How to get an Architecture Job during the Pandemic, a Step-by-Step Guide by a Recruitment Specialist

Navigating the Architectural Job Market During a Pandemic: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome, architectural professionals and enthusiasts! I’m Stephen Drew, founder of the Architecture Social and head of the architecture team at McDonald & Company. In these turbulent times, many of you have voiced concerns about the feasibility of securing a job amidst the ongoing pandemic. The uncertainty is palpable, prompting questions about whether to pause your job search. My answer is a resounding no. Opportunities are still out there, but success requires adapting your strategies to the current climate.

Stay the Course: Persistence is Key

The first step is to maintain your momentum. Yes, the job landscape has shifted, but jobs are still available. The approach to finding these opportunities, however, needs to be reimagined. Based on my experiences navigating the 2009 economic downturn and years of expertise in architectural recruitment, I’m here to share strategies to bolster your job search during these challenging times.

Get Organized: The Foundation of Your Search

Organization is paramount in any job search, more so now. To aid in this endeavor, I’ve created a free Airtable template to streamline your process, accessible via the link below. This template allows you to meticulously track job listings, applications, and follow-up actions—a critical practice for staying on top of your search and ensuring no opportunity slips through the cracks.

Embrace Volume: Casting a Wide Net

Reflecting on my job search during the 2009 recession, a key takeaway was the importance of volume. My approach involved sending out hundreds of applications, including to firms that weren’t actively advertising positions. This proactive strategy is even more relevant today. Aim to reach out to 800 to 1,000 firms if you’re a recent graduate or increase your target significantly if you’re more established in the field.

Utilize All Resources: Beyond Job Boards

While job boards like Dezeen Jobs are useful, they represent only a fraction of the opportunities available and are highly competitive. To uncover less visible roles:

  • Google Maps Exploration: Start local and expand outward, documenting every architectural firm you discover.
  • RIBA’s Directory: A treasure trove of potential employers, though it requires some digging.
  • Speculative Applications: Don’t wait for job postings. If a firm interests you, send them your CV and portfolio with a tailored message expressing your admiration for their work and your eagerness to contribute.

The Architecture Social Special: A New Approach

I advocate for what I call the “Architecture Social Special” method—sending a high volume of applications, following up diligently, and expanding your search to include firms you might not have previously considered. This method emphasizes persistence, organization, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone.

A Numbers Game: Embracing the Odds

Adopt a mindset that acknowledges the numbers game at play: 1,000 applications could lead to 10 interviews, which in turn might yield 1-2 job offers. This perspective helps manage expectations and reinforces the need for a broad, aggressive search strategy.

In Conclusion: You’ve Got This

The pandemic has undeniably altered the job search landscape, but with the right approach, securing an architectural position is still within reach. Incorporate these strategies, leverage the provided resources, and most importantly, remain persistent. Your next opportunity could be just one application away.

For more tips, resources, and community support, consider subscribing to stay updated with the latest content from the Architecture Social. Here’s to your success in these challenging times—you’ve got this!

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