Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Part 1 year Out Diary: Entry 1

The exact date of when i finished my first degree has already escaped my head, or perhaps it wasn't there in the first place, the countless deadlined accumilating in a final exhibition has managed to remove my sense of time, and the unknown factor of each submission confuses me as to when my degree actually did terminate, all I know is that it now has.
The degree show 2 weeks away is something of a full stop to my 3 years at manchester School of Architecture, climaxing in what I hope to be employment. 2 weeks of no deadlines, 2 weeks of freedom, possibly. Or 2 weeks to make a head start on my future career. Although is it a head start? I endlessly asked myself and those around me when to start applying for Part 1 jobs. Christmas, Easter, just before portfolio submission, or once deadlines are finished. The answer I still don't know. In hindsight maybe at Easter, or just after, but then you don't have al your finished, and probably best, work, an essential section of one's CV. In reality there is no correct time to begin the search, just be aware of when it's best for you, as the added pressure of employment amidst final year deadlines can be a lot to handle.
I decided after the Synoptic. All work was finished and I could spend my time solely on my future. The CV was the first on the list. I already had one of sorts, although it included my year 6 SAT's results, and my previous employment looked to promote my 3 year stint as a paperboy, something practices aren't particularly looking for. A new CV was needed. The design was first. Architecture is design, if you can design a building to the most precise detail, but your CV was done on Microsoft Word and uses Comic Sans as a font, the bin will be where it will reside. M
y design is coherent with with my portfolio work and follows a simple hierarchy layout designed on InDesign. As for the content this is where you have to strict, concise and ruthless. My cousin, who is coincidentally an architect, has seen countless CVs come through her office. She quickly scans the pages before making a decision in a matter of seconds. The document is a foot in the door, keep it simple and to the point, don't be afraid to not include previous jobs if they bare no relation to architecture, but remember you can always bring it up in an interview, where they make a decision about you.
The CV was finished, and now the task of applying. Unsurprisingly there aren't many jobs at the moment. About 7 appear on both the RIBA Appointments site and BD Online Jobs section. In my searches I have come across several other advertised positions, but they appeared directly on their own site. So the next thing to do is send your CV with a covering letter to whoever you can find, and now is not the time to be picky. A job is better than no job and the type and location of firm should be irrelevant. As for how to contact the practices I used various ways.
Firstly firms that I knew of, and of whom I particularly liked their work, I sent hardcopies with individual covering letters. This is expensive however. Roughly costing £2 per copy (including postage). The rest I sent by email. Something I don't particularly like to have done but time and money is of the essence. As for who to contact you have to utilise the available information from journals/ articles/ magazines. Always use RIBA's "find an architect" here you can search all cities for chartered architects. Contact information is provided and is probably the best source. However when you begin to search London the list explodes and another source has to be found. Here I turned to the AJ. It's newstream gives a vast source of architects that have recently won competitions or schemes, meaning they have work and now maybe the time to send a CV. The site also has the AJ100, a list of 100 architects with the greatest turnover last year Back. Other sources are those featured in awards and nominations, and by all means ask people you know, a personal attachment is unbelievably useful.
To the End of Year Show. In previous years it is where local architects would come and traditionally leave their business card on the work of which they liked most, with the opportunity of a job at the end. Times however have changed and very few are present at my year's show. BDP being the exception, they lay a few cards out on people's work and are planning on hiring 6 people this year. The night ends and although a great send off, and joyful night, a job is no closer than before. Proving that the CV and personal correspondence is the most beneficial. All I can do now is wait.

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