Finding work can be daunting when you are first starting out. We have some tips & tricks to help from CV writing to industry specific networking events, you can even check out the other courses to pool ideas.
Our advice is to start early by building your experience through placements or responding to competitions or opportunities during your course.
Work experience will help you gain an understanding of the production processes behind a design project. It also gives you an idea of the kind of practice you might want to work for in the future and builds contacts for fulfilling part 2 of your qualification.
It is important to know the industry well and know where the openings are. RIBA’s monthly Future Trends' report monitors employment trends affecting the architects’ profession and highlights areas where skills are in demand. Given the nature of the industry and such close working relationships it is important to try and meet the architects you would like to work with.
Visiting tutors on your course are an excellent starting point as well as Ravensbourne Late speakers and industry guests from the range of events on offer at Ravensbourne. Dropping an email to thank a visiting speaker for a talk is low-effort and helps build your networks for the future.
Making speculative applications & finding company details
Since architects don't really need to advertise opportunities, you will need to make speculative approaches to companies that interest you.
RIBA's database is a great place to start finding details of companies you would like to work for.
Keep an open mind about where else you might get work. Construction companies, landscape and urban design/regeneration practices; spatial design and interior design practices all value the skills learnt on our courses.
You will need to find out the name of the best person to contact, in larger architectural practices there will be a HR department to deal with this, smaller firms will need more researching so you may need to call them to get a name. Draw up a wish list of who you admire and then it’s down to making targeted speculative approaches with your CV.
Before putting together your speculative application research each practice thoroughly, noting their recent jobs, what area they work in, who their clients are and their practice values.
Getting work experience in the early stages of your studies
It can be challenging when graduates are also looking for Part 2 work placements. So, you need to persuade practices that you can help them even though you are so early on in your studies. Being able to create digital 3D visualisations can be a great bonus. Practices often don’t have the time to create 3D visualisations (or sometimes clients don't want to pay for it), so include these in your CV to show how you can add to architectural practices, particularly smaller ones.
Practices are looking for dedicated people with a passion for what they do. Competitions are a big element of securing work for firms so having entered competitions already is looked on favorably.
Show an active interest in your field by following blogs or companies on Twitter, this way you could hear about job openings early. The Architects Twitter League is a league of architects, practices and students who tweet. It offers some useful tips as well as a listing of which practices use Twitter.
Now, armed with a strong CV and portfolio you can start making your applications. The Careers and Industry Liaison team provide advice on CVs and can also help with your job search strategy even after you have left Ravensbourne.
Gensler DSD programme - Gensler is one of the largest global design firms and they are currently in the process of launching the Design Strategist Development (DSD) programme. Successful applicants will gain experience and skills working on live briefs in the Gensler offices.
Working further afield
Finally, do consider working outside the UK as long as you don’t cut off your links here. For example, Canada the major is still employing in the field of Architecture as it has a shortage of Canadian-based skilled workers. Especially in the major cities of Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.
In this article Architect Philip Graham suggests:
“It is one of the best ways to reappraise preconceptions about design and society and is an experience worth thinking about if you want to bring new ideas into a prospective practice. Other ways to give yourself a different edge might include working outside of the profession or attempting a self-build project to see where it leads.”
This Design week feature considers salaries and options of a range of designers overseas.
Adrem include advice on working in different countries, it is also a good resource for researching overseas.