“With 400 architecture colleges which have an approximate intake of 60 students, we produce around 24,000 graduates per year. This is only 20% of the national requirement” -The Times of India.
So you just graduated from architecture school, learning all you could about Frank Lloyd Wright, Antoni Gaudi, Frank Gehry and every other starchitect there have been in the last few centuries. But when it comes to practice, you still have little to no idea how architecture genuinely fits in the construction industry and are worried that the lack of practical knowledge will severely restrict your application process.
That is perfectly fine, as everyone, including the recruiters and architects, know that 5 years in architecture school does not actually teach you anything in the practical sense.
Those five years are dedicated to expanding your theoretical understanding and giving you enough room to encourage a creative environment. But if you try to convince anyone otherwise, they most probably will not believe you. So a fresh graduate’s biggest strength might be their honesty about how little they know but would want to take up a position that would teach them more. There are often contrasting experiences regarding the job-hunting that a fresher undertakes. Some people who apply to 10 studios get interview invites from five and job offers from three; and some, on the other hand, do not get a single call even after 100 applications. So it is crucial to know that if 100 job applications do not land you one job, then 101 applications are often necessary.
Becoming a Professional
One of the first aspects that a graduate needs to address is how to turn into a professional. What will urge the industry to take them seriously? And how to get the attention of the architecture studios that everyone wants to work for? It is most often the little things that matter the most. Like getting a professional-looking e-mail ID, or making yourself available by networking handsomely, and even some hands-on questionnaires to ask during the interviews (since all interviews, like most conversations, are always two-sided). The difference that these small matters make is often the decisive factor in getting hired or turned down.
Avoiding the Clichés
With over 24,000 architects graduating each year in India, there are just as many clichés in the pool of applicants. The only way to stand out in this herd is to avoid the most well-known clichés that we are all aware of. However, just avoiding them won’t matter much unless you go a step forward and try unconventional methods like- experimenting with mediums to produce portfolios in, say, a form of a short video or a graphical illustration, to mention a few. Or even try out new skills that will help progress your portfolio of works, like- photography, graphic designing etc. The possibilities are potentially limitless. Though there will always be vacancies in the numerous architecture offices across the country, there are, though, only a few sought after studios that will do any good to promote your career. Just as they have made their way and stood out in the industry, you too will have to resonate the same.
In the current time and age, when everyone is learning anything they can, there could not be a better time to grow your skillset. Though the number of graduates each year does not even remotely cut the required number in the infrastructure industry, getting a job is still difficult. The only way to make your place indisputable in this or any industry for that matter is to keep expanding your mind and learning new soft as well as hard skills. Since an architect would require a hands-on approach towards any software, design typology or any number of tasks, a candidate with a varied skill set is much more attractive than one with just academic achievements. The importance of a varied skill set can hardly be overstated, and no better time to learn with great ease and effectiveness than now with an almost unlimited pool of online courses.
‘HOPE’: the four-letter word
Architecture schools are often criticized for being unrealistic in their academic undertakings rather than being comprehensive about the world outside the campus. This often results in young graduates being exploited instead of being given the promised land. The entire job hunting process, from designing portfolios to making resumes can be grueling, to say the least, and is more often humiliating for the most part; rejection is as intrinsic a part of the process as any other. But the only thing that separates a successful candidate from the unsuccessful one is the resilience and determination to get through to the other side and the quickest. For that, you must know your place, what you are aiming for, and where do you see yourself a few years down the road. And all this time, you are constantly upgrading yourself as well.
It is important to note that there isn’t any universal equation that will work for everyone alike. There are just as many ways to go around the job-application process as there are candidates. But there will always be a set of guidelines that shall make the entire process streamlined and under control. It all falls down upon the individual at last, and how well they know themselves, to focus on their strengths and weaknesses alike. But you know you’re moving in the right direction if you admit that there is a lot to learn, and the journey is just beginning.
- Steps Yard. (2020). How to Be Professional and Get Ahead in Your Career. [online] Available at: https://stepsyard.com/how-to-be-a-professional/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2022].
- A-Z Quotes. (n.d.). William Safire Quote. [online] Available at: https://www.azquotes.com/quote/256711 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2022].
- www.grow.com. (n.d.). Grow Visualizations get you to insights. Fast. | Grow.com. [online] Available at: https://www.grow.com/product/grow-visualizations [Accessed 5 Mar. 2022].
- Learn Pro Photography. (2011). Positive and Negative Space. [online] Available at: https://learnprophotography.com/positive-and-negative-space/.