When I applied for my first internship, I do remember going out of my way to make an impression at the company I had applied to. I wrote a letter of intent, explaining why this company and how I was seeing myself possibly contributing. (And of course I followed the basics: portfolio as a pdf less than 5mb, with best works only.)

Considering the sheer amount of architectural interns that rush out into the world of ‘professional’ experience, I would assume that a single look at the competition for an internship would make every single one of them go the extra mile, even two… But instead reality is full of surprises and every six month the inbox gets flooded with mails addressed to the general public of architects with “Dear Sir/Dear Madam” and the expectation that phrases like “your esteemed firm” would actually go any distance. More over the lack of grammatical or narrative skills, presentation talent nor respect makes me want to just keep the team we are in the office and not take any trainees.

I do not appreciate to be called ‘Dude’ over chat by an prospective intern. Anyway why the heck are your applying via chat. I also do not really want to download all the 26 individual pages you have attached to your mail.

Until last year I took the time and replied to the worst applications and tried to explain them, what all went wrong in their approach, but I quickly gave up, as the numbers of bad applications increased dramatically.

So what is it that I would like to see? Well it would be a good start, if your mail is written to me only, because that would show some form of dedication towards your planned work with us. And when I say to me only, I mean no CC, no BCC, no mass-mail, where you copy and paste rather bluntly every architects mail-id you can get your hands on, foremost no “Dear Sir/Dear Madam”. If you want to work with us, you should have taken the time to go through our website and then figured out, if the person your are writing to is male or female (hint: the mail-id can also be a reasonably good indicator for the gender). And then once you’ve done that, don’t write me an anonymous application without any character. Please let me know who you are, what your interests are, what is your background. Don’t write what you think I would like to hear. (There is no point in even attempting that.) Well, and if I am honest, I don’t even care what school your from, what semester your in or how many trophies you’ve won in college. Of course there are basic skills you should have, like software, but none of them can’t be learned with a bit of serious commitment. Anyway the actual job of an architect includes such a vast spectrum of jobs, that if you are keen, there is something for you.  All that matters for a great experience for you and us during your internship is, if we get along. Do we aspire for similar things, does the work we do interest you, why do want to be an architect? These are the information that will help you to stand out and us to determine if we are compatible or not. One last thing, and I mentioned it in the beginning, your portfolio should be representing your skill set. It is not a record of what you have done, but the showcase of your best work. If you fill your portfolio with 200 plans, pictures and sketches, no-one will understand what you are trying to show. And please consider if you really want to show your sketching talent, your photography skills or your your other extra curricular activity that just tries way to hard to sell you as a creative person.

Keep it simple. Show your best work, even if it is little. Remember you are a student and no-one expects a full portfolio yet. And just show that you are actually interested…

If you still want to read more about this topic, here’s another interesting article:

Dear Intern, …

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