American Architect in London… hopefully.

Since I’m a registered architect now, I’ve been trying to find a job over in London and am facing many interesting challenges. 

To name a few…

  1. The metric system
  2. No work visa
  3. No experience in the UK market
  4. I won’t be an architect over there… I’ll be an intern again or as they say a Part II equivalent. The goal is a Part III… I think. The rules are still a little fuzzy.

A few weeks ago I was blasting my CV (resume for most Americans) all over this site and this lovely recruiter contacted me and asked me to give her a call. Oh yeah, that’s another thing, over there they use A LOT of recruiters in architecture and related fields… really in any field I imagine. We just don’t do that over here… not in architecture anyways. You have to just watch the AIA job board or religiously stalk your favorite firms career page. So, well done you Brits. Way to be organized.

Aaanyway…. I woke up at 5 am the next morning (they’re 6 hours ahead) and called this lovely lady using Skype and we chatted. She informed me that I was underselling my abilities  and sent me a sample CV to redesign mine around more or less. Apparently over there they actually put examples of their work ON their CV! Once again… not in the US. Maybe as an image in the background but I read a few articles about building resumes in the US for architecture and they said to leave OFF images of your work. Or to keep them really simple otherwise. So I reworked the ‘ole curricula vitae and sent it to her. I also reloaded it to the website she had found me on and wouldn’t you know I was contacted by two other recruiters. Don’t worry I’m not heartless, I will be buying that first lady lunch or sending her a muffin basket or something no matter what. It was so hard to even get someone to contact me for feedback. Tell my my CV sucks! Tell me I have no hope at finding a job! Tell me something!

I appreciate feedback… that’s all I’m saying.

So now I have to work on my portfolio (or work samples as the British say) and take a few Revit assessment tests. In between going to the Texas Society of Architects Convention (this past weekend), working overtime on my deadline at work and Skyping with my honey when I can. Oh and planning my next trip over there. December 4th I’ll be visiting my future home again. I can’t wait!

For any other American Architects out there who want to work overseas… find out if that country uses recruiters and be aggressive with connecting more than one. I think it’s like fishing, keep throwing out the line until you hook one. They’re like any field, some don’t mind putting a little extra time and effort into you if they think you got something they can sell. Others don’t want to invest the time. I met with this one recruiter last November who told me to call him when I got licensed and then told me, when I called, that his clients don’t want to hire anyone without a work visa. Uh… why didn’t you tell me that when we met?!?!? I could have been shopping around for another recruiter. I didn’t know how to play the game. Do you have just one? Can you have three? Is it hard to juggle them all? What if you call one another’s name? Just kidding… it’s not that complicated.

This weekend will be filled with portfolio layouts and sketching and reworking old floor and site plans for said layouts on top of taking a deep breath and diving head first into those Revit Assessments. I am not the worlds best at exams… I’ll let you know how it goes.

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