How to Apply to Different Architectural Firms

How to Apply for Architectural Firms Title

A Step-by-step Guide for Apprentices

It’s not new to feel a bit lost after graduating. After so many years of being in the education system, you may find yourself asking, “What now?”  Well, after you’ve figured out whether you’ll take a break first or head on right into the workforce, here are some steps you may want to consider when looking to apply for architectural firms.

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What are the types of firms you can apply to?

There’s a ton of different architectural firms out there. Knowing very well that our field offers a vast number of services, here are some of the most general ones you might want to consider when looking to apply for architectural firms.

Design Firm vs. Design-Build Firm vs. Construction firm

In a very general definition, a design firm is a company that offers architectural design services whilst a design-build firm offers the same but includes construction services with the projects. A construction firm, on the other hand, as the name suggests, focuses on the construction services without the former.

If you want to focus on diversifying your experience in the workplace, you will want to look into what type of service they offer as this will dictate what you’ll most likely experience depending on what they hand onto you. If you want to focus on a specific type of service, for example, interior designing, then you’ll want to apply to a firm which offers architectural and interior design services.

Considering the size of the firms

The size of the firm will not dictate how good or diversified the experience will be as that will depend on the systems or management of each architectural firm you apply to. However, you may want to consider the size as architectural firm sizes range greatly from small to medium to large. Some of those considered in the top architectural firms are large international firms whilst others still include small-sized ones.

Related: Choosing the Right Architecture Firms for You

Determine your ideal location

Despite maybe having your target architectural firm to apply to, you still want to be practical in terms of transportation. The firm you’re applying to should be easily accessible to you or if not, you’ll want to have some sort of plan of whether you’re prepared to dorm or prepared to wake up earlier than you would have if you lived closer to the workplace.

There’s a lot of established architectural firms out there and so you may want to look into those closer to you first. You should also be prepared to do site visits regardless of where you live or where you work (although this may be disclosed to you anyway by the company).

Prepare for application

Now that you’ve looked into what type of services you’ll want to focus on and where your target location is, you’ll want to prepare the following for application:

Your resume

Take note that you wouldn’t want to just make your resume without knowing how to optimize it. You don’t know how long (or how quick) the personnel will look at it so it’s important you get it right, from layout to content. 

Tip: You might think that putting your I.D. picture on your resume is the right way to do it but that’s actually incorrect! It leaves room for discrimination and your face has nothing to do with your productivity anyway (unless maybe you’re applying to be a model or something).

Novoresume writes a step-by-step guide on how to write a resume you might want to check out.

Your architectural portfolio

Now, some employers don’t actually require an architectural portfolio but you might want to prepare it just in case. It is suggested that you tailor your portfolio to each company you apply to which showcases each skill they’re looking for. You’ll want to reduce the size to what each firm requests or if there is none, you might want to have it lower than 10 MB.

Remember, you’ll be emailing these documents and so you wouldn’t want to stress the personnel by sending huge files!

Check out: Architecture Programs I Used for Thesis

Research the firms you want to apply to

I wouldn’t recommend sending hundreds of applications all at once as it is always good to research each firm you’ll want to apply to. That way, you’re more likely to know what you’re getting yourself into. For every application, you’ll be composing a cover letter tailored to them that also highlights your skills which they are looking for. 

Alongside that, you’ll want to take note of their:

  • Contact
  • Address
  • Principal Architect/s (if possible)
  • Hiring Manager/s (if possible)

Make a cover letter

Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to make your cover letter. Just like in your resume, you’ll want to do right with your cover letter. Novoresume also has a great post on how to write a cover letter, you might want to check out.

This is also where the contact, address, and names you researched on the firm will play the part. It is much recommended to address the architect’s or the hiring manager’s name instead of a more genera; one such as “To whom it may concern,”.

Draft (and maybe schedule) your email

You now have your cover letter, your resume, and your architectural portfolio. All that’s left is to write and send your email, right? With this, make sure you label the subject properly and double-check your file names and make sure they are appropriate.

You can have the email body short and direct as your intent is already explained in the cover letter. Check out Indeed’s post on tips on how to write your email.

Follow up in about two weeks (include source)

Waiting for a response may be the hardest part if you’re feeling uneasy but the good thing is, it is actually recommended to follow up in about two weeks! According to Zety, 43% of the hiring managers interviewed said that job seekers should follow up in one to less than two weeks. 30% said two to less than three weeks, 19% recommended less than one week, and 8% mentioned three weeks or more.

If you want to know how to write an email on following up your job application, check out Zety’s post here.

You Might Want to See: What is Architecture – Introduction, Apprenticeship, ALE

Additional Tips

Clean or double check your social media

Some people actually use their social media as an extension of their portfolio. You may link your social media on your resume only if you think it’s beneficial. 

If you don’t use your social media for architecture-related purposes, then you’ll want to make sure it’s “clean” as you don’t know if human resources actually do background checks on these.

Prepare or use a professional email

Before the hiring personnel actually gets to see your well-prepared letter, resume, and architectural portfolio, one of the first things they will see is your email address. You’ll want to have a separate email address for your business ventures as this is also what you’ll use when signing your names in letters.

It’s also easier to manage as opposed to when your personal and business emails are combined together.

Make use of your connections

Have you heard of the quote “It’s not about who you know, it’s about who your connections know”? That’s what networking is about. It’s not really about the first line of connection but the second. If you know someone or knows someone who knows someone from the architectural firms you’re applying to, it may do you lots to seek help from them.

Ready your government documents

Naturally, we’ll all have to prepare our government documents to get employed. Might as well prepare them or have them ready as soon as you can so it won’t take much time when you already get accepted to work.

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