• Architecture Student Blog


Updated: Aug 14, 2019

So you’ve just graduated from university, congratulations... but now what? As you’re just getting over your celebrations of finishing 3 gruelling years of your undergraduate degree or 6 years of your Master’s diploma, you suddenly realise your it’s time to take that big step in to the working world.

Now some of you reading this may already have your plans set out and have done for a long while, that’s fantastic you can probably skip this article or perhaps keep reading and send us an email with your thoughts and suggestions.

But for those of you that are wondering what to do next, this advice is for you.

1 . Be Honest With Yourself

Do you even want to continue into the world of architecture? If not that’s ok! An architectural degree will look impressive on any CV and the software you have learned, particularly the Adobe suite, will be invaluable to any company. Many students at my university used their undergraduate degree to go on to become successful graphic designers, artists and 3D visualisation specialists! Even if architecture isn’t for you the tips below could still help you land a job in any design field.

2. Put In The Work

For those of you that do want to continue into the world of architecture it’s time to roll up your sleeves, get to work and find yourself a job. At the end of the day nothing worth having comes easy.

Firstly, get your portfolio ready, printed on good quality paper, bound beautifully like the piece of artwork that it is, have digital copies ready to issue and make this accessible as possible. If you have your own website that will only look more impressive to your prospective employer showcasing another skill that you have.

Then start by making a decision on the location where you would like to work and make a list of all the architectural practices within a commutable radius of that location, with the help of Google it is an easy task to complete. Then start from the top of that list and work your way down. Of those practices try to find the contact details of any associates or director’s, yes this will mean spending more time looking on their website to find out who they are, but these are the people that will pull strings and ultimately with a deciding factor on with the job.

3. Show Them You’re a Real Person

Stay away from email to start with, it’s very easy for you to be rejected, one click on the delete button and you’re gone. Call the practice and ask for one of the directors or associates by name, you’ll be surprised how many of them you will get through to. Some of you will be thinking that is easier said than done but if you can’t get through to them perhaps because it is a multi-national corporation that’s fine! Choose the next best person at the practice a lead architect or team leader, someone with some force within the practice who can have an impact on whether you get invited for an interview or not. Ultimately you need to try your best and show that you have the drive and work ethic to work for your interview not just expect it to be handed to you on a plate. Even if you have to have 5-minute conversation with the secretary of the practice she could be the one who say’s “Wow this person really want’s this maybe they’re worth a shot”.

4. Prove Your Value

If you do happen to get through to someone, firstly well done! That’s a feat in itself. But now comes the hard part, you have to sell yourself to that person carefully in the hope that they may offer you the chance to come into the office for an interview. Be open and honest with them by telling them that you’ve just finished your university degree and that you’re looking to take your first step into the world of architecture. Let them know you’re based locally as that will always be a benefit for them. Explain that you’re looking for an opportunity to grow and learn as a young architect and you feel that a placement at their practice would be the perfect fit.

Make small talk, be a polite, friendly, and personable character over the phone, this is what will make you stand out from the crowd. By calling up out of the blue it shows you have confidence and good communication skills being able to speak with somebody of importance within large company. These are all valued skills within the work place and any director, associate or manager will realise this, which again will only help in getting your foot in the door.

5. Do Your Research

This may seem obvious but doing some research on the background and ethos of a practice can go a long way to show that you are seriously interested in their company. There really is no excuse when most if not all companies will provide you with this information on their website.

If you can show them that your values and beliefs match that of the firm you are more likely to impress! For example, if a practice is known or has been awarded for their sustainable BREEAM rated designs let them know that this is an area you’d love to work in and develop.

Even the simple mention of a recent project or design you like can show that you’ve put a little effort in to research who they are.

But DO NOT LIE! Don’t pretend you’re interested in something that you’re not just to try and get the job, you will soon be found out and they will show you the door.

6. Expect Rejection

Unfortunately, within a very competitive world you have to learn to harden yourself to rejection, so don’t be put off if you are asked to send a CV in an email and you don’t hear back from them again. To put this into some perspective, I live within a rural area just outside of Birmingham, I called a total of 60 practices within my commutable radius and only 2 offered me an opportunity to visit their office. But of those practices one offered me a summer placement for 3 months which then turned into full employment. Now this is just one example, so those of you looking to find employment within bigger cities you may have to phone 100’s of practices but all it takes is 1 to give you an opportunity to prove yourself. Keep working and your efforts will pay off.

7. Networking Can Open Doors For You

This piece of advice will follow you even when you have a job within the field. Networking a.k.a making friends with people within the industry can offer you so many opportunities you never thought possible. Who knows who you'll meet and who doesn't want a few extra friends?

There really is no excuse not to within the modern world, with social media (particularly Linked in) you can contact almost anyone in the world. So, do your research and find the people doing the job you want to do and ask them how they went about it.

Now please take heed, BE POLITE, having an expectation that somebody will reply is a sure-fire way to be ignored. We are not trying to ask for free advice we are trying to make an acquaintance. Say something along the lines of “I hope you don’t mind me messaging you but I’ve seen from your profile that you work at ….. it is a practice I have always dreamed of working for and I wondered whether you might be able to provide me with some advice on how you approached working for such an established practice?” Some may be too busy to reply but if only one person does they could give you some incredibly valuable advice, as well as the potential of making an acquaintance who could help come the interview stage.

Even if they can't help you, it's still a worthwhile process as you may gain a new friend and who knows you may cross paths again in the future!

8. Be Persistent

Now bear in mind even if you manage to get through to someone and have a positive conversation with them, with how busy people are it’s easy for them to forget so try not to get too disheartened if they do not respond to you. Try calling them back after a few days and speak to them again this will show you are keen and driven and will only stand to impress them more.

Now remember there is a fine line between persistent and being an irritant if a company doesn’t come back to you after a few attempts, chances are it is not something they are willing to entertain. If that is the case remain professional and ask for some feedback on how you can improve, this will make you seem incredibly mature and they may give you key advice to take with you for the next practice you call. That is all part of the process, move on and try somewhere else but most importantly it all adds to your experience.

If there's one thing I'd like you to take from this articles it's this...

With every practice you call you are increasing your chances and getting one step closer to getting yourself your dream job. Use each and every setback you encounter as a learning opportunity rather than dwelling on it. Persevere and you will reap the benefits of your hard works!

And that’s really it! Please bear in mind this is just the advice of one person which helped me in gaining employment, I’m sure others will have a vastly different experience and if so I welcome you to provide us with feedback, we’d love to hear from you and add more advice to this list.


1. Be Honest With Yourself

Is architecture really what you want to do for the rest of your life? You should follow your passion and if that lies elsewhere that's ok!

2. Put In The Work

Getting a job in any field is hard, you have to be willing to go above and beyond to prove your value to your potential employer. It won't be handed to you on a plate.

3. Show Them You're a Real Person

By calling a practice you instantly create a more personal connection compared to that of an email. You'd be surprised how few people do call.

4. Prove Your Value

Be confident, sell yourself and explain how you feel you could add to their office. Make small talk, be a polite, friendly, and personable character over the phone, this is what will make you stand out from the crowd.

5. Do Your Research

Doing some research on the background and ethos of a practice can go a long way to show that you are seriously interested in their company. There really is no excuse with modern technology at hand.

6. Expect Rejection

Learn to harden yourself to rejection, don’t be put off if you are asked to send a CV in an email and you don’t hear back from them again. It's all a part of the process, if you like get back in touch and ask for feedback on how you can improve.

7. Networking Can Open Doors For You

Networking with people within the industry can offer you so many opportunities you never thought possible. Who knows who you'll meet and who doesn't want a few extra friends?

8. Be Persistent

Every practice you call increases your opportunity of finding a job, take each setback as a learning experience to improve on next time.

Thanks for taking the time to read, let us know what you think by messaging us on Instagram!

Josh - Founder of The ASB

If you have any topics you would like us to discuss send us an email with the subject #AskTheASB

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