Five Essential Career Tips for Architects


Catapult Your Career with Advice from Recruitment Professionals

When you first decided to become an architect, you likely had a vision of where you hoped your career path would lead. However, life is busy, work is demanding, and it isn’t always obvious how to get from where you are today to the place you hoped to be in 5, 10 or even 15 years. As recruitment professionals, everyday our team meets with talented individuals who are grappling with this reality. The most successful among them share several common strategies. Here are five pro-tips for designing your own career management plan.

Leverage the power of your portfolio. Even if you aren’t thinking about making a move right now, it is important to keep your portfolio up to-date. You may find it helpful to create a personal website that is easily accessible and always evolving to feature your most current work. When you do decide to apply for a job, ensure you tailor your portfolio to showcase the most relevant projects and skill sets for your would-be employer.

Look for roles that allow for real development. Seek out opportunities that will push your limits. Early in your career it is important to find opportunities to develop a complete understanding of the entire design process, from schematic design to construction administration. Avoid roles that pigeon hole you into one skill-set or a single aspect of the design process – you may find smaller firms and offices offer you a greater breadth of experience than their larger counterparts. Consider opportunities for career progression carefully when assessing your options. This may be even more important than initial salary – a temporary pay reduction for the right role may offer you more opportunity for senior positions in the future.

Build your network. Get involved in local associations and societies that will strengthen your ties within the architecture community. Actively look for opportunities to create connections with key decision makers in the organizations you hope to work for or with in the future. Stay on top of what’s new and exciting in the local industry – you’ll have more to contribute to networking conversations and a better idea of who you want to connect with.  

Never stop learning. Technology is constantly changing and evolving. If you aren’t evolving with it, you risk being left behind. Take an active role in developing new skills, competencies and familiarity with software – look for professional development opportunities, either by seeking to work for firms that have adopted a cutting-edge approach to technology or by investing in your own learning. Certifications are a must. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) are excellent resources for development opportunities.

Cultivate a professional digital footprint. What will prospective employers and recruiters learn about you when they Google your name? Be more easily and accurately found my auditing what is published about yourself. Filling out your LinkedIn and Archinect profile is a great start. Help recruiters understand your career storyline by including the details of your education, volunteer work, awards and recognition, and even additional information on each of the roles you’ve held. If a recruiter is looking for a Designer with experience in multi-unit residential projects, they will likely conduct searches based on related key words. The more detail you provide in your profile, the more likely you will show up on relevant searches. Leaving your profile with bare bones information means it’s less likely to be noticed. Also, ensure your profile image is professional. An unprofessional image is more detracting than no image at all.

As Charles Eames said, “Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” And you need a thoughtfully designed approach to realize your career goals. Luckily, creating the blueprint to get you there is within your control, it just requires forethought and a little creativity.

Interested in learning more about the career trends and opportunities in the field of architecture? Connect with our team.

Mark Gillis, Senior Consultant and Thomas Pugh, Recruitment Consultants specialize in creating ideal matches between leading organizations and talented professionals in the design and construction industry within the Northeastern United States. With established networks among local employers and skilled professionals, they provide market insight and honest feedback to help ensure your success. They are committed to partnering with candidates and clients to achieve career advancing moves.