Career advice for students and recent grads
Professionals from Page frequently participate in career fairs, teach college courses and mentor recent graduates. These three leaders have some advice to share:
For students and recent grad job applicants
- Apply everywhere. Although a firm’s office in one market may not be taking on new talent at this time, there may be a need in another office. As more and more design firms and clients embrace the remote and distributed workforce model, and technology enables them to do so—it’s happening—the opportunity to interview, be hired, and work remotely will continue to increase.
- Take advantage of career fairs. They provide an important “access” vehicle, not just to jobs but also to potential mentors. The ability to gather advice from someone in the profession on how to approach a thesis project or which career options to explore is hugely beneficial to an aspiring architect or engineer.
- Consider the size of the firm. On small firms – and small projects – you’ll be part of a small team as well. It may even just be you and one senior architect. You’ll get to work directly with the client and experience all aspects of the project. At larger firms you may only get to experience a smaller part of projects, but you’ll get to work with – and learn from – seasoned experts. Be sure to learn all you can from them.
- Never be afraid of hearing “No”. You may knock on a hundred doors that will remain closed but if you persist, the 101st door will open to a great opportunity. It would be fantastic to find your dream job right away, but don’t get discouraged if you need to start small. You will learn something new no matter where you go, and will apply this knowledge at your dream job when you get there.
For new hires
- Consider how to always add value:
- Deliver complete work products and be extremely dependable in the quality of your work.
- Create a reputation as a quick learner. You can accelerate your career by demonstrating knowledge and skills beyond what is expected for your age and experience.
- Whatever tools you’re using — Revit or Excel, for example — go out of your way to learn them extraordinarily well. People who can use tools better than others get noticed.
- Constantly learn. Read, study, and really immerse yourself in a regulation that interests you, such as the International Building Code, the Life Safety Code, or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Watch videos and take online courses. If you understand any regulations as well as the senior people you’re working with, you will also advance much faster than your peers.
- Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. A lot of smart and talented young people who doubt themselves stay quiet even though they know the answer. Speak up, ask questions, ask for opportunities and new challenges. It can be intimidating but is the fastest way to learn the trade and gain experience.
- Learn multiple disciplines. If you get a chance to work for A/E firm, whether you are an engineer or an architect, take advantage of the opportunity and learn other disciplines. Understanding how other trades work will make you an excellent professional and will offer more opportunities to advance up the career ladder.