This article was originally published by The Architect's Guide.
So I won't make you wait for the answer. The best time to look for an architecture job is...
...when you already have a job. This is called a "passive job search."
While you are not job hunting per se, you are keeping your net in the water just in case a juicy offer swims by. I covered the subject of architecture job offers in more detail in a previous post, 25 Things To Consider When Choosing An Architecture Job Offer, but here are a few techniques for a passive job search.
Put Your Resume Online
If you haven't already, post your architecture resume online. Many architecture firms can suddenly need staff if they win a big project. While jumping ship for one project should be done with caution, it is good to have your name in the hat.
Have your most up-to-date experience on a site like LinkedIn. This allows your qualifications and experience to be easily searched by recruiters or architects looking to hire.
It used to mean that if you posted your resume online it told your employer that you are looking for a job. Now things have changed and creating a LinkedIn profile is seen as just another way of communication, as with any other social network.
Employer Wish List
Do some research to see who is hiring in your area and keep a list of the architecture firms that you would be interested in.
Note why you are interested. Is it the projects they work on, the work-life balance, or the culture? What skills and experience are they looking for? Is there something that keeps showing up that you don't have? Revit experience? LEED AP?
This is a good way to make sure you're keeping up on what makes you employable.
Remember, your experience and knowledge is your best source of job security.
As I am always saying, your network is an essential part of the job search process. Reach out to anyone in your network who may know someone that worked at one of the architecture firms on your list.
Get contact information to begin the process of meeting with the decision makers in the office.
This is a rarely used technique but it is very effective. An informational interview is less of an interview and more of just a meeting you set up to discuss a topic of your choosing.
Mr. Anderson, I received your email from Chris V. I was hoping I could have 15 minutes of your time this week to meet with me. I am interesting in working on large scale commercial projects. Since I mainly have small scale residential experience, I was hoping you might be able to provide me with some advice. I would greatly appreciate your time.
If the meeting goes well you could end with, "would you mind looking at my resume?" This can be a great way to find out if you have any resume gaps or potential issues for the role you will be pursuing.
You can use this time while employed to then build that project experience or acquire a new skill, such as becoming a LEED Accredited Professional.
As with all interviews, don't forget to follow up.
Whatever the immediate outcome of your search, continue to follow up with everyone in your network.
I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I have taken your advice and I am now starting at a new office specializing in large scale commercial architecture.
Hopefully, these tips will help you build your network and keep your skills current.
Architecture is a very unpredictable profession. A passive employment search can provide you with a job security network to help you survive any recession.
Want to find your dream architecture job? Check out The Architect's Guide Resources.
To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download.
This article was originally published by The Architect's Guide as "5 Techniques To Land A Job With The World's Most Competitive Architecture Firms." As I discussed in my interviews with several firms in 7 Questions Answered By The World's Top Architecture Firms On What They Look For In Job Applications, the quality of your application documents is extremely important.
In a survey of 104 Chief Executive Officers reported in Success Magazine a few years ago, they were presented with 20 qualities of an ideal employee, and asked to select the most important. 86% of the senior executives selected two qualities as being more important for career success and advancement than any others: 1.
In his previous articles, Brandon Hubbard has discussed how to create the perfect short portfolio to get the attention of your future employer, and how to prepare for some of the most common interview questions.
When it comes to applying for a new job, in any field, often the most difficult part is standing out from the crowd at the first stage. Fortunately for architects, in our field we have a tool that can help you to do just this: the portfolio.