I came into Sander Architects the summer of 2009 after my fourth year of Architecture school in San Luis Obispo. I built models in the office all summer and up at school for a few months as well. I was called back in to do some part-time modeling around March, 2011, and I’ve stayed on as a draftsperson and project manager ever since. Here are my tips for turning my internship into a full time gig.
1. Be Good
When you come into an office for an internship, you will probably not be doing the most glamorous work, but whatever task comes your way, make sure you knock it out of the park. In my case, I was building models. It’s certainly not everyone’s favorite, but I think it’s kind of fun to see how drawings come to life three dimensionally. I worked my butt off building a myriad of models, and I did a great job. (I built hundreds of tiny seats for the concert hall, just to give you an idea.) My work early on got me called back into the office later. If you show your ability to excel at one thing, it gives people a reason to believe you’ll be great in other areas, as well.
2. Stay In Touch
Even though my internship ended around November, I was always sure to keep in touch. I would come back into the office every time I came home from school. After graduation, I hoped I would have a job waiting for me, but there wasn’t a spot for me in the office. I still maintained contact with Whitney and Cath, checking in every few months, enough to stay on their radar without bugging the hell out of them. When they needed some models built, I was the guy. Then, a spot in the office opened up and I transitioned into full time. It was about 18 months between the end of my first internship and the beginning of my full time job, and if I hadn’t kept myself in the loop at that time, I might not be where I am today.
3. Be Ready
Before I came back into the office I was working part time coaching volleyball and doing odd jobs. I kept my design skills sharp, working on T-shirts and keeping up to date with architecture blogs and competitions. I also learned the office’s drafting software, so I was able to assimilate easily when a job was available.
Sander Architects, LLC