For Students, the Toughest Job is Finding One
Students applying for a job with an architectural firm should be prepared to discuss a lot more than just architecture.
A recent study of the challenges facing these students underscores the fact that traditional design industry job hunting strategies just won’t cut it in times like these.
The study by the Geogetown Center on Education and the Workforce noted that the 13.9% unemployment rate of architecture majors far exceeds that of students specializing in other fields. Contrast that figure with the 5.4 per cent rate of health industry majors, the students with the lowest unemployment rate.
Once, students who showed up with a degree, resume, and portfolio could count on getting a job.
Not any longer.
Now their chances for employment hinge on their ability to identify key challenges facing prospective employers — and offer solutions to them.
They need to sell themselves, and explain how they can help a company increase profits, save time and money, etc.
Twelve Career Concepts to consider when applying for a a job with an architecture or interior design firm, or starting your own:
1/ You’re in Sales. First and foremost, you’re not selling sofas and space planning. You’re selling yourself.
2/ You’re Self-Employed. You’re the CEO of your own personal corporation.
3/ Your Work Doesn’t Sell Itself. Success takes more than pretty pictures.
4/ Create a Killer Commercial. Spell out your specialness in 30 seconds or less.
5/ Sell “Now!” as well as “Wow!” Explain why this is the very best time to hire you — or invest in your design services.
6/ Spread the Good Word. It doesn’t matter how good you are if only you know.
7/ There’s Stength in Numbers. Add mentors, coaches, financial advisers and others to your Personal Team.
8/ Think BIG. It’s as easy to catch the cahunas (the super employer or client) as it is to mix with the minnows.
9/ Don’t Try to be “Busy.” “Financially independent” makes more sense. Make the most valuable and productive use of your time.
10/ Consider “Questions from Hell.” Prepare answers–ahead of time–for the questions you least want to hear.
11/ Ask! You probably won’t get what you don’t ask for: a job, a raise, a promotion, a sale, etc.
12/ Don’t Quit. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. The most successful design professionals are the most persistent.
Fred Berns is a career counselor, trainer and coach in the interior design industry.