Episode 13: 8 Tips To Help You Land Your First Job In An Architecture Firm [Podcast]

You’re in the process of looking for your first real job in an architecture office. You’re nervous and may have a feeling of being overwhelmed at the whole process. Well have no fear, Eric and I are here to share our thoughts and experiences, both as an employee and an employer. 

episode 13

Eric and I each have over 25 years of experience (that’s 50 years for the math wizards) in the architecture profession and we have both been on the side of the employee trying to get the job and the employer having to sift through a pile of resumes to find qualified candidates. We discuss 8 Tips that will help you land your first real architecture job.

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The IDP program, administered by NCARB is going through changes. NCARB published a post last fall describing this in more detail. NCARB expects the first phase to be implemented around June 15, 2015. If you’re not up to date on the latest happenings with IDP, be sure to check out the post titled NCARB Board Approves Streamlining and Overhauling of the Intern Development Program (IDP) for more information. You don’t want to be left behind when you’re preparing for the Architect Registration Exam

Things discussed in this episode

1. Preparing
Do your Research before hand
Know they project types (will affect their priority, i.e.: budgets
LinkedIn profile:  have one, add results, ask for testimonials (professors count!)
Block (or take down) Facebook photos of you getting drunk at a kegger

2. Cover Letter
Not about you
Show how why they should hire you

3. Resume
Show how your different, not the same
9 second rule
Typos, including they’re/their
SEO rule (fear the machines reading your resume, use keywords)
Customize per job title or role (not per company)
Quantify everything
Not an autobiography, it’s a sales pitch (why you must hire me)
Use icons for apps you know, instead of text
Naming your file (not resume,pdf)

4. Getting an interview
Networking through LinkedIn
Taking them to coffee
Look for a mentor
Email follow up
Don’t show up unannounced
When to follow up (or not)
Connecting on LinkedIn (not on Facebook

5. Nailing the interview
Entering the room (with confidence)
Make eye contact, smile, shake hands
Your only goal is to connect with them
Ask questions back: INTERVIEW THEM.
– “What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?”
– “What are the common attributes of your top performers?”
– “What are the one or two things that really drive results for the company?”
– “What do employees do in their spare time?”
– “How do you manage deadlines? clients?”
Study their website
Look at their Facebook and twitter feed
Know their projects and be able to mention them by name
Prepare yourself for typical interview questions (and nail them!)
Don’t act weird or desperate (Eric’s creepy cupcake story)
Listen, don’t talk the whole time (nerves will make you want to fill the silence)
Never say anything negative about anyone ever
Acknowledge your mistakes (and what you learned)
Show your passion (we want to work with fun people)
Don’t be a weirdo (not too much passion)
Don’t bring up money too early, but bring it up at end

6. Negotiating Salary
Don’t give a number first
Ask 10% above what they quote (foolish to turn anyone down for that)
Give time period to prove yourself (if I don’t prove my value in 6 months, reduce my pay)

7. Follow ups
Within 3 days (more and you miss your window)
Follow up with a thank you letter (email ok, but cool card is another chance to show your personal touch)
Which means you have to mail it right after interview
No gifts (seems like a bribe)

8. Overcoming objections
No relevant experience (how summer job as a waitress applies here)
First job in Architecture
No AutoCAD
No portfolio
Put yourself in their shoes

Helpful Links:

The Interview Question that is always asked

Hardest Job Interview Questions

Five Best Questions to Ask

Logic Behind Most Common Interview Questions

How to Negotiate Your Salary

PODCAST:  Setting and Achieving Goals

PODCAST:  Succeeding as an Architect

WATCH:  Meg Jay on why you shouldn’t waste your 20s:

We created a set of goal setting worksheets for my students and interns, available at:


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Are you ready to land your first real architecture job? Have you already been on interviews? Please let us know in the comments below!

By |2019-01-21T18:39:33+00:00January 19th, 2015|Categories: Career Strategy, Podcast, Profession|0 Comments

About the Author:

David Doucette
David Doucette, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP is founder of Architect Exam Prep and CSEprep.com and has been helping candidates successfully prepare for and pass the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for the last four years. He also hosts a podcast dedicated to preparing for the California Supplemental Exam as well as CSE Video Tips at CSEprep.com.

About Architect Exam Prep LLC

We are two licensed architects who have a love for teaching and helping people get their license.  For the last decade, Architect Exam Prep has helped thousands of candidates pass their AREs through their fun and innovative study guides and coaching programs.

About the A.R.E.

The Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is an exam of 6 divisions used to assess your knowledge and skills regarding the practice of Architecture. Developed by NCARB, the exam is accepted by every state in the U.S. as a pathway to becoming a Licensed Architect.