So I’ve gotten some messages from seniors asking for advice on where and what kind of companies/ firms they should get their logbook hours from. Here are some things to consider before sending your resumes.
Start with the end in mind. As early as now, you might already have an idea what kind of practice you’d want to do in the future. Do you want to be a researcher? Do you want to write books? Do you want to be a master renderer or do specifications? Architecture is not only about drawing. The business aspect of things could be a driver for you to get a kind of exposure to processes that were only taught in theory in Professional Practice 3. Your idols in the industry could also be a kind of inspiration. Which firms do you look up to? Do you want to be a contractor in the future? You have the option to get experience wherever you want. You just have to develop a laser focus on the important things you want to learn out there. Internships are all about the experience, and the type of mentors hip you would want to have.
Portfolio and sample of work. Now if you still don’t have an idea what kind of practice you’d want to have in the future, capitalize on what you’re good at. Nothing is irrelevant in life. With internships, you’re basically offering your services to your mentors in the industry; and in exchange, they show you a bit of their ways. Some practices are shaped by the kind of projects they tend to get over the years. So going with your strengths could play a big part on where you could go. Your thesis could be a great way to introduce what you can do.
Going back to your past plates, what were the projects you enjoyed? Is there a certain plate you excelled at (or want to get better with?). Since an internship is a learning experience, maximize that potential by aligning your interests with people who can help you get better. Of course you have to present samples of work aligned with the company you want to apply to. You need to show them what kind of intern you could be to better help them make a decision where to place you inside the firm.
When you’ll be doing your internship. Are you a fresh grad (or gradWaiting?) or a senior looking for a place for the summer? Are you willing to work for more than three months? Are you planning to stay with the company for a year? See, internships are a give and take kind of thing. Companies tend to choose people who could stay for the long run. They’ll be investing time and talent on you and it better be spent on the right person. Consider the kind of work they could give you if you’re staying just for three months. The longer you stay with the company, the more kinds work you can get into. I suggest going over the three months and work into the first semester of fifth year. You have to want it. Working in the morning and going to class in the evening is not a walk in the park but if you want to build your relationship with your mentor, make them want to keep you.
Convenience. Internships tend to have little monetary compensation. Consider the travel time and the commute/ gasoline cost (and food) before applying. Yes, working for your dream firm may be a big opportunity but personally speaking, I would rather get my license first before working far away from where I live. Plan your day and route if ever you plan on working while studying.
Do your research on different companies you’re eyeing. See if they have websites or ask upperclassmen who were able to work there. You need to be aligned with the corporate culture to calibrate what you need to expect from that kind of practice.
Customize your resumes for the company you’re sending it to. Now that you’ve done your research about them, prepare your resume highlighting aspects that you think makes you a good hire for the company. Make sure the contact details are in order and if you’re planning to work while studying, it would be a good idea to attach your schedule of classes. If you’re sending your resume via email, make sure your cover letter is properly done (keep it short) and with the appropriate subject head. Always save your resume in PDF form with your last name as part of the File name.
Now, if you can do a walk in to personally hand in your application, please do so. It shows you’re serious about the job.
Prepare for an interview. There are a lot of write ups on how to succeed with your interviews but always make sure that you show up on time and present yourself well. Remember you’re there to learn. Firms tend to look for someone trainable. You don’t have to be the best but make sure they see that you are eager to learn.
That’s about it for now. Good luck, seniors! Represent the school well.