Martin Andrews and Stephen Drew’s open discussion on how to get a job in Architecture

It’s Friday! Sit back, relax, open a cheeky beer and listen to me and Martin Andrews (Principal Lecturer, Academic Lead and Architect at the University of Portsmouth) openly discuss our thoughts and techniques on how to find and secure a job in the Architecture industry.



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Transcription (Raw Text)

Stephen Drew 0:00
Hello, everyone. So I’m Stephen Drew. And we’re joined here by Martin Andrews. And so Martin and I have been chatting over the last few days talking a little bit about how students get a job at the moment in the current market. So part one and part twos. And just for anyone that hasn’t met your senior online, Martin, would you like to maybe say one or two little bits about who you are and what you do?

Martin Andrews 0:27
Yep, sure. I’m a registered architect. I’m also a principal lecturer at the University of Portsmouth within the Portsmouth School of Architecture, and at the moment, I’m academic lead for admissions and recruitment. So my focus is very heavy towards students at undergraduate, postgraduate and also students who are sort of post 16. And can answer a lot of workshops and events with with school students and school pupils. And, yeah, I’ve been at the university for us, Portsmouth for a significantly long period of time now. So yeah, I’m looking forward to our chat today.

Stephen Drew 1:10
Oh, amazing. And so. So basically, you work in industry for a few years. And now you teach and you see the other side of the coin. So it’s a little bit like me, I worked in industry as well. And now I work in recruitment. So it’s definitely it’s interesting, seeing almost a few sides of the coin. And so walk is talking about how we, how we met was bisecting and going through what is the best way? Or what is the most appropriate way? Or how would you in this current situation as a part one or part two, go about getting the job, and everyone has a different opinion. And there’s, I don’t think there is a a step by step guide, per se, or what I’ve seen over the years is certain techniques, from stuff that I’ve done, personally, and stuff that I’ve seen students do, which gives a higher chance of getting the job. And that’s what I’m really interested in kind of fleshing out. So in almost given the advice that I never got, at the time, the do’s and don’ts and what works and what doesn’t. But what what do you notice at the moment that works for students who get a job, and maybe what you see are things that some people do that almost hinder the process of slowing down for them.

Martin Andrews 2:36
Okay, so interesting. So I come at this with a multitude of different angles and perspectives. Because when I worked in practice, I had part ones in parties sending me letters, these letters of application expressions of interest. When I ran my own practice, I got it as a as a practitioner is the person if, you know, I was in charge of who’s going to be sat with me in this office. Yeah, I now look at it from the perspective of, well, maybe academics wants to come and work within the courts with School of Architecture. So I see that, okay. But I also see our students in their second year of studies at undergraduate, hoping to go out into placement and preparing for job applications. And obviously, I see my part ones in my parties at the end of their undergrad and postgrad preparing as well. So I’ve been sort of exposed to this from from a multitude of different angles. And I think there’s a lot of anxiety out there always, especially if they’re, they’re part one, or the BA two level where they’ve never really done this, but for maybe the students who’ve gone out, and they’ve worked part time jobs, maybe in the retail sector, or food sector or something like that, and that’s a slightly different approach. So the thing that you can and you may back this up, there’s a difference between a CV for someone applying to an architectural practice or within the design industry. Yeah. And, and someone that’s applying for a job with an accountant or with a lawyer, considering biggest thing that we always tell our students is, look, you know, you’re in the visual industries, you’re in the creative industries, make sure that your CV responds to that. So the CV can’t just be a Word doc. No, not graphically presented. It has to be eyecatching. Now, you know, you can do that on a number of different levels. So you can have, you can have the word doc, which is just the same type of font through okay. You can have something that’s a bit more polished, simple type font, maybe a couple of images. We’ll talk about personal photographs and CV later.

Stephen Drew 5:00
Okay, all right, there’s

Martin Andrews 5:01
that. So that was really odd. I was

Stephen Drew 5:03
I was never on my CV and portfolio, I don’t think No, no one wants to see my, with my wealth beds, you know, it wouldn’t be wouldn’t do well.

Martin Andrews 5:11
So it’s an interesting talking point because it always gets raised, okay. And then you can go the fourth and use, we get some CVS that are amazing pieces of origami, you know, that are given to you on a sort of unfold. And that’s just this amazing thing. So you know, not, you don’t have to do that. And that takes a lot of time to do. But actually, you need to think the first one is think really, really carefully about your CV. Secondly, think very, very carefully about what is going into your portfolio, because you need a digital portfolio, you just do, whether it’s the thing that you print off, and you put in a portfolio case, and you walk into an interview, if you’re lucky enough to get a spot, or you walk in with your laptop, and you’re able to open it, or it’s something you send a prospective employer. That’s the best work that you’ve done. Recently. Now, you and I talked about file sizes, didn’t we getting into the detail of this? Right? Okay. So, Stephen, what should all CVS and portfolios be able to do when you click on them? Open

Stephen Drew 6:21
easily, you should be able to read them, you shouldn’t have any problems. And then I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Yeah. Because it’s actually I think you’ve unpacked it really well. And the catch is that we’re all different as designers. So there is no one way on a CV and portfolio. But you’re right compared to a traditional format, that the employer almost needs to get a sense of your design and your taste. But then also, you need to kind of, in my opinion, tick the practical boxes. So you as a practice manager, you would be using AutoCAD, and maybe you’ve got a planning submission. And actually, you want to see that someone can do that, as well as then from that have a little taste of the design. But where I find that really interesting is that I love that when we were chatting about. And I agree it’s brilliant having an origami portfolio, and I have somebody in my member in my studio, one of their one of the one of the girls who was amazing, bringing in this handmade handball brand portfolio book, I remember thinking, Oh, man, that I could never do that. What was interesting, though, is that I actually got a job before him. And it was purely because of the way I was going about the job search. And at the time, I think that she could only do a few versions of that portfolio, because she had to make a lot of them, where at the time, I sent out a clean CV with a cover and Latin, and a portfolio of six to seven pages, where I talked about what software I use when I showcase my work. And I sent it out to a lot of architecture practices. So we could argue that her portfolio was presented better, and was more beautiful, in terms of it was actually almost like an object of feature. If an architectural practice. Got it through the posts. It’s the kind of thing you would take home to your partner and enjoy. And it would it would be a feature of a QRP book. But I actually got more coverage out. I sent it out to more employers, and they had more exposure. Hmm.

Martin Andrews 8:39

I mean, that’s interesting. I mean, we’ve we’ve thinking about that idea about how do you gather together a body of creative work? Yeah. And send it to someone to pique their interest. So only this year, we’ve decided that we can record sketchbooks in a slightly different way. Okay, so sketchbooks are beautiful things, but they’re very difficult to replicate because you don’t really want to copy them there. Because there’s something about the texture of sketchbooks that are lovely. Yeah, so we’ve been going through this for a couple of years now. Last year, we got some guys to photograph the pages of the portfolio. But again, that becomes quite a weighty document, especially if you’re trying to send it to someone said, you know what we did this year, we filmed it, we filmed the portfolio as the sketchbook, someone turning over the pages really nicely. That compressed down to a really small file. And that student if they wanted to, you can now send it off to designers and practitioners to look at, look at their work and it is just a really nice way to do it. And because it’s a high quality film on a tripod and the camera is really good quality. Then actually the person that opens that small movie file He’s able to get a real feeling about the quality of that student. And so I think there are ways to do this in a clever way that at least gets your foot in the door. And I think that’s the important thing is to be memorable. for the right reasons.

Yeah. Okay.

So yeah, I mean, I think I think there’s ways he, okay, so just sort of responding to you, you said there was a fantastic student that produces wonderful woven, what I would probably do now is I would maybe put a small video together that shows this portfolio being gone through. And I would probably send that out as a package to employers. But if I was lucky enough to get a job, I would take that physical portfolio with Yes. And I would go through it. So I think, I think there’s that thing where you just have to think of it in a slightly different way. It was a real moment for me and my colleagues, when we realised that as long as we had someone that was careful turning over the pages of this thing, it will be all right. It all worked really well. So So I think, yeah, just think, in a slightly different way about how you present your own work. So yeah, I mean, I got a question for you.

Stephen Drew 11:12
Go on. I love him. around. you’re interviewing me now we all do it. Come on. You can see whatever your mind is fine. Okay.

Martin Andrews 11:22
All right. I have a tendency to, to start swearing spontaneously. So I try and stop that. Right. So there’s there’s always a debate doesn’t matter which cohort I’m working with in undergrad or postgrad? Okay. If you look at a lot of CVS that come from America, or the United States, there will always be, I think I, this is what I’ve seen from the research that I’ve done, which might be limited, but it’s definitely something that gets discussed a lot, you’ll find that the person who puts the CV or the portfolio together will include a picture of themselves. On the CV.

Stephen Drew 12:03
Yeah. Okay.

Martin Andrews 12:04
Now, staff that I’ve spoken to, or colleagues that I’ve spoken to are divided. Okay, some say? Absolutely not. You should not put your picture on a CV. Yeah, I have other colleagues who have done similar research to me and found that everyone else in the sector is doing it. So why shouldn’t you do it as a student applying to a job? And there’s lots of arguments around this, but I mean, from, you’re at the, you’re at the pointy end of this, yeah, you deal with this on a daily basis, it’s your job. What’s your view?

Stephen Drew 12:41
What do you think? It’s okay, I think generally, the work should always speak for itself. First and foremost, there is something about the human psychology, that if you see the person, there’s a bit like us on video, now, there’s a level where you feel like, you know, the person that that more now, where it comes a bit complicated is that you can also people have unconscious biases, right? So the thing is, people can make assumptions based upon that image, which might be completely not true. Or they could actually almost detract from you getting the job. And and then that’s the danger. And so I generally say not to do and I’ve never done it myself, at the same time, where I’ve seen it be successful. If it’s maybe a picture, which isn’t almost like a passport, painted picture, maybe it’s you do in photography, and it’s not the focus, it really, really shouldn’t be the focus. Personally, I don’t think you need that. The only time I’ve seen it be more closer to a prerequisite is in a client facing role, such as a receptionist or Front of House, because then the person can assimilate what they would, who they would be meeting at the desk, and then they can visualise you work in that? Yeah, that’s the only time that I’ve seen it become a little bit more relevant, really, in terms of part one and part two, the work should speak for itself. And so the, the danger is we have a photo you can get hung up on it. So I will generally not put it in.

Martin Andrews 14:24
It’s interesting. So I went for the job role that I’m currently doing at the moment. So about a year ago, I put my put my hat in the ring, went to the academic lead for admissions and recruitment, and I was sat there thinking I need to do a CV. So I chose to put a photograph of me into the CV. Now the CV wasn’t like this, the photograph wasn’t, you know, a stylized image, anything like that. So you’ve got to think the role was admissions and recruitment. Okay, so that’s, that’s working with primary schools secondary schools College is a further education that’s so the photographs I included on each of the pages of the CV CV was about three pages long was me working with pupils and students of different ages. So I was sensitive to the way I portrayed the pupils in the students in the in the image. So you know, their identities weren’t revealed. Okay. Yeah. So it was pictures of them working at a table and normally the back of their head, but you could see that I was in, I was comfortably in a position of working in a group with these people. So the focus wasn’t on my ugly mug. The focus was instead on the fact that I was saying, look, if you appoint me to do this role, look, I do this role. And here’s photographic evidence. I think you’re absolutely right. I think if you do include them, and many, many people don’t, you need to make sure that they’re relevant. Okay. Now, the other thing that makes an architecture or interior architecture and design CV different is the fact that we always encourage I encourage our students to put their own work into the CV, like really high quality edited images of an interior that they’ve produced, or the exterior of a building and an urban, complex, you know, something like that. And I think you’re absolutely right, let the work speak for itself. But occasionally, if you’re confident enough, I think the idea of putting something in that hints at who you are, is acceptable in some instances.

Stephen Drew 16:38
Yeah. I think what’s interesting, we talked about a little bit about what goes into it. Where I find it more interesting, though, is then in my position, I’m very reluctant to comment on a student’s design work once it’s gone into a CV and, and where where I’m sometimes astonished. And where I’ve done it myself is that is that once it’s more about mistakes that people do that, that lack of communication, which then actually stops them from getting the job. So I’m amazed sometimes, for instance, in a CV, if you if someone’s done, technical drawings, they’re not in there. And if they’ve used a certain set of software, they’re not in there as well. And sometimes I’ve seen examples where I can speak to someone on the phone, and they’ve actually done an internship and unlikely for practice. And that’s not got on the CV. And what’s been on the focus on the CV is the last academic projects, which which is a natural feeling. Because if I’ve just done one year, and I’ve worked in, in, in, in your studio, and we we work really hard, and I got to first I’m going to feel naturally proud of that. And it should go on there. And that should be demonstrated where I where I get surprised, though is that the all this stuff before the internship before doing now project and the summer job, where they were client facing, or you know, speaking to people, and the all the other bits and bobs that they’ve learned the physical model, and the or maybe the Revit skills and participate in in a BIM talk group gets missed out. And that’s the stuff that I feel can can actually stop you from getting the job. Because it’s not just about how excellent your design is, it’s about how you will fit into an office. So when you add a practice, Martin, there’s that there’s that level of you want a good design, then you also need to know that they’re going to solve a problem in the studio. And then that’s the bit that I when I speak to people on the phone, I speak to them now. I’m always amazed that still happens.

Martin Andrews 18:53
It’s about enriching your CV isn’t to say, Yes, absolutely. I’ve got the education. That means that I can go on the route to qualify as an architect, or I can do my degree, and I can come out as an interior architecture and design candidate. And I also do these things, and I’ve done these things. And I’ve worked with volunteer groups, and I’ve played football for Manchester United juniors and I it’s that stuff that I go, Oh, that’s really interesting. Yeah. And in terms of conversation pieces, you know, the argument is that you might have a very, very good student, top quality student who is very good on their own is very, very good academically, but maybe you don’t think that their personality would fit into the office. However, you might interview someone that is maybe doesn’t have the same who hasn’t achieved the same grades, but that has gone out and worked in Other practices has interacted with international design competitions has done volunteer and you think, wow, you know, that’s the stuff that you think it yes, it is about grades and achievement of marks and things. But as you said, if you’re thinking in a in a practice setting when it when it’s more than just a soldier, practitioner or sole trader, there’s actually other people there small, medium, large size practices, you want to make sure that that person has a character and can fit into the office. Yes,

Stephen Drew 20:31
I agree, is that and that’s the thing, the grades to show what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished? In my opinion, though, the employer wants to know, can you do the job? And can you get along together? And can you solve that problem. So if you have, for instance, have your own practice, man, you’ve got a residential scheme, you need to know that, that you can talk to someone on the level, they’re going to help you as a human being, and not kind of crash the BIM model. And that’s the immediate problem. And then you’d like to know that you can build a map based upon a design skills, but it’s actually the core problem, if that’s what you’re looking to solve. And that’s where you’re looking to hire. And I just love your, I think, where you hit the nail on the head, is that, and what I’ve learned is that in an interview, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a first or anything like that, if you can’t convey who you are as a person, and you can’t speak to someone and communicate who you are on a human level, then the reality is, you won’t make that connection. Because one of the things that I noticed is even as human beings is that what we do is we all make decisions based upon emotion backed by facts. So what after an interview, or positive interview, if, for instance, I’ve met someone that’s really good, either either I naturally go, he was amazing, or she was amazing, she came in with this energy. And I just was blown away, the design work was good. And then at the end, you go, Oh, he and she had good grades, and I’m pretty sure she can do read that it was the personality that got you there. And then and that’s the thing. And so for me, when it when kind of bring it back to what we talked about the start the CV and portfolio is the window to get their attention. And to me, it’s all about the steps is in the in my head, the whole objective, the mission of the CV, and the sample portfolio is to get you that interview. And to get you on that one to one, like we’re talking now, so that you can have a conversation. And that’s what I think it is, is really as a conversation, of course, you should rehearse a few questions in your head so that you feel you covered the points. But it’s not a script, and and you have to freestyle based upon the conversation, and that should be the goal. And so and that’s why bring it back even again, you’ve got the CV and portfolio, but it’s like how you go about there in the real world and calling up companies and sending CVS. The more you do than the more and the more practical stuff you do, the more applications you send, the more calls you make as a human level, the more chances we get of these real conversations. And that’s what’s gonna get you the job.

Martin Andrews 23:18
Absolutely. Just write a day,

Stephen Drew 23:22
and then go with us a little eureka moment.

Martin Andrews 23:24
Yeah, that’s really what I want to talk about three things to remind me. Right. Okay, there’s there’s three things. So I recently went for an internal position at the university. Yeah, about a month ago. And the Ask was, please, can you submit a CV and an expression of interest? Okay, okay. Yeah, I can do that. Not a problem. So. So the expression of it the CV is easy, because I obviously tried to sort that out when I got the role that I’m in at the moment. So I thought, okay, expression of interest. Normally, expressions of interest are really short. But I was responding to every point in the application. So it turned into this beast, this absolute beast, four and a half 1000 words, right? And I’m thinking, well, they didn’t cap it. Sometimes I’ve done these jobs. And they’ve said all these job applications, they’ve said one, a four. So I didn’t cap it. So I’m okay. I’m bending the rules a bit. I am responding. I’ve gone through Okay, however, who’s going to read this unless their interest is piqued? Do you know what I decided to do? Now I did a short video, less than two minutes long about me. And some of the things that I could offer at this new position, if I were appointed, and I think that thing of being able to go write, I’ve written this really developed thing, which if they’re interested by my CV and the short film, they can go and have a look more in depth. But actually, it’s about capturing and saying I’m I’m A nice person, I’m not a robot. And I’ve got a bit of experience. And I wonder how many other people who applied for that position submitted a video, you’ve got to think in this this world that we live in, it was an academic job, right? In this world that we live in, we’ve gone teaching virtual learning environments. Okay? So this job that I was going for, have bits of that in it. Okay. So by doing this short video about me and saying that I can use, you know, zoom and cameras and things, I’m sort of saying, I’m quite comfortable in front of the camera, and I can I can make these short videos. So it’s like, and that’s, you could you could say the similar thing about a CV or, or a portfolio or just to grab the attention. Okay. So that’s, that’s, that’s first thing. Second thing. I’m coming back to what we’re talking about enriching the portfolio or enriching the CV. Okay. My part one experience is really interesting, because obviously, I went out post 9192 recession, it was 1997, it was still very difficult in the construction industry and in architecture practice to get a job. Yeah. So I applied, I went for the quantity over quality to start with, okay, so I just, I wasn’t desperate, but I knew I wanted to be in a particular area. So I may have shot everyone, but changed my letter of application to be personal to that practice. Okay, so I did lots and lots and lots, it was still very, very difficult. However, I’ve got some interviews, and there’s one particular interview that I got. And I swear that I got the job, because we started talking about sport and football. So yes, I had a very, very nice CV as the size of the bus back then it was when you had the a one portfolios that you walked around now

Stephen Drew 26:50
not anymore, right.

Martin Andrews 26:54
That’s it, but yeah, do you back in when you’re carrying those around? So I it was fine. And we were going through the pages we and the owner of the business are looking through and it was great. And then he said he, I think he said, he said out when he was turning on the pages, and I said You’re right. He said I tweaked my back playing football last night. And I said, Oh, that’s interesting. He said, Yeah, do you play football? And then that was it. Yeah, the door was open. And I’m sure it wasn’t just because I had a sporting pedigree, but I think it really, really helped because then the interview, the atmosphere changed, it became so much more friendly. We’re able to talk about many things outside of the portfolio, not just about football and sport. And, and yeah, that was, that was a really good, you know, opportunity for me to talk a bit more about myself. The second sort of part two interview was a particular character, very senior within well known local authority, architectural practice. invited me in there was his assistant, someone from HR, and myself. So what’s in a three portfolio this time, because we’ve moved on a few years, I three against three, the portfolio. I know my scripts I know about the practice. I know a lot about this particular individual as well. And it was dreadful, Stephen. I remember, it was, it was a proper, you know, we’re just going to disagree on everything. I’m sorry, we just are back then maybe I was a bit more opinionated. But But you know, it was all day. So the HR person finished the interview after about an hour and said, Thank you very much. We’ll be in touch soon. The assistant says, I’ll show you down to reception. I’ll show you just show you at the buildings. We’re walking down, the fire escapes there. And I said, I’m really really sorry, that was that was awful. I normally interview really well. That was probably the worst interview in my life. And she said, No, no, no, you’ve got the job. I said, What? And she said, he really liked you. He liked that you fought back. And I was like, Okay, so, you know, I’ve now gone into interviews since that party experience thinking it’s alright, as long as you have a good reason to be able to put your point of view across. Yeah. Whereas prior to that, I always thought just sit down and show your portfolio and just say yes to everything. Yeah, but I thought it wasn’t so you know, learning experience.

Stephen Drew 29:40
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. For me. I always say the interview is just as much for you as it is for them. And it’s very hard to remember that. Because the thing is, when you’re going through an interview, you have to think about whether you want to work there as well. And it can be so easy to get enamoured by the fact There’s a possible job there, that you’re almost instantly, as you say, in this yes mode, when you can be respectful, like you said and thankful for the interview, and still challenged certain things, when they say challenge is not about being aggressive or standoffish, not on the boat that we’re on about is a professional or a personal disagreement or opinion piece, you know, well, I personally am more interested in this version of sustainability for this and this and that, or, for instance, in Revit, I model things in a particular way, I understand why you’ve modelled in this way, because of time constraints. Perhaps in the next project, what I would recommend is that you you check these resources, and then suddenly, you’re offering value insight, and you’re showing how employable you are. Whereas you’re a whereas a yes person isn’t necessarily all the right thing is true that well, who’s actually there’s a lot of the podcast with me on my team, when a week in McDonald company, for graduates, sometimes what we do is we have five to 10 people come in at the same time, which isn’t the case in architecture. He was the only person that disagreed with me and thought the point and he was the one I remembered, and he was the one I brought back for interview. And it was purely because he challenged me on something but when I said I didn’t necessarily agree with myself, or what it was, was a conversation piece. And and he was on that basis, which I was like, This is someone that when I work with that will respectfully Tell me if he disagrees, which which is a power in itself. Definitely. And

Martin Andrews 31:41
I think again, you know, we’re talking about photographs on CVS, profile photographs, it’s that it’s the same thing with this. It’s, it’s so it’s absolutely fine to have your own opinion. And it’s okay, as long as you’re respectful. And it’s about making the judgement. If you’re really rude and you started swearing, you started throwing your portfolio across the room and, and being a bit arrogant. That’s not right. in any circumstance. That’s not right. But to actually say, you know what, that’s that’s a really interesting point. Thank you very much. However, I chose to do it this way. Because, I mean, there’s so a few years ago, he’s now got his own architectural practice in Winchester, he’s, he’s a great guy. He was a mature student come in through ports with uni when I taught him in architecture. And I just remember being blown away, because I was probably in my, I think I was in my early 30s. So I was quite new to part time teaching. But I also run my own practice. And he disagreed with the things that I was saying. And I remember thinking, wow, this, this is amazing, because, okay, and I took it on as a challenge. The funny thing is, I later employed him as an assistant within the practice. And it was brilliant. Because he was such an asset. He was deeply reflective, as well as questioning in the right way. And I and he was funny, he was so funny that actually, that combination made me think, do you know what outside the academic sphere, I think I could quite happily work with you. And like I said, He’s now is now got a brilliant practice, very contemporary architectural practice in Winchester. So it’s good. It’s, you know, I couldn’t I’ve obviously taught hundreds and hundreds of students over the years, I’ve probably got a nice story about the majority of them, but not all of them. My last life. Yeah. And it’s the it’s the it’s the snippets, those stories that stay with you. And it’s that thing about being memorable. I think that’s really, really important.

Stephen Drew 33:47
Why highlight and while you were talking about the phone, and what I liked about it, when you were talking about the video, as well, and it kind of links back to the phone. Because for me in the interview is the magic or talking. It’s like even this, we were we were on the chat now in it, who knows where it goes. And along the way you make certain discoveries. And things happen, that the thing is with a photo is static, right? I don’t think it offers anything. Whereas what you were talking about with video before it, there’s so much more personality that comes across from that tone and motion, excitement, and joy and all that stuff comes across whereas in a picture, it can be interpreted one way and so to me a petrichor is more like attacks and the suicidal thing of sometimes when you get attacked and you’re like, is he being sarcastic? Or are they can be so misinterpreted. And I think that is the danger with a photo is that it can work it can sometimes it cannot and I think we’re the video and it’s and and that’s why even in my role. That’s why speaking on the phone help so much more because people get a sense of excitement or engagement. Yeah, and and it goes back to what we’re talking about before when you send a CV If you actually phone as well, suddenly what you visualise the employer and starts visualising you as a person, and not necessarily just a CV commodity, you know, it’s not just the CV, the CV comes to the person, and the person who rang up is someone that can have a conversation, and is someone that then becomes more tangibly real, that you then get an interview? You know, because you, you’re slowly co going, you’re becoming more and more realistic.

Martin Andrews 35:33
Yeah, I completely agree. So I’ve had lots and lots of students over the years who have said, I’ve sent out so many CVS, letters of application portfolios, but I’ve just not had a response. Oh, that’s, that’s a real shame. Can you tell me your process? Yep. I emailed them. And then that’s it. And I’m like, okay, but have you? Have you found them? No. Okay. So what I’m finding on reflection over the years that not everyone who applies for jobs, phones to follow up, or like you said, uh, you know, we had a conversation earlier, actually goes down to the practice, if they’re local knocks on the door and says, Hello, I’m Brian. And I wondered if you got my CV. Yeah. And it makes such a difference. Because, you know, if you can find, I mean, obviously, there’s, there’s some practices out there who might have a central HR department that might not reveal their telephone number. But if you do a bit of research, you can probably find out how to contact them. So I think that the big takeaway that I have to my students is that I say to my students is, you know, just follow up, you’ve got nothing to lose, you don’t have to have a big patter big spiel rehearsed, because the likelihood is you’ll get through to someone in the office, who picks up the phone and says, How can I help? And your question is, I recently applied for a job application within your practice, my name is x. And I wonder if you could give me an update. That’s it, that’s enough to just open the door for for a conversation, you might get put onto a director, you might get put onto a project architect, you might just talk to the practice administrator, it doesn’t really matter, you’re getting yourself known. And I think that’s where a lot of the students that I’ve worked with Miss A trick. It, it’s, it’s all of this actually, if you if you reflect on what we’re talking about, it all comes back to being memorable for the right reasons.

Stephen Drew 37:34
And I think going out there and getting on your end. And the other thing is it’s about, if there’s no job ads, you should still send an application, you can’t wait for a job application, or you can’t wait for the employer to come back, you have to in a nice way. And it goes back to that thing of what was what an interview was like the challenge of being in a nice way, what you’re doing is you’re politely re engaging with the company, and they might go you know, while we were just going to call it an add on, let me get your application now. I’ll give it to the director Jeff now. And suddenly, for you ringing you’ve created yourself an opportunity. And you’ve done it because you’ve The reason you’ve got that is because you’ve done something which people typically don’t do. And in life, I think that kind of attitude, and that go getter is who people want in their companies. And because it’s it’s taken initiative. And I think that if you’re waiting for a part one role to be posted on design, then when you send that application off, it will be worth 300 people. And but if you go out and you’d find every architecture practice close to you, and slowly build it out and send CVS, you’re creating opportunities, which were off the guard off the beaten track, and therefore more likely to be hidden gems, or you’re more likely to get the attention.

Martin Andrews 38:57
I again, I completely agree. My I’ve talked about the interview for my part two, which was interesting and challenging at the same time. But I finished my it was back then it was the Diploma in architecture. Now. It’s obviously the March, I finished my diploma and I knew that I wanted to work for that practice. But I didn’t want to go out into the industry. At the same time as all the other architecture graduates I just thought that was was madness. And I thought in my mind, well, why don’t I delay it a bit. I think February would be quite good because I think there’s probably going to be an upswing, so this was a few years later. So this was in the early noughties. I think there’s going to be an upswing and then we taking people on what can I do. So they were playing around with the idea of a Master’s Course and an M arch a master of architecture at Portsmouth and and I was told that it was a year long. And what I like to be the first person to do the M arch and it was it was I could have done it design project, I could have done done a written piece, I chose to do a written piece in the end. And I thought this is really good. Because if I finish in the February, if I finish early, then I’m back on there, I’m in practice, and all the all this stuff sets me you’ll never do it. You’ll never do it. And if you never do it in six months, it would be a year. Anyway, I did it in six months. Yeah, well done. Finish, thank you finished the masters. And I was able to go out at a time when most architectural practices may have been looking for parties. That probably thought there was a bit of a drought because most parties would have been finishing their postgraduate studies. And I think that’s partly why because the practice that I went to, is very well known. And that summer, when they had released their part one and part two jobs, there were hundreds and hundreds of people that were applying for it because it’s such a popular practice. So when I applied in the February of probably the January, the February, it wasn’t as popular, and the numbers had come right down. So I’d gained a nother postgraduate qualification, which is advantageous to me, I’ve done a bit of really solid research that’s backed up my professional ambitions in my professional understanding of certain things. But it also got me in to being able to be shortlisted for a job that I wanted to do. So sometimes thinking a little bit differently about how you apply is a good thing. And I think especially now with the COVID, 19 situation, you may find, I don’t know any statistics or data or anything at all that backs this up by I wonder if you find a lot of part one graduates decide that they’ll just go straight through and do their postgraduate studies instead of taking a year out in practice. Because, yeah, you know, it’s another two years, it’ll help the economy, the economy will recover, hopefully, in that period of time, and then maybe by the time they finish their post grad, they’re able to go and apply. So I don’t know, is this just a thing off the top of my head, now

Stephen Drew 42:02
I can find that I think it will. And if it happens, I think you will be accepted. The war I’d like to reiterate is, I think the wrong thing to do would not to be there or apply to places or not try it and then just think you’re not going to get anything and jump straight back into industry. Because know that you have to apply. You have to you have to give yourself the benefit. Because when i when i did it i sent, it was 2009 it was recession, everyone was scared, there was no jobs. And it was a little bit like I was reading your notes earlier, you had seven interviews from 100 applications. And I think I think in 2009, I had 11 interview requests from I looked and it was something like 800 Wow. But at the time at the time, it was what it took and the age but honestly, my heart and the soul I did for two days, I sat down in front of a computer for two days in the studio, and I went through the through the websites, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, look for a director’s name, read a bit about him. And then I didn’t overly pretend I know I was with the rag. So it was personalised said who I am I know and availability. And the other thing that I did is that I did it a week or two before some of the students because some people were like, I’m gonna have a break, because I’m straight out of it. You know, it’s been really stressful at the end of the year show I applied during the end of your show. So I did the plane. And then I was sending out the applications. And I think it goes back to what you’re saying about time. And maybe I was at the top of the queue. And that’s the thing, and maybe someone behind me might have a better CV, right? Because it can be competitive. The thing is, though, I was at the top of the queue, then I got in for the interview. And then when you there. It’s like a strat and now it was like C’s in the moment and winning someone over because when you’re in the room, and if you can create that palpable excitement, and you and you both get along, then you’re going to get the job. Yeah, they’re not going to look at the next CV because they’re like, I like Ma and he is the guy for the team. Just get Ma and then and that’s done and then and so I think early bird does catch the worm. You know, some

Martin Andrews 44:10
I really do. No, definitely. I, I am very, very conscious that my wife who’s a lawyer is about to go on to a conference call in the same room as

Stephen Drew 44:20
Don’t worry. I think that’s a perfect note to add to add on as well.

Martin Andrews 44:24
So I wonder if that this is a good good time to finish because we’ve been we’ve been talking now for a little bit of time away. And I think we’ve covered lots of things. I mean, what I would love today, what I would love to do is is maybe flip the table and we could do one of these in the future about what your experiences were for part one, okay, because I would love to find out what Alright, let’s do it.

Stephen Drew 44:49
We’ll do that. But we need to make sure that you’re around to do that. I don’t want to get in trouble with Mrs. Andrews. So thank you Molly. For anyone. That’s here though. Whether they if they want to get in contact with you,

Martin Andrews 45:02
where should they find you find me on LinkedIn, Martin Andrews and all of my contact details are there.

Stephen Drew 45:10
Awesome. Thank you, Martin. This has been awesome. I will now stop the recording. Thank you so much, ladies.


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