How do you get a job as a landscape architect? So you have done everything they told you, you’ve applied every piece of information you got from your lecturers/tutors, your career guidance counselor and even professional landscape architects who are looking for workers. You’ve done everything to the letter; you’ve followed steps 1 to 10 and even thrown in a few more for good measure and somehow you are still unemployed, living with your mother and contemplating a temporary job in retail or telemarketing just to keep the funds coming in. Let’s face it, it’s been months in some cases years, you’re not getting any wiser, you’re not improving your skills and landscape architects for some reason are still not beating down your front door with job offers. You have created the best CV in the world, it’s relevant, concise, and informative and looks very professional, not only that but you’ve created a brochure that is so amazing you think “Hey I’d give me a job”. Yet interview after interview you hear the same thing, “We’re really looking for somebody with experience”, or “keep in touch with the office” or my favourite one “we’ll keep your CV on file”, wherever that is! So why, why is it you have done everything you’ve been told, you’ve done everything right and you still can’t get a job in your chosen profession. The first thing I’m going to tell you is to forget the “WHY” it’s pointless, forget the whole “why” in your life, we all have lots of “whys” in our life, “Why is life unfair, why doesn’t he/she like me, why am I always broke, why can I never get a break, why is it raining, why, why, why, why wh………” you get the idea. Just forget about the “why”, it’s really not important, get the “why” and kick it out of your life. Replace it with the “What Can I Do”. Now I’ve had my little rant, this is what you can and should be doing; I’m going to explain to you four little steps that will make all the difference in the world to you and your prospects of getting a job as a landscape architect or anything else for that matter.
Before I start, please don’t continue reading unless you have a great CV and equally great portfolio, if you don’t you’re just not at the races my friend. These things are fundamental in your search for a job, however they won’t get you ahead of the competition, so get them done and then put them to one side. If you’re still reading I guess you have them, great, now listen, many people will read what I’m about to write but only the best will apply what I’m going to say. STEP 1Firstly e-mail your CV, I know completely obvious isn’t it, but hang on it doesn’t stop there, within an hour of e-mailing your CV ring up the office and make sure they received your CV. You probably think this is a bit stupid, when in fact it’s a stroke of genius! What this does is it makes your CV completely different to every other CV as you’ve now attached a personality onto your CV, not only this but you made your first introduction and if done right you have just proven you have an excellent phone manner, are polite and a great communicator also you are building up a report with the secretary or receptionist, always get the name of the person who answered the phone and never underestimate the importance of this person, it is very likely that this person will see your CV before anybody else and therefore has the ability to put it to the top of the pile or better still place it right under the landscape architects nose, so get that name and remember it, it may be the most important name you ever remember and use it every time you have contact with that office use that name like you’re talking to an old friend. STEP 2 Where do you turn when all the job ads have dried up and nothing is on offer, don’t worry about it, this doesn’t mean anything, your prospective employer is just playing hard to get, they want you to prove how much you want it. They won’t tell you this but we know this is what they are thinking (Please don’t quote me on that). No seriously, when there are no jobs on offer this is a great opportunity in disguise, an opportunity to show you are eager, honest and committed. Here’s what you do, get a list of every registered landscape architect in your country and write a professional and polite email clearly stating that you are aware that they may not be looking to hire at the moment, however you would relish the opportunity to meet up with them and show them your work so that you could ask them a few questions about the industry and their office. This takes the pressure off all parties concerned, this creates a casual meeting between you and one or two others that becomes a fantastic networking opportunity. To sweeten the deal you could meet up over coffee in a local coffee shop and always bring a copy of your work on a CD with your personalised cover to leave with them as a parting gift. This step will allow you to gain inside information on the industry, make you more comfortable talking to professionals and build up your network of professional landscape architects, which will allow you to do some name dropping when talking to other landscape architects, all of a sudden people will start seeing you as a professional and not some inexperienced graduate desperate for a job. Trust me, do it, get the results! STEP 3 Everywhere and everybody is an opportunity, an opportunity for you to get a job as a landscape architect. You are always looking for a job; you never stop until you get it. Work it into every conversation, well when the opportunity arises, preferably when you are talking to someone new. You really never have any idea who you are talking to or who they know. Don’t be pushy with this, make it happen by asking about what they work at or what they are involved in, this makes it much more likely that they will then ask you the same or a similar question, when they do, tell them, and explain you are currently searching for a job, do this with enough people and before you know it, you’ll be talking to someone whose Dad is one of the biggest contractors in the country and has a friend who is a well recognised landscape architect. See what I mean, get the picture; everyone you meet everywhere you go is an opportunity. This is my personal favourite step, because it’s full of little surprises, just wait and see. STEP 4 Make the most out of every interview you get, and trust me if you do everything I said above you will get interviews. So it goes without saying you should research the companies you are interviewing with, know what they do, know their work and try and do a bit of investigating, you can really do all of this on the web but it would be even better if you went in person to see their work for real and really get to know it. But again this is all very obvious information, nothing we don’t already know. My tip here is something you will never hear in college in a million years, well not yet anyway, but probably in the future. This tip is visualising the interview. That’s right, dream about it, fantasize about it, live that interview over and over in your head until it’s perfect, do this right up to the day of the interview, spend ten minutes just thinking about how great that interview will be, how relaxed and confident you are going to feel, how you will answer all their questions impressively, without hesitation and with confidence. Realise how good you are going to feel when you get that job. I should mention there is one very important rule to follow when visualising, NEVER, absolutely NEVER visualise the actions or thoughts of another specific person ie the interviewer; it is both incredibly naive and manipulative to think for a second you know how another “specific” person should act, and it will backfire on you and ultimately push people away from you. Visualise your part, the rest is up to chance. Now the key to begin to visualise what you want is to write it down, put down every detail, including everything leading up to your moment and how you are going to feel after it, write what clothes you’ll be wearing, how you feel, what you had for breakfast etc, the more detailed the better. Whenever you lose sight of your target, re-read what you wrote, read it every day at least once a day. This will help affirm your visualisation and make it more clear in your mind, ultimately shifting your everyday thoughts and gearing your mind to help you create the actions that will move you in the direction of your goal. Well for those of you who are still sceptical, I’m a graduate one year short of a post grad. I moved to a country where I can’t even speak the language with relatively no contacts in the field of landscape architecture over here and absolutely no experience in a landscape architects office but guess what I recieved a great job as a landscape architect and I took all my own advice. Think about it! You must absolutely believe that if a guy in my position can do it, you better believe you can do it too. There is a great quote “What the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve”.-Napolean Hill Best of luck getting that dream job. And remember searching for a job is a full time job in itself and you don’t stand a chance unless you are driven by a deep desire to get it. Desire may be the one attribute that prevails skills, talent and experience. Oh one more thing, with all this advice I can’t of course guarantee that you will get a job as a landscape architect, ultimately that is up to you, I can however say that it will dramatically increase your chances of getting interviews to the extent that your success becomes more like a numbers game, meaning that if you have enough interviews and you keep on giving your best, well then by the “Law of Averages” you will eventually obtain a job. In fact the single greatest piece of advice I can give you is not in my four steps, but it is to be “Persistent”, without a doubt if there is any one quality that will get you results, it is persistence. We all have it, so use it. Hope this helps, See also: 10 Great Interview Tips For Graduate Landscape Architects – The Essential Guide 10 Tips Every New Landscape Architecture Professional Needs To Know Recommended reading: Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market using Social Media and 999 other Tactics Today by Jay Conrad Levinson Article written by Scott Renwick Published in