5 Ways to be a Proactive Job Seeker

This week we have a guest post from Nylda at The Architectural Experiment.


Over at The Architectural Experiment, Nylda shares her experiences of studying and working in architecture. From applying to architecture school, to the processes, resources and outcomes that have shaped Nylda’s architecture journey so far.


Here Nylda is sharing with us her experiences and advice for being proactive when searching for a job. She has some great tips here, so be sure to check it out.

5 Ways to be a Proactive Job Seeker


As lockdown measures ease, it can still be a challenge to find work especially if you are an inexperienced graduate in 2020. With the job market slowly opening up, it can feel like there aren’t any opportunities for you to find work when there are fewer and fewer job adverts for roles that are particular to you. The easy thing to do would be to simply wait and expect for an opportunity to arise that you fit the criteria for, but that shouldn’t be the case at all. So here are a few ways you can still be proactive on your job hunt in the world of architecture and design.

Attend workshops you have an interest in


This might seem like one of those activities that are almost an addition to rather than a place to start. But getting involved in workshops online (a lot of which are free) can be a great place to either get your questions answered and build some connections with those who are in the same position or have an expertise that might follow your interests. With events regularly advertised on sites like Eventbrite it can be a great way of seeing what is going on especially if it is something skills orientated or subject specific to something you are struggling with.  The job hunt can be a lonely endeavour so don’t feel like you have to go at it alone, with challenging times past us, you shouldn’t give up on the chance to develop a network and gain some valuable insights on the process of improving your chances of getting a placement.

Keep track of the places you have applied to


As much as it might feel like there isn’t much you can do to increase your chances of getting work, being organised goes a long way. Whether it is an excel spreadsheet, a physical notebook or notion page there is no right way to do it, but simply finding a place where you can track all the information on the jobs you’ve applied to, the contacts, follow ups and deadlines you’ll need to remember will help you. Keeping track is just one of many ways you can make sure you are applying your efforts in the right places and can work as a system of accountability for yourself. The categories that are great to keep note of can include:

  • the role title 
  • location 
  • application format (through a job advertising platform like dezeen, RIBA jobs or recruitment agencies, or directly via their website as some of many ways jobs can be found) 
  • follow up dates to your application (whether they state it or not) 
  • particular name/person of contact 
  • noting down what appealed to you about the role/company

The information you decide to keep track of may differ from this list as it is an individual practice that should be tailored for the information you may need right now or later as you progress within your search. 

Keep upgrading your CV and Portfolio


Alongside a cover letter, these are the most vital documents you will have to constantly be using for applications. There is a debate around whether you need a cover letter, as it is an additional document but one that you aren’t always guaranteed is read and assisting the rest of your job applications. Both your CV and Sample Portfolio are pieces of work to demonstrate literally and physically your ability to present yourself and the skills you have to offer for any given role. If you aren’t looking for new ways of formatting your cv you aren’t doing the information you present any favours. 

There is no perfect way to word things but constantly seeking to be clearer and detailed in what you do have as skills and experiences can help. A sample portfolio will differ to a full portfolio, it is a highlight of your best work ranging from from 5 – 10 pages (A4 in most cases) depending on the role and what you believe best represents the skills and interests you have in the role you apply for. The specific criteria will differ as each employer will differ in what they want to see from applicants so it is always worth checking beforehand. Employers don’t want to see all your work, besides, the file size limit will mean that you’ll need to be selective to tailor your work to the role but also to the varied skills and experience you may have to show. 

Make speculative applications to companies you want to work for


One thing I wish I did more was to apply speculatively to jobs that weren’t hiring at the time that I was looking for work. Now as many of the suggestions, these aren’t guarantees to get you a job right away. At first, it may seem like the only way to apply for jobs is through adverts but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Putting yourself out there, especially when you will have taken the time to find how to apply speculatively and have gone out of your way to contact a company may help you showcase your willingness to work for said company. This isn’t to say don’t apply through job adverts but you’ve got nothing to lose. 

Learn a new skill 

I hear this more times than not and there is a lot of truth to it. As you go day in and day out the excitement you once had about architecture and design can slowly dissipate as you aren’t doing the exciting parts you once were submerged in at university. Revit seems to be a frequent software suggested to architecture students to learn, which you should if you want to add to existing designs software capabilities. But the best way to go about deciding what to learn is to learn a skill that you want to learn, not just what may seem like you need to learn. Whether it is learning a new language, a software skill, photography, graphic design, writing, website designing, these are some of many skills that if appeal to you, you should learn regardless of whether you deem it as ‘architectural’ or not. It will allow you to stretch your creativity and problem solving skills, and perhaps you might even be able to add to your portfolio and not just on your cv.

You can read more great articles from Nylda at The Architectural Experiment or check out her Instagram.

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