Friday, June 11, 2010

Encore post: Getting hired in a down economy: good ideas and sneaky ones (?)

(Note: I'm at the AIA National Convention in Miami for some continuing ed, some networking, and some vacation time, so I'm rerunning a few posts from 2009. Enjoy, and I'll be back in about a week! -- Lulu)

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal section of the 6/28/09 Sunday Denver Post regarding how to get a job in a down economy and a market flooded with applicants. One of the interviewee's comments sounds like a good idea to me, but the other left me feeling a bit like I needed to wash my hands.

The suggestion that made a lot of sense to me is that if you post your resume on a website, don't just wait for people to call you. It makes a lot of sense in a job market flooded with applicants (many of them very qualified) to tailor your application, resume, and cover letter to go after more specific positions if you have some kind of focus that others might not have. It's a way to set you apart from the pack. Let's say you have tons of experience with 3D modeling and/or graphic design--look for job openings that mention those qualities, or send your resume to firms that appear to be able to benefit from that.

The tip that felt creepy to me was to type keywords (especially if they don't explicitly come up in your resume) in white print at the bottom of your resume if you post it online so that your resume will pop up in a wider range of searches. For some reason this feels creepy to me, perhaps because the interviewee states that you type the keywords in white text so that it won't show up when someone views or prints the resume. It feels a little sneaky to me, but maybe that's easy for me to say since I'm not engaged in a job search right now.

What concerns me about interns in the workforce right now is that neither of these tips fully helps. Architecture, as I have described in previous posts, pays for experience and knowledge, not education. They want the best bang for their buck, and the right intern can give them that. To set onself apart on a resume search, it would more likely behoove an architectural intern to emphasize not just technical ability with software but also project type experience (schools, healthcare, commercial) and project phase (construction documents, construction administration).

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