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Vacancies are up – but jobs won't land at your feet

Having monitored the job market for some months it seems the downward trend has changed slightly, with some encouraging signs of late

The overall outlook of employers we speak to is more positive, mainly because their clients are more confident. As all property professionals know, confidence is a vital factor.

Despite this, the harsh reality remains: however good you are at your job and whatever your area of specialism, no one owes you a job or is desperately looking for you. You have to show people your worth.

Good old-fashioned networking is the key to freelance work while waiting for the upturn, but first you must still face up to both the depth of this recession and some decisions you may have to make.

OK, selling yourself doesn’t come naturally to you. Well, that’s got to change. Give yourself a kick up the backside, realise this recession isn’t going anywhere in a hurry (whatever economists and analysts say) and contact everyone in your little black book. The reality is jobs are hard to find and only you can find them. Whether it’s an old tutor from University or a friend from an old employer, contact them directly. Who knows where they are: John may run a busy ‘green’ practice, Suzanne might need a temp tomorrow and Bill could offer you six months’ work in Barbados. I know this is all very positive thinking but the point is, if you don’t ask the question you won’t know the answer.

As an architectural recruiter for nearly 10 years I’ve obviously not seen such times before. Hearing practices’ frustration at laying people off, often close friends whom they have worked with for years, brings out another quality: the moral obligation they feel to employ fellow professionals whenever possible. While they don’t entertain agency staff right now they might offer you something directly.

For those without a long list of contacts, ensure you are relevant and detailed when approaching employers directly. More recently, CV’s have become less detailed, not mentioning specific responsibilities or strengths. This does not help the employer or yourself in trying to gain an interview.

Something else we hear is that architects turn down basic detailing or CAD work because it’s at a lower hourly rate to what they’ve enjoyed in the better times. If it’s the only work you’re offered, please swallow your pride and take it. Your flexibility and relatively continuous employment in these slow times will be recognized by employers when they start recruiting again in the upturn.

Alastair Rigden is Executive Search Consultant within the Architectural team at Solution Recruitment.

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