When you begin reaching out to companies for employment as a young professional, it is difficult to differentiate yourself, but it is also difficult to put yourself in the shoes of the decision makers at a firm as you may not have gained the experience necessary. In order to gain a better idea of what it takes to be of more value to a firm, you must be able to put yourself in their shoes. We have compiled some key ideas that you must keep in mind when interacting with firms and starting a new professional relationship.
Your Personality Shines Brighter Than Your CV
When we start the process of looking for a new opportunity, we tend to focus more on the documents we will be presenting them because we think that the CV and Portfolio is what will get us the job. This is true that you must invest time and energy into both of these documents. Yet what will you do once you are given the chance to interview with the firm?
It is in that moment that you realize the value of knowing what you want and who you are as a professional! Remember! This is a two way street, meaning the interviewers are also trying to find the best match, and the key way they find strong matches is by vetting the individual before, during, and after the interview. So you must be on top of your game throughout the whole process and show them who you are.
Many times young professionals fail to realize that if you do not understand the interviewers on a personal level that you can never really know how to approach the personalization of your application. In this game the key is to focus on the person, not the application.
Make Sure You Are Flexible!
For those of us that enjoy having everything pre-planned before entering into a situation, at time you will need to be able to think on your feet and be flexible. Yet by focusing too much on planning you are forcing yourself to spend less time on the personal level of interactions before and during the interview. Take into account who you will be talking to!
For example, if you are being interviewed by the Principal and the Design Director, then you must adapt your approach accordingly to each. First off, they are two different individuals, but they are also focused on two different areas of the firm. During the interview, make sure you understand their interests, and their chosen position at the form is a good hint to start with. One is focused on design and the other about operations and management. Adjust accordingly!
Mannerisms while talking and your body language are two great ways of connecting with each individual. So if you are talking about your design skills and previous work, you might want to focus more of your eye-contact and gestures towards the Design Director, and vice versa. By understanding what each interviewer is trying to understand about you, then you can improve the personalization of your message.
Shape and Mold Who You Want To Be
Your application for Architecture school versus your application for a professional opportunity are going to be very different. You are no longer at school, and in the professional world you must be able to create strong professional relationships and networks of those you trust and confide in.
You must show the firm you are applying to that you have the specific skills required for the position, and that you are a person that is enjoyable to be around. At the end of the day, client/architect relationship is the basis for every firm. You should try to highlight the times that you worked with the team to solve a problem, but also times where you were able to carry the weight on your own and create value for the team.
Most people do not know exactly what they want until you show them! So make sure that you show them how much of an asset you can be for them by wearing many different hats, but also by being an incredible individual that walks the talk and is able to back up what they say with their clear actions and intent to help push the firm forward. If you show the decision makers how much they could lose by not hiring you, then your job is done!
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.