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The second you hear the word “intern,” you immediately wince. Aren’t they the inexperienced, exhausted workers? Well, not really!
Times change, people move on, our vocabularies continue expanding. What we once knew as an “intern” is now an outdated concept in the professional field. An intern is not something you simply call the recent graduate who is working at their summer job to gain real-world experience. Even the experienced can be interns.
Sounds confusing? Don’t worry. In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about architecture internships. Moreover, you will gain a better understanding of why this just might be the most important job of your career.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into the matter.
Importance Of Architecture Internships
When you say the words “architecture intern,” you might envision an undergraduate or a recent graduate who is young, energetic, and enthusiastic about learning. Although you wouldn’t be entirely wrong to assume this, the definition of an intern has evolved over time.
Who Is An Architecture Intern?
An architecture intern is anyone who is currently studying or even a recent graduate with a couple of years of experience. It might even be used to describe an individual who is currently interning with an architectural firm, even though they have prior work experience.
Why Is Architecture Internship Important?
Most colleges and universities are great at teaching students how to be better students. However, the place where they lack is this – teaching students to be good employees.
An architecture internship might be one of the most important jobs of your career because it is the transition of moving from a student to an employee. As you start your first internship, you will learn what it means to be a real architect – from doing the on-site jobs to creating files, talking to clients, and developing good work ethics.
Since there are a multitude of architecture internships in the current market, it doesn’t hurt if you are slightly picky. Look into all the offers carefully, weigh out the pros and cons, and only then make your decision.
The architecture internship that you choose can model your entire career – if you play the cards right. It is here that you will learn all the necessary skills you need to be a good employee and architect. Once you complete your internship, the world will be your oyster.
How To Get An Architecture Internship?
The first thing you need to do is create a mental map of where you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years. Do you want to work alone, with a small or big firm, or work on residential projects? Once you have your goal in mind, you can take the next steps to achieve it.
Create Your Brag Sheet
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A ‘brag sheet’ is basically an exhaustive list of all your accomplishments, awards, and everything worth mentioning (about your professional life) to your potential employers.
Keep updating this ‘brag sheet’ regularly, and of course, don’t lie. Your potential employer will most likely do a background check, so there is no use lying or ‘bragging’ falsely. Once you create this brag sheet, you can use it as a resource for all your future applications.
Everyone knows how important networking is in any industry. When it comes to looking for an architecture internship, your current network can work like a gold mine.
Most new interns are hired by word of mouth and referrals. So, if you have a strong network, it would be advantageous to dip into it at this time. Check with your college and university professors to see if they have any leads. Show them your resume and tell them about your goals and plans.
More importantly, make an impression so that they have you at the top of their minds. Their references matter and you might end up bagging one of the best internships with the right networking skills.
Spend Time Researching
One of the most important things you can do at this point is to spend time actively researching. Get into the habit of creating lists of all the architecture firms you have in mind and what you like about them.
Also, add what their eligibility criteria are and if you meet them or not. If you are required to gain additional skills to be eligible, can you, and if yes, then how? All these points are pertinent when doing your research.
It is also essential to think about your own goals during this period. What kind of career do you see for yourself? Do you want to build 3D models? Work on drafting? Work on small scale projects?
This mental blueprint will help you make better choices.
Using A Targeted Approach
Once you have your list of architectural firms, you are ready for the next step. This step is where a lot of over-enthusiastic individuals make a mistake.
Instead of focusing on quantity, go for the quality. In this context, it means that instead of sending out applications and your CV and ‘brag sheet’ to all the firms on your list, use a targeted approach.
Pick out your high priority firms and send them your application first. Tailor your CV and cover letter for each application. Sending out a generic application will not get you noticed, so be very careful about this.
Persistence Is Key
If you want that architecture internship, you need to go get it. Don’t expect the offices to get back to you after one look at your application. You need to ensure that you make a strong first impression. Call the office and check up on the progress of your application.
If the office doesn’t encourage phone calls, send a second email to check up on the progress. Remember to be courteous and grateful for their time, as all these little things count.
Whether or not an architecture internship will be the most exciting or fun aspect of your career is debatable. However, the fact that it will add the most value is not!
When looking for an architecture internship, remember to keep an open mind, and have a goal in your head. You will end up making better decisions when you have created a mind-map for yourself and your future. At the end of the day, an architect needs to make good decisions.
With that, we will take your leave. Good luck and take care!