In order to provide our community with better insight into the job application process within Architecture, we have asked decision-makers from around the industry to provide us with the most common mistakes that applicants make.
Many of our larger firms in the survey underscored two common mistakes made by applicants, which are:
- not clearly describing previous work (both “good” and “bad”)
- providing too much information during the interview
1. The Value of Properly Defining Your Previous Work and Role
Some principals from larger firms stated that the applicant should be able to define their individual contribution on projects and provide succinct and relevant information. Most principals say they value honesty when clearly defining your past roles and individual contributions in previous work experience. Rambling about experiences without tying it to a lesson learned or bigger ideas tends to be a distraction and detracts from your presentation of self.
Make sure that you have clearly defined how you impacted your previous firm’s team positively, and ways that you can improve over time. Principals are looking for talent, but they are also looking for a wonderful teammate to join their family. You must show how you can fit in to their community, yet at the same time highlight ways that you can provide a new perspective.
2. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)
Many firms try to find the learning opportunities that the applicant has taken on at work and outside of work too. It is also important to talk about your experience in a holistic manner – i.e. focused only on the outcome, not the journey or strategy to get you there. Focus on making sure you have the basics completed and reviewed properly. At the end of the day, it is not about complexity, but rather how simple the solution can be.
3. Know The Company You Are Applying To
A key mistake applicants make is not knowing the company they are applying to! You heard me correctly, they do not know the company they are applying to. How can you properly define your role within their firm without knowing what they are about? Ask yourself this question.
4. The Importance of Providing A Top Notch Portfolio and CV
Another key mistake applicants make is misrepresenting their academic background, specifically software skills. Sometimes applicants do not even include their portfolio, and many times the portfolios firms have received had poor graphics or the applicant was not being selective with their best work. Not including a cover letter is another mistake and in some cases these candidates are not even considered.
Make sure you double check your grammar and correct bad grammar/spelling. Many firms commented it reveals a lack of precision and attention to detail!
When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-US, and improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in.