It seems talk about interns is in the air. Dallas Architect, Larry Paschall, AIA and I just completed our latest audio podcast from The Architecture Happy Hour. Our topic of interest was “It’s All About the Interns” in which we discussed things to consider when you find yourself in the job hunt and also when you are the prospective employer.
While wading through my sea of email today I noticed a group update from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Young Architects Forum on Linkedin. The discussion noted was started by my friend and fellow Dallas Architect, Bob Borson who posted “Writing Your Resume – What Not to Do” from his blog, Life of an Architect. Inspired by his comments, I decided I had to share some of my own resume observations too.
The following tips are mostly born out of frustration from the resumes I see on a weekly basis. I want you, the well-intentioned architectural intern behind the resume to be successful, so I’ll try to offer suggestions to help you fine-tune your efforts… after all, we were all there at one time or another.
- In the email you send with an attached resume, please for heaven’s sake, put all of your contact info in your email signature, including a phone number. I’m assuming you want me to contact you if you’ve sent me your resume. Why would you make me hunt for that information?
- While we are talking about the email, please get the name of my firm correct and look us up on the web… you’ll find we are a firm of 3 people. We don’t have a HR Department, so don’t address your email to one.
- If you are contacting me from a city/state that is not local to my location in Dallas, Texas, tell me why you are sincerely interested in moving to Big D to work for my firm. I’m not going to spend time looking at your resume if I can’t figure out why you have contacted me. Not to sound harsh, but I’m busy.
- If you choose to elaborate about your relocation or interest, tell me a brief, but true story – something that will help me remember you and want to learn more about you. Paint me a picture so I can imagine how you might fit in our firm.
- If you are serious about your job search then you better have a complete profile on Linkedin.com, including a professional-looking photo (even if it’s a snapshot, dress for the part and present yourself well). It tells me that you understand the importance of social media and that you are proactive in connecting with people. Include the link in your email signature. Don’t forget to Google your name to see what’s out there… because I will.
- This one might pertain more to the interview, but start thinking about it now. Part of what I’m looking for in a potential employee is to see if his or her personality is a good fit for our firm culture. What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? What gives you energy and lifts your mood when you think about it or do it?
Let me offer an example for that last tip. I can get lost in the facinating world of genealogy. I start researching one of the branches of my family tree and the next thing I know it’s 1 o’clock in the morning. You might think, “Weird. She is one step away from seeing dead people.” I would offer that the curious, investigator side of me lends itself perfectly to design reviews with colleagues where they benefit from my different perspective and pointed questions. It also could explain my love of historic buildings.
I give you great credit for sticking with your efforts and trying new ways to connect with potential employers. Each small thing you can do to improve the way you research firms, contact firms, get their attention and set yourself apart will get you closer to finding a position that’s right for you. Please feel free to share your experiences and tips here in the comments section.
Photo credit: http://nycreativeinterns.com/2011/04/how-to-resume-and-cover-letter-writing/
Dallas Architect Laura Davis, AIA is a vice president and director of marketing at HPD Architecture LLC. She and her partners offer custom design services for residential, commercial, and institutional projects in Dallas and the North Texas area. For more information please call 214.751.2300.
Laura Davis is a registered architect and interior designer in the state of Texas and Colorado, and a founding member of hpd architecture + interiors. Laura extensive experience includes residential as well as commercial and retail projects. She also has a particular interest in restoration, holding a certificate in Historic Preservation. She is energized by the character of older homes and the stories of those who have lived there. Responding to the needs of the current owner, while also honoring the personality of the original home is a delicate process to be enjoyed.