Trying to find a job right after there are hundreds graduating alongwith you. Whether it is in a field of expertise or you are switching lanes into foreign turf- fret not. There is a perfect job out there for each of us and here are some tips and tricks of the trade to help you nab ‘The One’
Things to keep in mind BEFORE you start applying for jobs
Revamp your Portfolio and Resume
Rework your projects and their visualization to cater to the kind of firms you would like to work with. Recruiters receive a truckload of applications (especially when they have announced an opening) and in order to be selected, you must make your work stand out.
Read up and understand everything you can about the firms you are about to apply to. This will come in handy later when you write cover letters. (Personalized, yes) This is even more important if you’re in between jobs, and thinking of switching to a different field of work. Take some time, and learn new skills that might come in handy for the jobs you’re applying. Also decide where you want to send in online applications, and where you would like to either send an application by post or submit it in person.
NetWORK as much as you can
Networking and making connections with people working in the field you’re interested in is always beneficial. Talk to current employees of the offices you’re interested in, to know the current projects, their challenges and their strongholds. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, most professionals are more than happy to guide you.
Lay equal emphasis on your soft skills
Interpersonal skills, time management and efficiency at multi-tasking are some soft skills that are just as important as your core design skills. If you have balanced multiple projects or worked two jobs to support yourself, highlight it in your resume.
Present your story as one of experience and motivation
If you took an unusually long break between two jobs, or between school and your first job, make sure you have a good reason for it. Let your story be one of invaluable experience, and make it one that represents your motivation behind looking for better opportunities.
Follow these tips WHILE you apply for jobs:
Tailor your resume and cover letters
Use the homework you did before and write individually motivated cover letters based on the office’s core work ethics. Highlight how you fulfil the criteria they have for the employees they hire, and how you can be the right fit in their team. This is also where you can use the information you get from networking from the firm’s current staff.
Know when to apply
The best time to apply for a new job is about 3-4 months before you need to start. This gives you ample time to make arrangements, should you need to move cities. When you start the process of sending emails/mails, make sure it reaches the recipient at a time when they aren’t too busy (mid-morning, mid-week) which will increase your chances of getting noticed.
Don’t be too picky
At the beginning of your career don’t restrict yourself when you’re looking for jobs. It might not be exactly what you want to do, but if the description is close to what you are good at, take it. There is always scope for broadening your horizons later.
Apply with a recommendation
There is no stigma in applying with a recommendation from a senior/professor. Not only does it increase your chances of getting selected, but it also gives an initial impression of resourcefulness and personal motivation. It will also save the company the tedious task of introductory interviews.
Don’t look for instant remuneration
Consider working free/for a small stipend for the first few months, and then ask for better pay. This probationary period is the norm for most firms who hire fresher graduates as of now.
Here are some thoughts we have all had, and things we have all heard in various discussions. They might seem unimportant, but they actually factor in a great deal when it comes to a job search in the current scenarios.
“No experience means no job”
One of the biggest lies that demotivate young job seekers is that there is no future without experience. What they don’t understand, that a job is NOT the only way to gain experience. You could consider taking up a part-time job, a personal project or an online/offline certificate course for a skill that might benefit your resume later.
“Volunteering is a waste of time/a dead end”
Architects and their skills are vital to the functioning of a society, and what better way can there be to make a difference with your knowledge than to volunteer for a non-profit? This will add up as a valuable experience, and give you an insight into the real-world issues that can benefit from your aid.
“It is okay to not have a social media presence”
Most recruiters these days first look up a candidate on social media for an insight into their life. Bearing that in mind, keep your profiles updated and use this as a chance to showcase your skills.
“Design skills are all you need to succeed”
Yes, they’re important. But no, they don’t matter in the practical world, not as much as problem-solving, execution and management abilities. Architecture is only about 10% design. The remaining 90% is all about how to realise that design in real life. Architecture schooling always lays more emphasis on design and less on its execution. So keep that in mind when you apply for real-world jobs.
“There is no scope for architects except for professional practice”
This is another very big myth in our field. There is a lot more to architecture than just building. A little bit of introspection can help you find your talents, and that can be put to better use. There is enormous scope in architectural and material research, media content production, journalism and photography for architects. Many architects are also foraging into video-game animation and production.
Bonus tips 2: EXPERTSPEAK
- Cal Newport in his book “So Good They Can’t Refuse” speaks of 2important things to keep in mind when you are choosing and applying for jobs:
- Make your skill your passion, and not the other way round. In the long run, it makes more sense to love what you do instead of the cliché “Do what you love”
- Become a craftsman, and collect all the skills you need to be at the top of your game. Look at work as a learning opportunity and focus on what you can bring to the table, instead of looking for satisfaction from work. Satisfaction leads to complacency and a false sense of security.
- Michael Riscica in his blog “Young Architect” states that one of the biggest mistakes young architects make is to “work too much or too little”. Professional experience can help you boost your schoolwork, so get some of that know-how without letting it affect your school grades. Without that, applying for jobs straight out of college will be a tougher task.
It might seem discouraging, demotivating and exhausting to apply for jobs and follow them up only to be unsuccessful time and again. But do keep in mind that all the effort does eventually pay off, so stick to your guns and don’t give up!
Ankita Sharma is an architect by training, and a writer by choice. Her love for books has given her a vivid imagination, and an eye for detail. A little impatient, a little lost, Ankita is trying to find her own voice amidst the world’s chaos.