How to search for architect jobs in Canada
Job opportunities for architects continue to remain positive, however, the Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country.
You must look for jobs in the region where you will settle. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work.
There are many ways through which you can search for architect jobs.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors such as design and construction.
- Seek out a mentor in the architectural sector – for example, a retired architect – who would give you valuable insights and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join business related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend industry job fairs and regularly check the employment sections of your local newspapers.
- Some colleges or associations may maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site.
Immigrant settlement agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
To find immigrant services in your area, click here.
Job hunting never really gets easier, even more for architects, who need to do so much more than simply just a resume (i.e. portfolios and work samples).
When writing your architect resume, take care of your relevant educational qualification and the specialization in a specified field. There are many fields in architect like the landscape architect, infrastructure architect, system architect, etc. and each of the different types has its own specifications in terms of job responsibilities and educational qualifications. Therefore, when writing your resume, know clearly the job profile of the position applied.
If you take a few things into consideration, putting together an impressive resume package should be relatively easy:
Targeted and personalized
It is critical that you leverage your social and professional network. In your cover letter, be sure to mention any contacts you have within the organization or the names of professors or consultants who have referred you.
In this part, avoid writing that your goal is to “gain meaningful employment in the field of architecture”. You might as well simply say that your goal is to get a job. Insead, consider writing something like your goal is to “advance beyond your current position and earn the respect of your peers”. See how much more information someone can infer about you just by this minor change?
Your role on projects
Work experience in terms of jobs or individual projects plays a crucial role when applying for a position.
Mention the complete list of your job history specifying relevant responsibilities and activities performed. Describe all the projects you have handled individually or under supervision.
Be specific about your project involvements and your role as a team member. Give a brief description of the project, including name/location/scale, and the phases in which you contributed and deliverables you produced or to which you contributed.
If you wish to add more power to your resume, you can add photographs of your projects. This will help potential employers review your resume in a more effective manner.
Graphics: simple and clean
Be aware of font size and spacing, making sure the text is easily legible. Take cues from your favorite design publications or branding consultancy websites. They are great resources for examples of clear and concise messaging.
In your resume, make sure to list all your relevant accomplishments. Awards, honors, and milestones achieved add more credibility to your resume.
Many architects are gifted with a strong graphic sensibility and are effective in using color as an eye-catching element in the design of their resumes, but most hiring managers will not spend the money to print resumes in color. Even in the age of e-mail, resumes get printed out and passed around, and a resume in a pale gray-scale can be annoyingly difficult to read.
Lastly, architecture is an aesthetic profession in which attention is paid to the grand gesture, as well as to the smallest of details. So, be rigorous in your editing and make sure to proofread more than once for grammatical and spelling mistakes.
Whether you are looking for your first job in Canada, moving from your first job to your second, or just seeking out career advancement, you will inevitably meet face to face with a potential employer. As this is unavoidable, you will need to hone your interviewing skills.
Here are a few questions that you might run into along the way that could make or break your interview. Preparing for them well may set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
Tell me about yourself
“Oh, where to begin?!” Hopefully, this isn’t your immediate thought! The key to answering this question is to be succinct; no more than a minute at most. A good rule of thumb is to stick to a few sentences about these topics: early years; education; work history; recent experience
This question is asked at most interviews and is more of an ice-breaker so it is important to simply stick to the basics and move to the next question.
Before showing up for the interview, you should at least have a general idea of the work the company has done and the areas of expertise it specializes in. Speak of a few projects that are particularly of interest to you. However, avoid pretending you know too much about the company and don’t let your answer overwhelm the interviewer. This question is a way for you and the interviewer to discuss what the firm’s ideologies are and where they are heading.
Why do you want to work for us?
A good response to this question (and most other questions) will depend on how well you have researched the company and prepared your answers. You can answer in terms of what you feel the company may need from a new employee and how you may fit into that role. You could say that the firm is working on certain typologies that you would like to be involved with or that the company is using principles or techniques that you have a great interest in. For example, if the firm is doing work with community housing in innovative ways, you may want to emphasize your interest in rehabilitation of low-income areas.
This is where you highlight your skills and talk yourself up. It doesn’t hurt to be confident and egotistical when answering this question. Mention your consistent performance and highlight specific aspects of your resume. Say that your skills and interests, combined with your history of results, make you a valuable candidate.
What do you look for in a job?
Try to think about the various facets of growth that the company may offer. Talk about the advancement that you wish to achieve within the firm and the acknowledgment you would like to receive for your contributions. Concentrate your answer towards the opportunity and away from the security that a job offers.
It is okay to say that you are interested in a long career with the company but also, make it clear that you would have to feel challenged in order to remain with any company. The key is to stress the fact that you hope to have a mutually beneficial relationship throughout the employment.
Don’t be short-sighted when answering this question and think beyond the current job being offered; look more towards roles that you could play within the firm much later on. Don’t be afraid to dream big, especially if you genuinely feel that you can attain these goals.
Important trends in architecture/design
Be prepared with two or three trends that you specifically interest you in today’s architectural climate. You might consider: technological advances, policy concerns, or how architecture is reacting to global demands as you think about the issues you personally feel are relevant.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in your target field and geographic location to learn more about that particular sector.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on an organization’s website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular firm or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing physiotherapists and others in your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and industry get-togethers for the convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.
You can also join some related professional groups. But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.