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Searching for an internship can be very unpredictable, but there are some tips and tricks that might give you a leverage over other applicants.
Landing a good internship involves several factors. Some might not be hiring at the moment, while some companies might be looking for several interns. Your main goal is to find your dream companies and make your application stand out from among the rest.
Always remember that your first internship is the beginning of a lifelong career. You might decide to switch jobs, but your field of interest remains the same. And the experience you have in the first internship or job will help shape your views towards working in an office.
So, it is vital that you make a choice carefully. Do not settle for just anything that you come across. We have carefully curated a list of points that you should remember and take note of to learn how to get an architectural internship.
Read on to know all about it.
How To Get An Architecture Internship
Tips To Bagging An Internship
Most offices look for prior experience on one hand while you are supposed to gain knowledge from your first internship on the other hand. So, the process is a little tricky, but it is nothing that you cannot achieve. Follow the following tips carefully and you should be well prepared to ace interviews.
Write A Brag Sheet
Before beginning the search for a suitable internship, you should have all your achievements listed out. This is a personal document that will help you decide the kind of training you want and help ace the interview.
It is an excellent way to understand the kind of employment you want in the future. So, a brag sheet basically is a sheet that consists of all your achievements and qualifications that will give leverage to whatever you say in the interview.
Things To Include In A Brag Sheet
Make sure that you mention all the following points while curating this sheet. It should include:
- Every educational qualification that you have
- Every degree that you received
- All your professional qualifications
- Every seminar and course that you have attended
- Photoshop and designing software knowledge that you have
- Places that you have lived and traveled to
- Every piece of artwork that you have created
- Places that you have volunteered at
- Problems and challenges that you have solved
- Design competitions that you have participated in/won
- All projects that you have done so far
Once this list is ready, you will easily be able to see and remember all your achievements. And you will be surprised to find so many qualities that you have. Search for all the documentation needed to verify your claims and keep them handy just in case. Some offices could be very strict and might ask for proof during the interview process.
Now the next step will be to collect the experiences and elements that will help leverage this kind of internship that you want. Every bit of information is not necessary, and the employer would not want to hear about it.
Decide on the ones that are essential from the long list and create a separate list that you would want to add to your resume.
Perform Extensive Research
Researching the companies that you want to work with is the second most essential thing on this list. But you do not need to spend hours getting to know the company. It is important to know where to stop, and to help you find that, we have created a list of topics. Finding the answers to these will help you bag the job you want.
Topics To be Included
Make a note of the following topics, and you can follow this chart for every company that you are interested in.
- Name of the company
- The number of years that it has been in business
- Location of the headquarters and the possible offices
- Number of employees
- Current and past projects that they have worked on
- Their niche
- Structure of ownership
- Any possible contacts that you may have in the company
- The number of interns they hire
- Kind of mentorship that you may expect
Once you have this list ready, it is time to choose the companies that you want to work in. It is best to keep a list of at least 30 names and rank them on the basis of your preference. Here we would suggest that you maintain a spreadsheet.
This will help you keep a watch on the details of every company, and you will know the ones that have responded back for an interview and which have not. Color code the entire list to make it easier for you to figure out the potential ones. Keep columns for location, date of the application, interview date, and any details of responses received.
A good network is key, and we cannot stress this enough. Most architectural firms hire from word of mouth. When somebody in the community puts in a word, it is always advantageous and may help you get your dream job.
So, first, contact anyone you might know from this field. Professors are a good way to begin as they will know people from the community. They might know of job openings and about companies that are hiring.
Also, remain in good contact with your professors even after college and university are over. You never know when opportunity strikes, and they might help you get that first internship at a great place.
Another important network building website is LinkedIn. This has a lot of potential and will help you come in contact with employees of a firm that you want to be a part of. You could read bios and past work to understand better the kind of job profiles a company is looking for.
Join architecture groups on LinkedIn and interact with people who come from the same background. They might be able to help you find your niche. You will also get to know about the current scenario and of any new happenings in this specific field.
Conferences are another place to meet people. Check for conferences relating to your field and try to attend as many as you can. You can meet a lot of interesting people there, and you might chance upon a great opportunity.
Approach With Focus
There is a reason why we mentioned targeting 30 companies at a time. There are people who send out a generic application to 100 companies or so, and mostly they fail. It is all in the kind of focused approach that you aim for.
It is best to send a well-researched application that is targeted to a specific company. It is alright if you can only send out 2-3 applications a day. Be thorough with your research and add your portfolio, resume, cover letter. A targeted approach will put you above many in a jiffy.
Another important thing to remember is time. It is always wise to start early. Most internships happen during the summer break, and by May-June, all positions are filled. Now, if you begin applying in late April, it is already too late, and all the good internships are gone.
Ensure that you start researching from January itself, and you send out applications by March. There are 3 months in between to do a detailed study of the firms. Consult your professors for knowledge about firms with good mentors and proceed. Remember, when talking about internships, it is always best to prioritize quality over quantity.
Firms receive a lot of applications, and often they do not follow up if you are rejected. But it is essential that you follow up after having sent your application. Mention a time that you can call them in the cover letter that you send out. Make sure that you call at the time mentioned. If they do not pick up, call them again in 3-4 days.
This might be sounding a little too persistent, but most companies will be impressed. They will like the extra way that you are going to get the internship, and you might even be reconsidered.
A word of caution here. Do not call before a week has passed. This is the minimum amount of time that you should give them to check your resume and portfolio. You might get a response beforehand, and then you do not need to call. Follow whatever instructions that have been given in the mail.
Also, do not try to contact the heads or HR on other mediums. If you have sent a formal application, only contact them through emails and calls henceforth.
If you try to get in touch via LinkedIn or other social networking sites, it might be bothersome and you run the risk of getting blacklisted. Knowing the right way to persist is also vital and it helps build your image up.
Do not be disappointed if your dream office is not hiring at the moment. Another office might work out brilliantly for you, or you might land up in the dream one after the first internship. Always strive for better opportunities and make sure you have a good mentor.
It is essential to be on good terms with HR once you land an internship. Understand how they work and let them know about the difficulties that you might be facing. No one is expecting you to be perfect at the job. But if you show interest, every company will be happy to have you.
It is finally time to take our leave. Make your applications convincing, and HR professionals are going to give you leverage. And do remember to let us know about your experience in the comment section below.
That’s all for today!