15 Sep Internship Secrets
As architecture recruiters, we don’t want COVID-19 to get in the way of students entering the profession. But the pandemic continues to impact our industry as firms strategize how to continue their internship programs while keeping everybody safe. Although some employers chose to cancel internships, others were able to offer remote work opportunities to their candidates. Fortunately, students who are still interested in design jobs can still land internships by focusing on these details and secrets to stand out from the competition.
We encourage students to submit their applications well before the summer internship season begins, especially for paid internships since they are much more competitive. For instance, if you wait to apply in April or May it’s probably already too late. An effective strategy is to find the start date and apply six months prior to it because most employers screen for interns between January and March. Unpaid internships are a little more flexible and filled on a first come, first served basis, but some can be arranged in as little as a month in advance.
Informing your current network– family, friends, academic advisor, professors, etc.– that you are seeking an internship is a good place to start. Then, you can branch out to job fairs, lectures, and other events to make new connections with those who currently work in the industry. Don’t hesitate to send out emails asking for advice, or even contacting recruiters and employers directly about informational interviews. LinkedIn is a good platform you can use to feature your best work. Here are some other recommended organizations that you can reach out to:
- Asian American Architect and Engineering Association (AAa/e)
- Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
- National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
- ACE Mentor program (for high school students)
- Architect U.S.
Employers receive hundreds of internship applications per day, so creating a top-notch résumé is essential if you want to stand out. Focus on including the right keywords, format, and experience to differentiate it from others. Another secret that we discovered is that firms are looking for more candidates who are proficient in remote work technologies during the pandemic, so make sure to highlight any of those relevant projects.
If all of the internships at a company are already full, then you can still get your foot on the door by offering to volunteer. Otherwise, Habitat for Humanity is just one organization that is related to architecture that can provide you with opportunities to build and improve places around your community.
There are still internship opportunities available, but you have to be more flexible during a pandemic. Apply early, leverage virtual networking, and don’t overlook the value of volunteering to gain experience for design jobs.
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