Here Are Some Tips to Help You Secure an Architectural Assistant Job After Graduation
So, you’ve just graduated from university and completed your degree in Architecture, and have decided that you want to work in Practice. It can be easier said than done. You’ll know this if you have made several applications and still not secured your dream position.
There are a lot more applicants than there are jobs, making competition tough. Architectural Assistant jobs are in high demand by graduates. However many applications you have made, here are some things to be aware of to help you improve your chances of being hired.
1. Increased Competition
Highly sought-after jobs suffer from high competition. If you are sending your CV to Allies and Morrison, expect competition.
As degree courses and university places are becoming more accessible, the number of graduates in Architecture subjects is increasing. Your competition is getting tougher; especially as the number of Architecture roles available are not increasing at the same rate.
Increase your chances of standing out from your competition with these strategies:
• Learn about the market that you want to enter
• Attend architecture practice lectures
• Obtain extra skills and suitable experience
• Improve your professional network by employing a strategy on LinkedIn (See more below, too)
You need to work hard to obtain rewarding work.
2. Little to No Work Experience
Most university graduates make the mistake of thinking their degree will be enough to earn them a job. However, education is not all that employers are looking for. Experience is a vital part of any job application, especially for roles in Architecture. While education can give you some of the skills needed to be an Architectural Assistant, having additional experience will make you more desirable to employers and make your application stand out against the rest.
Look for internships or relevant part-time work that you can take on around your studies. Sometimes, a sandwich course is a good route into the field of work you wish to enter. There is a wealth of work experience opportunities available in the industry, especially in London, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester – providing you know where and how to look.
3. Lack of Skills Required by Employers (Revit!)
There has long been a debate around the fact that employers do not feel universities are teaching students the skills that they need as future employees. Obtaining technical knowledge of buildings and learning to design is one thing. However, the university often does not teach you the practical skills needed to work in an Architectural Assistant job such as using REVIT
Your degree is not enough to set you apart in the sea of applicants hiring managers are fishing from. Think about what additional training you can take to obtain the extra skills needed by employers. Look at industry trends and Architectural Assistant jobs to find out what skills employers are looking for in Part I's, that you don’t yet have. Then take online courses or find work experience that can help you obtain these skills and open a door into your chosen career.
4. No Network
Getting a job is as much about who you know, as what you know. Having someone to recommend you for a position is a great way to get yourself to the top of the candidate pile. Employers put trust in their network and know that they would not put anyone forward who could make them look bad. This helps reassure employers that a referral will be a good hire (one reason we seek to ‘know’ graduates in the job-seeking process).
But there’s a problem: you’re just out of university and have no network of associates in the industry. So how can you get a referral? Well, it’s time to start building your network. Attend industry events and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. When you meet new people within your industry, be sure to get their full name and the place of work so you can add them on LinkedIn. If it’s appropriate and you have your phone to hand, make a LinkedIn connection with them while you are talking.
Be an active member of the suitable social media community. Share other people’s content, comment, and answer problems that others post and with which you may help. Take the time to start conversations with people on LinkedIn so that you can begin to build a professional relationship with them.
When you apply for an Architectural Assistant role, it’s possible (and in fact highly likely) that the hiring manager will look at your LinkedIn profile. Having a good network of connections helps improve your credentials. The wider your network, the more likely you will have a connection in common with the hiring manager. In this case, the hiring manager may get in touch with a mutual connection to seek their opinion. A recommendation could help you land the job.
5. Poor CV and Cover Letter
Your CV and cover letter are the first impressions you give to a hiring company. You must take the time to compose a CV and cover letter that really blows away the reader. Don’t pick a generic template that you found online. Take the care to craft your words in your cover letter, laying out all your skills in a way that will catch the reader’s eye.
Get a friend or professor to proofread your CV and cover letter and ask them to make suggestions of how it might be improved. When you read your own work, it can be difficult to catch mistakes or notice small changes that could make it more appealing to the reader.
6. Interviewing Poorly
If you have graduated recently, you probably have little interview experience. Your interview experience may be limited to a couple of interviews conducted for work experience roles. Avoid basic rookie interview mistakes and:
• Turn up on time (or preferably 10 minutes early)
• Wear formal clothing
• Give the interviewer a firm handshake
• Make eye contact during the interview
Before you go to your interview, do some preparation. Research the company you are interviewing with and consider example interview questions that you might expect. Thoroughly read the job description and think of examples of how you can demonstrate the skills it lists, from your work or personal experience, and during your degree.
7. Not Following up
So, you sent in your application and heard nothing back. End of story, right? Wrong.
Follow up on all your job applications. It can never do any harm. The hiring company may have simply forgotten to get back to you, or never received the application. They may also have received it and be able to give you some constructive feedback on why you were not asked to come in for an interview.
8. Giving up at the First Hurdle
Receiving no response from job applications can be disheartening. Maybe after a couple of months, you feel like giving up. However, this is when you need to stay strong and persevere. It takes graduates an average of six to nine months to find a job in their chosen field, so keep on going until you get the position you’ve worked so hard for.
Receiving no responses may also be a sign that you need to change something about your application process. Review your CV and cover letter and the jobs you are applying for to assess where you could make improvements.
9. Lack of Interpersonal Skills
Interviews are susceptible to human bias. Having charm and interpersonal skills that allow you to easily communicate with your interviewer are a huge plus. Employers look for interpersonal skills as they allow you to:
• Easily integrate into the current team
• Manage conflict
• Communicate effectively
• Build trust with clients
• Network within the industry
While studying for your degree, you may have focused entirely on gaining the relevant knowledge needed to become an Architectural Assistant and let developing other skills fall to the wayside. However, interpersonal skills are extremely desirable to employers. If you don’t possess them, it’s time to start working on them.
You can do it!
Around 500,000 students graduate in the UK each year. On average it takes between six and nine months for a graduate to find a job in their field of study. You may be worn out from applying for Architectural Assistant jobs, but it’s not time to give up. Review the ways you can improve your application process and think about the additional skills you could learn to make yourself more desirable to employers.