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The Coach: ‘How does a Part 1 get a foot in the door of a practice?’

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Getting noticed isn’t only about presenting a perfect CV, says Matthew Turner

I am a Part 1 student and have been applying for roles without success. I send my CV to practices I know are busy; I ring; and they say they aren’t looking at the moment. Responding to job ads hasn’t worked either; they don’t even bother to reply.

Matthew turner

For someone with only a small amount of work experience finding work can be daunting. This is also a difficult time, as employers are in a state of uncertainty. But you should stick at it, find wells of optimism and, most importantly, try and learn how you can improve your chances.

Your CV reads like a list of things that have occupied your time for the past years, and not a record of achievements, enthusiasms, and interests. This is one of the things that is stopping you standing out. Using action words like ‘researched’, ‘investigated’ when talking about student work can make it more relevant to the world of work.

If you can make your experience reflect achievements rather than sound like drudgery, then say it. Your statement ‘my tasks were mainly drawing amendments’ could be put much better by saying ‘managed and completed large quantities of drawing amendments to tight deadlines’, for example. 

Getting noticed isn’t only about a perfect CV. Think through any unique selling points you may have. Whether you volunteered with a youth group, speak Somali, or are a keen athlete – put it on your CV. Who knows, this may be enough for a practice that has community consultation to do or a sports building on their books to get in touch. 

Get involved in the architectural scene

Another way to get noticed is to get involved in the architectural scene. As you live in London, you are especially well-placed, with organisations such as the Architecture Foundation offering lectures and events you can network at, as well as job openings. 

Lastly, there are a few mistakes in your CV. Get someone with good writing skills to read it. Even minor mistakes hugely increase the chances that your CV will be binned.

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. Email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • We hire a Part 1 student every year so see this from the employer's end. I thoroughly endorse the all the advice above and particularly the need to have your CV checked - and to see if it can be clearly read on a small screen. So much of an architect's work is now written. This is your chance to show you can do it right. Please send it with a short cover saying why you want to work for us. We get more than enough impersonal emails from product suppliers.

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