Monday, May 21, 2012

Internship Seeking

I have my Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I started the fifth year program but ran into funding issues, i.e. I ran out of money. Now I need to work instead of finishing my degree. I wish it were different but this is not the case so…

A little about me, I am about to turn 39 and returned to school after many years as a carpenter. I have a lot of building experience. I was an independent contractor for many years so the resume looks a little thin for someone of my age. I bring a lot to the table that many of my academic colleagues do not. Much of this is due to my work history but mine is not the typical route to Architecture. Do you have any advice on how to proceed? 

My fear is that I will not represent myself properly and be looked over for someone who is a bit more of the typical candidate. I suppose that I am just wondering about how to best move forward with my career shift. 

My philosophy on work is more about fit than anything else. I'm not looking to be the next starchitect, I just want to do good work. I know that somewhere out there a firm could use someone with my skills but how does one go about finding that firm.  

Any advice that you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I can certainly appreciate your current situation; my best suggestion is to NETWORK.  I truly mean network -- each day, you should be meeting between 4-6 new individuals that can assist you in your search for an internship.

Start with those you know - family, friends, classmates, faculty and move to those you do not know.  Connect via FB, LinkedIn, other social media, attending architectural related events, volunteering, etc.  Your full-time job is to secure an internship and/or position.

Given your background is slightly different, you need to truly step back and determine what you bring to the table that your classmates do not -- what skills do you bring?  While it is necessary to present your education and background via a resume, your best approach is in-person.  Knock on doors of architectural firms.

One book to recommend is What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles.  It provides tremendous input on job search and career change.

Be very proactive and keep at it.


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