You can show your work and your unique style.
Some firms are looking for specific styles in construction and design. They want to see that you can design modern structures or maybe they want to see that you can work with historical buildings that need updating, but need to maintain the integrity of the original concept.
It's good to find the style you enjoy the most. You can start by using other designs as inspiration and the working to create your own work. This will show employers that you have the drive to take what is here now and improve upon those designs.
Innovation in the simplest form is taking something that already exists and making it better. It's really difficult to make something from scratch. So you're going to have to show that you can build your own style of design by taking inspiration from others.
In addition to being unique, employers are also looking for people that can adapt to certain situations. You want to have your own unique style, but you also want to show that if a project comes up that isn't quite in your realm of comfort level that you can complete the project.
This trait is not as common as you might think. Being able to adapt to situations and being comfortable when others are uncomfortable makes you very appealing to employers.
Bring A Unique Aspect To Your Education and Experience
If you're a student or someone that has been in the architecture industry you likely have a history that is different than other candidates.
But for some reason candidates always seem to want to make their portfolios and resumes look like those of everyone else.
Employers want to see that you have something different to offer the firm.
This could mean taking a class in college that has nothing to do with architecture and design. It could be a creative writing class or a speaking class. Maybe you have a knack for languages and you have learned how to speak other languages.
These little differences can make a big difference on an application especially for entry-level work.
If you and the other candidates all have great portfolios, but you have the ability to speak a different language you'll stand out and will likely get hired.
Show things that are different and try to align your extra work outside of architecture in a valuable way for the firms you want to work for.
Show Willingness To Connect With People
We discuss culture all the time here on the site. It's so important to employers that you fit their culture.
The people in leadership positions know that it's the people that make a company successful. If there is an issue in the culture of the company it usually spells trouble in the future.
If you can show a willingness and ability to connect with people you'll make yourself appealing to employers. Firms want people that can work with others.
Connecting is part of human nature, but it's still a learned skill. By connecting with people you open up all kinds of opportunity for yourself. Working with others makes you and the other people better.
That's what companies are looking for and it can give you an edge in the entry-level job world.
Go to networking events. Participate in groups and clubs. It all shows that you can connect with people.
You Might Have To Take A Pay Cut
We work with a few jobseekers that have a pretty good job. They make a decent salary and they're pretty happy.
The issue, though, is the position is not in the architecture field. These people know they won't likely be as happy as they could be if they were in a job that was in the architecture industry.
For some this means taking a pay cut. You might have to give up the job you have now to get your foot in the door in the architecture industry.
This is a big blow for some people. You develop a certain lifestyle at your current job, but you're not happy. It's hard to think about taking a pay cut, but the long-term picture is that you'll be in an industry you love and eventually you'll be making the salary you want in your dream job.
But you have to start somewhere and that could require a difficult decision.
Participate In A Variety Of Projects
Employers like projects.
Projects show that candidates can complete things and succeed. Case studies are measurable ways employers can assess the value a candidate could potentially bring to their firm.
Those looking or entry-level positions should participate in any kind of project they can. Do all you can to be involved even if it means working for no compensation.
Get involved and make sure you document the process. Turn the experience into a case study so the employer can view the project from the start all the way through to completion.
Many industries are project-based today and the design and construction industries are no different.
Participate in projects and you'll be in a good position to land an entry-level architecture job.
Figure Out If You Can Change Locations
The world is more global than ever before.
We're finding that there is a lot of opportunity in the design and construction industry all over, but for many candidates this would require a change of locations.
For some, this would mean relocating to Australia, which we highly recommend. We're biased, but the country has a very strong design and construction industry.
If you're willing to relocate you could make yourself very valuable in the eyes of employers.
Put In Effort When There Is No Guarantee
Finally, a great trait to have today is the ability to show effort when there is no guarantee.
Employers won't always expect you to work for nothing. That never lasts long, but simply showing that you're willing to do so shows that you care about your work.
This is a valuable trait that provides comfort to the person hiring you. They know that if things did ever get challenging they could count on you.
Participate in charity events with the skills you have. Do favors for friends. Document what you did and tell the story in interviews.
It doesn't have to be in the architecture field. Simply show that you're willing to work for no guarantee. It will put you ahead of those that aren't willing to take this risk.
The workforce is an interesting place today.
Companies are hiring, but they are more particular about the people they bring in to their firms.
Entry-level jobs are available in the architecture industry. You just have to know what employers are looking for in the candidates so you can position yourself accordingly.
Use the tips in this article to help you. It's advice we give the jobseekers we work with every day and it works.
Companies are hiring, let us know your expectations: