Getting an internship in the A/E industry can be challenging but if you are willing to put in the work, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Maybe you are still a student and summer is right around the corner (or even just starting). Or, perhaps you just graduated and are off to the “real world” as some people like to call it. Either way, we don’t think it’s too late (or too early) to start thinking about how you can land your dream internship.
We also know that in any scenario, applying for an internship can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have the immediate connections to get your foot in the door.
A recent article from the thearchitectsguide.com, 5 tips On How To Get An Architecture Internship covers different methods to help you land the internship you’ve always wanted. We have found that these methods can really be applied to the A/E industry as a whole. Therefore, we have summarized their key points and provided some of our own recommendations below.
1) List Your Achievements “Brag Sheet”
Whether you already have some work experience or you don’t, you are going to want to let your potential employer know what sets you apart. Don’t be afraid to “brag” about your accomplishments and list out everything that you think is worth mentioning about yourself. Some things to consider, in addition to your general work experience, degrees, and certifications that you hold include:
- Any project that you completed or took part in (school or professional)
- Sketches and drawings you’ve done
- Design Competitions
- Challenges/Problems You Solved (Don’t forget to quantify this data. Show what results you achieved, don’t just tell them)
Our Director of Operations and Principal, Dan Schweickert suggests, that you “show an understanding of client service – maybe you have job experience that’s client facing. Restaurant or other service industry experience is a big plus. Also, demonstrate your exposure to working in teams – besides group assignments, team sports goes a long way!”
In this industry, it’s very rare that you won’t be working as a part of a project team. So, leverage your experience!
2) Start Networking
You might have connections in the industry already or you might not. Either way, that’s ok! However, that doesn’t change the fact that most interns actually come from word of mouth. Therefore, the best thing to do is reach out to people already working in the industry or people who may know people in the industry.
- Try LinkedIn – This also implies that your Linkedin must be current and professional. From there, try reaching out to people who are already working for the firms that you have your eye on. Most working professional are willing to share their experience and knowledge with the next generation. This new connection might also lead to a potential interning opportunity. Just ask!
- Reach out to your school’s internship coordinators, professors, and really just anyone you know who may know someone!
3) Do Your Homework
Look at firms that are already in your area. You have a better chance of getting an internship if you are local! For example, one of our 2x intern, Brandon Carson lived right down the street from our old office. When he was looking for an internship, he saw that he lived nearby and applied. After graduating from college, he became a full-time ATI employee and the rest is history.
Also, it’s important to know about the firm before applying. This will give you not only a competitive edge, but it will also help you determine if it’s somewhere that you want to work in the first place.
Consider things that are important to you and find firms based on that. Perhaps its company culture or specific projects that a firm’s specialize in. Go from there.
4) Tailor Your Resume
Your resume should reflect the specific position you are applying for at the firm. It can be tempting to send out a generic resume to 100 firms, in hopes that you hear back from a few. However, in reality, that’s a lose- lose situation. Firms want see that you know about their company, you know what the position entails, and you know what skill set is required. This is where your “brag sheet” also comes into play.
One example that Dan suggests is to “list industry specific software that you have used in the past. Revit or other BIM tools, familiarity with Sketchup, or Indesign are all huge bonuses”.
5) “Don’t Give Up
It can be deterring when you don’t hear back from a firm for an internship that you really had your heart set on, but don’t give up! Many firms, especially smaller firms don’t have designated recruiters or people who are looking through resumes full-time. Therefore, its best to always follow up with a phone call a few days after you submitted your resume. Let them know you are interested and that you are passionate about taking on the role. Then, follow that call up with a second one after another week or so.
With that said, getting an internship in the A/E industry can be challenging but if you are willing to put in the work, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience.
If you are interested in applying for an internship with ATI, please visit our CAREERS page.
You can view the full article 5 Tips On How To Get An Architecture Internship from the architectsguide.com HERE.