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Posted July 28th, 2017 by Jasmine Lui
Here at LK2 we’re dedicated to growing our team with talented professionals and many of our team members have joined us straight from university. Because of this, we understand how challenging it can be for young professionals to find their feet and land that all important first job. To help pave the way to success, our Part 1 architectural assistant James and architectural designer Adam have shared their top tips for hopeful graduates.
1. Broaden your IT skills
Most employers will expect you to have a good working knowledge of various software including Photoshop, 3D modelling, rendering software and drawing programmes including AutoCAD and Revit. It is beneficial to demonstrate how you have used your skills within academic and professional projects. Some university courses may offer evening classes for architecture students, but if not, there will more than likely be someone on the course with experience so ask for help. You can learn far more having someone talk you through a technique for five to 10 minutes than hours spent watching YouTube tutorials or reading ‘how to’ books/blogs.
2. Build a good portfolio
A portfolio of high quality work can, in most cases, make the biggest difference and can carry more weight than your degree classification. We would recommend having both an electronic and hard copy, as most employers will expect you to talk them through your work at interview. Whilst at university a high level of importance is placed on graphical representation, employers are more interested in the substance of the project, from the initial idea to why you made certain decisions through the development process. Remember – employers are not expecting you to be the finished article but want to discover whether you have the ability to adapt, learn and improve. Practice talking through your projects in a logical coherent manner, it’s vital that you get used to presenting your ideas to others (the phrase “I’m not sure why I did that” should be avoided at all costs).
3. Location, location, location
Be prepared to move out of your current city or town to find the right fit. Think about the kind of work you want to be involved in – architecture firms vary massively, so do your research. Don’t get blindsided by the idea of working in London. Whilst London offers a huge range of opportunities there are plenty of exciting and innovative architects practices across the UK and overseas.
4. Widen your knowledge outside of your course
Make sure you’re reading up on current trends, keep yourself updated on what’s happening in the industry and don’t rely on just your course material alone. This not only shows passion for what you do, but it’s important creatively. All architecture has always been influenced by what came before, as an evolution or as a reaction, you might find yourself using an idea inspired by an outside source on a completely unrelated project, months or years later.
5. Know why are you applying to the particular practice
Before you even write your cover letter, you should be thoroughly researching the firm you’re applying to. Find out what kind of projects they’re working on, what areas they specialise in and any areas of their work you might be particularly interested in. Some firms are more specialised than others, so you need to be sure it’s going to be a good fit for you.
6. Have an open mind
Once you’ve got the job, having the right attitude is essential. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take advantage of the experience and knowledge a firm can offer you. At Part I and II stages particularly, you’re there to learn, and most employers would prefer you to ask and get it right than struggle on your own.