Welcome back to part 2 of “7 Steps to Improve Your Architectural Job Application” series!
In this 2-part series, I’m going to show you the step by step process you can take to show them your true value throughout your job application. It’d be super helpful if you go read Part 1 first, so you can follow the journey from the start. If you missed the first part, you can check it out here:
Now onto today’s topics, we will go through the follow up process, getting job offers and eventually succeeding in your day to day work.
5. Follow up: Double shot it
We all know that we need to follow up after an interview. But how do we make sure this follow up email will get us the job offer we want?
The follow up is a good opportunity to add anything that you might have missed in the interview Or you might want to emphasize particular skills that you now know is invaluable to them. Here’s an example:
As we discussed, I will bring to the team a positive attitude and the ability to work cooperatively with team members, consultants and clients. With my past experience utilizing Revit in large scale projects, I can certainly help with the firm’s transition into a more BIM oriented process. I am an initiative taker who is always ready for more responsibilities and challenge. I believe that the firm provides the motivating culture where I could gain a diversified experience in my career and ultimately become a licensed architect.
This covers A LOT. It touches on your attitude (positive), teamwork (working with teams), your most valuable skill (Revit), your work ethics (initiative taker) and finally the culture you desire (motivating and diverse).
Want more? Now here’s the double shot - If you want to take it to the next level, you can even add more value to the firm. For example, you can say “Our discussion about X, Y and Z gave me an idea on a more effective ABC system. Have you tried doing [this]? It worked great at my last position for the XXX project.”
Remind them how good you are so they will remember you when they make the decision.
6. Job Offers: Aim high
When you successfully get a job offer, you will find that most companies (especially in large corporations) put you in a “bracket”. Usually within certain years of experience, they pay certain amount of salary. But that doesn’t mean you can just settle and take whatever you get.
First thing first, give them a salary expectation 10-20% higher than your current salary. You can even do 30% if you’re really ambitious. They will always give you less, so always aim high first.
When they propose a salary that you aren't happy with, you need to negotiate with your value in mind. Remind them how good you are. If you have other job offers in hand, that’s even better! To give you an idea, here’s the email I actually sent in my job negotiation process.
I'm really excited about this job offer and appreciate your offer of $XX,XXX. However, I have heard back from four other New York firms that I had interviews with and they all have offered me over $XX,XXX with additional bonuses each year. After meeting with everyone at the firm, I do think this job is a great fit for me, and I would like to see if it's possible that you could bring it closer to that number. I understand that this is higher than what we have talked about yesterday, but I would gladly accept the offer at $XX,XXX with a match in my current PTO days of XX.
Thank you for your time and understanding. I believe that my skills and talents would be great assets to your firm, and I hope that we can reach a mutually satisfactory agreement that will allow me to start working with the team as soon as possible.
But remember don’t over do it. The goal here is to remind them you are worth it. Be genuine and helpful - don’t lie if you didn’t actually have real job offers. They will usually be happy to meet you closer to what you want or at least in the middle.
7. Day to Day Work: Jog it down
Once you get a job, you might find yourself in this black hole of endless work. Just to remain sane, it's important to remind yourself what you have achieved from time to time.
Take the time to write down your accomplishment every month. I suggest doing this in a Google doc so you can always get to it anywhere and never lose it.
Did you finish a giant CD set? Did you come up with a genius design that everyone loves? Did you hold a successful client meeting?
It could even be something simple like you organized the file folder, you fixed 20 warnings in Revit, or you solved a problem for your coworker. Then at your annual review, you can easily plug in these accomplishments to brag about.
But we don't live in a perfect world, so jog down what you did wrong this month too and what you can do to improve that next month. This is actually very valuable to bring up at your annual review. Show them you realized you made a mistake in June and already took fast action steps to fix it in July.
There are people out there who have no self awareness and just keep cruising along. Don't be that person. Be the ones who are willing to admit their own mistakes and correct them. You will be a much more valuable team player as a result.
This is a hard topic to tackle, we live in a company culture of the older generation who has a certain stigma against us. Unless you go to a startup, it's hard to overcome this. I know this was a lot to go through, but hopefully this 2-part series will help you overcome the stigma and thrive in your career.
And if you’ve more tips for us millennials to showcase our values, let me know in the comment below. I’m all ears.