According to Huffpost Detroit, Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped slightly to 8.8%, while Detroit is hovering at 19% unemployment. Conditions are grim. Architects have been hard-hit by the recession, and unfortunately, our recovery is contingent on the vitality of other industries.
When I returned to Michigan in fall 2011, my plan was to find work in the field while applying to graduate programs in urban planning for the following year. The only problem was I couldn’t make it past HR. Then I decided to start working on my “career portfolio.” Building a “career portfolio” is a full-time job composed of several part-time jobs, internships, networking events, workshops, conferences, and volunteer opportunities.
The first step was applying to the Global Site Plans’ Environmental Design Internship that I found on Planetizen’s jobswire. For many of us, urban design and community development is more than a professional pursuit, it’s a passion. In these tough economic times you simply have to love the game in order to play.
Blogging has been a critical component of my “career portfolio,” here’s why:
1. The job market is competitive. Blogging is a resume builder. It shows that you take initiative, multitask, and consistently meet deadlines;
2. Software knowledge alone can’t win you an interview. Blogging necessitates staying current on industry knowledge regarding technology, community development, economics, and design, as well as following the major projects and influential people;
3. A Cover letter is your first impression. Blogging provides the opportunity to improve your craft and get your point across in 350 words or less;
4. Social media is the new job fair. Many firms engage through social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, posting project updates and employment opportunities. Blogging is the gateway to networking with the design community.
The job market has changed dramatically since 2008. So, between the exploratory interviews, freelance work, and design conferences I recommend you start blogging. Check out current blogging opportunities with Global Site Plans The GRID. It's all about adding value.
What other elements do you think are important to building a “career portfolio?”
Credits: Images and data linked to the sources.