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Advice for Architecture Job Hunters

 

Last week we had an interesting question posted to our Ask an Architect feature about the difficulty in finding an architecture job. I thought this Q & A would be helpful to other architecture job seekers out there, especially the less experienced, so here is a reposting of that question and answer.

The Question


How hard, on a scale of 1-10, is it to get a job right after graduating with a Bachelors in Architecture?

The Answer


Good question. A lot of new architecture graduates and young professionals are facing this same issue right now. I wish I had better news, but I don't. Things are tough right now for architecture job seekers. If you want a scale, I would say an 8 in terms of difficulty. Many firms are letting people go or on hiring freeze.
 
However, I'm an optimist, so lets look at some positives given your situation.
 

You Cost Less

Because you are less experienced, you cost less to a potential employer. This means that hiring you is less of a financial commitment versus hiring a licensed architect or someone with 5+ years of experience.
 

You Are Young (I'm Assuming)

Now is a bad time to enter the job market, but things could be worse. You could have just been laid off as an experienced architect with kids, a mortgage, etc. Hopefully you are light on expenses and responsibilities. This gives you flexibility. You could work in another city or overseas where the economy may be better. You may also consider going for a masters, maybe not even in architecture (I recommend an MBA).
 

Part Time

Although many firms are hesitating to hire because of uncertainty, many still have work that needs to be done. You could offer yourself up for some part time work. Tell them no commitment, just by the hour. This is a great way to get in. Before you know it, they could get busier, and they'll turn to you first for a full time job.
 

Freelance

Even less of a commitment for a firm would be to offer yourself as a freelancer. You just need your own computer, software, and a place to work (probably home). Many firms love to outsource because they avoid the commitment and costs of an employee, but still have a place to get work done when they get busy. This may not be ideal for you, but given these hard times, it is a viable option that many people don't consider.
 

New Skills

Recent graduates often have better computer skills than professionals just a few years older. Use this to your advantage. Maybe you even have computer skills outside of architecture, like web design. Many firms utilize down time to redesign websites or reorganize themselves. Show that you can do more than just CAD.
 
Hopefully this gives you a glimmer of hope. Also keep checking back on our web site as we'll be releasing a guide to creative resumes in the coming months. Good luck out there.  

Comments

I think that the experience and insight above are very helpful for young architects!
Posted @ Tuesday, March 24, 2009 1:13 AM by Lee Chun Design Service
I am not sure what to tell a young architect. I am a registered architect with over 17 years of experience. I got laid off here in Indianapolis. I have now been out of a job for almost 4 weeks. We went from a 365 person firm to a 200 person firm in about two months.I am going to be reduced to opening my own practice. Small will be the only way to survive if you can't get hired by an established firm. A good thing might be to contact an established architect that is starting their own practice but a small one. I have to start putting to together a business plan, buy code books, get some contracts togther etc. So if you are just getting out of school, buck up and stay positive.
Posted @ Sunday, April 26, 2009 6:41 PM by Neil
I am an architect and looking for job since 2 years can anyone beleive???I have 8 years of experience with bachelor degree in architecture.My only problem is my degree is not USA degree.I wonder though I apply for intern,part time job,junior architect etc etc ,I wont get job .it is getting more and more harder as time passing.
Posted @ Sunday, May 03, 2009 4:47 PM by krish
I've been laid off as well, going on 6 weeks now. I'm not an architect but I'm a project designer whom didn't graduate from school. So I'm pretty sure that's hurting me right now. I'm looking to use this time to get my LEED green associate cert. 
Posted @ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:18 AM by Gino Lomeli
it is certainly awful out there for us in the Architecture profession. I have a Master's in Architecture, 8 years of experience, I am a LEED AP, completed IDP (already passed several ARE tests) so I'm in the process of getting my Registration, I am knowledgeable and experienced in Revit, CAD, etc... and still can't find a job. I have been uenmployed since August 2009.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 09, 2010 3:44 PM by Joey
Joey, 
 
So true. It pains me to see all the talented architectural professionals forced to hang on the sidelines during this ongoing downturn.  
 
My only advice is to get off the sidelines if you're in a position to do so. If you're of of work and not getting paid anyway, try using your skills without worry of financial gain. Design a product or piece of furniture. Offer your skills up to a non-profit - pro bono work. Anything to maintain motivation. Many of these things can also lead to paying positions and/or great additions to your portfolio. 
 
Not that there's a ton of work out there, but you could always start your own firm. Our 7 tips on starting a firm (also on this blog) may be of some help.  
 
Best of luck, 
 
Derek...
Posted @ Tuesday, March 09, 2010 3:59 PM by Derek Leavitt
I'm not an architect/designer, I'm an architectural photographer based in Southern California. And I want to tell you folks that I really feel for you out there. 
 
In the last couple of months, I'll bet I have visited 80 or 90 offices, and had telephone conversations with principals and marketing people at 30 more. I'll bet that the unemployment rate in the architecture profession is 50%. 
 
And it's not just architects. Most of these offices are in office buildings or business parks and exist side-by-side with many other types of businesses. And these parking lots and structures are half full. Everybody's hurting.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 20, 2010 4:48 PM by Mike Urbanek
Things aren't any better across the pond. Europe is in a major decline (still) 
 
I'm an architecture graduate (BSc, BArch Hons, MArch) who naively thought that 7 years in uni would guarantee me a job when I got out. After suffering the humiliation of claiming unemployment, sending out 50 CV's a day (with few if any replies), trying to pitch for private commissions, doing another Masters in Conservation (or Preservation in the US), I'm now offering myself up to work for free and practices still won't hire as it sends out a bad signal to their paid staff. 
 
Meanwhile all the other architects I know are being let go in favor of these free workers. I've got over two years good experience, won awards, can work all types of graphics software and now if I hand in my CV at Starbucks they turn their noses up at me saying 'I'm over qualified.'  
 
This generation is out of hope, and becoming disillusioned with the field and it's likely that many will leave to try gain employment elsewhere and never return. What's there to do? 
Posted @ Thursday, May 13, 2010 6:01 AM by Emma
Well at least i dont feel alone anymore, here in Costa Rica-Central America- things look the same, I am a registered architect here with 2 years experience and it´s very hard to find a job, and if you do they pay so little! I would love to start my own firm, but right now people is just not investing in costruction. I want to see the good side of this, maybe as a time to get ready for when things get better.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 06, 2010 3:52 PM by Rina
am architecture Recent graduates, im overseas now i fact i have been all my life and i just graduate in architecture engineering --- > in last few months am thinking of making money and fly to US .... it seems that work ist going well there , so any hope for me here ?
Posted @ Saturday, October 30, 2010 7:03 PM by feeras
I feel for everyone out there who can't find a job. I thought as well that spending 7 years in Undergrad and Grad school would afford me an easier time in the job market, but I was wrong. I have been searching for just over 7 months now and can't seem to catch a break. I get interviews, but with the amount of Architectural Graduates out there, I am not sure of any success. My only thoughts are keep your chin up and hope for the best. 
 
Canada, ottawa
Posted @ Wednesday, April 06, 2011 10:40 PM by Alexsa
move somewhere where there is work. Somewhere far from the US. It's not as bad where I am, I sent out CV to 10 firms and half have replied on the day. Interviews scheduled day after.
Posted @ Monday, November 14, 2011 11:28 PM by apple
Apple, 
 
 
 
Where do you live?
Posted @ Sunday, March 18, 2012 12:18 PM by Jay
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