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How to Secure Internships in Top Architecture Firms

How to Secure Internships in Top Architecture Firms

How to Secure Internships in Top Architecture Firms

Finding a good internship with a leading architecture firm is often not an easy endeavor; it is like climbing a steep hill. However, this remains a realistic possibility if specific measures are taken to ensure the process results in a credible, well-paid employment position. Instead, this guide converts the process into a properly structured guide with three steps that employ the PAS (Problem-Agitation-Solution) approach and lead you toward the path of success. There won’t be much use of rhetorical language, outrageous statements, or funny jokes, while still stressing the facts and manageable action.

Problem: The Struggle to Secure Architecture Internships

Every year, thousands of architecture students face the daunting task of landing internships at prestigious firms. The competition is fierce, the requirements are rigorous, and the pathways often seem opaque. Many students feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. The lack of a clear, step-by-step guide exacerbates the anxiety and confusion.
A recent study by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) highlighted that only 50% of architecture students secure internships within the first year of their studies. This statistic underscores the challenges faced by students and the need for a strategic approach to securing internships.

Agitation: Why This Matters

An internship at one of the best architectural firms is not merely a filler on the resume. It is a way to have some practical experience, listen to experienced people’s stories, and begin a job network in the field. Such opportunities help, and missing them can cost a person several steps on the career ladder.

Practical Experience

They give practical experience, which is vital for a student to comprehend techniques involved in the architecture field. For this reason, the said practical exposure would be helpful because students will lack practical experience knowing how to apply theoretical concepts.


It is well known that many people find job opportunities and partnerships during the internship. This industry is very much a web of connections, and sometimes even the contacts you possess are as significant as the knowledge you possess.

Skill Development

The skills that are attained include; project management, client relations, and complex skills that can only be attained in a professional setting.


The Ultimate Checklist: How to Land Architecture Internships Below is a step-by-step plan to guide you in the process of being placed in a competitive architecture firm as an intern.
1. Build a Strong Portfolio
The portfolio is the card of presentation in the world of architecture. It should be the best you have and should also show off your versatility.
Quality Over Quantity: Concentration on several speaking examples that will bring out the major creative skills. Each project should have a narrative; from its inception to its culmination.
Presentation: A portfolio should be organized properly and be easy on the eyes. Use good quality images where it is necessary to use them, short descriptions that tell a lot, and, of course, where it is impossible to do without them.
Case Study Example: Emily, a third-year architecture major, got an internship at Zaha Hadid Architects by preparing an online portfolio that encompassed the components of an interactive model, 3D models, and descriptions of her projects. Her non-conventional style was culturally striking for the position of 100 other candidates.
2. Gain Relevant Experience
Thus, any experience, even if restricted to a small scale – can bring a very positive change. Volunteering, working a part-time job, or doing freelance work all can increase your worth on a resume
Volunteer Work: Engage in community development projects, donate merchandise to non-profit organizations, etc. They wanted to know that you were serious about applying your talents for the betterment of society.
Freelance Projects: Freelance your services to businessmen or people in the locality. Every project is useful and can become a successful reference and highlight in the portfolio.
Workshops and Competitions: Design workshops and competitions, and get involved in architecture. These activities not only develop your skills but also show the employer how interested you are in the position and how proactive you are.
Case Study Example: John was also a participant in a community garden construction plan in some of the local environments to provide long-lasting structures for the community garden. He pointed out this volunteer experience when attending his interview at Foster + Partners, and it helped him bag the internship.
3. Network Strategically
Networking is very important in the architecture profession. To be active, one should attend industrial events, participate in organizations, and get acquainted with different people through the LinkedIn social site.
Industry Events: Go for conferences, seminars, and exhibitions. These are the events where people can get acquainted with the leaders of the industry and stay afloat with trends.
Professional Organizations: Some of them include the American Institute of Architects (AIA) or any society of architects in the region. Membership gives members the privilege of attending member’s only events and having access to member-only job boards.
LinkedIn: Employ the use of LinkedIn to establish professional contacts, join groups, and get the latest information on the sector. Get to know people, personalize their connection requests, and interact with the content.
Case Study Example: Sarah also attended the AIA Conference for Architecture and got a chance to meet with one Senior Architect of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). This later evolved into an internship, in which I had the opportunity to intern at the said company.
4. Tailor Your Application
However, each application should be specific to the specific firm in which these strategies or actions are to be carried out. Stress on those experiences of the candidate that are related to the type of projects the firm works on, and its belief system.
Research the Firm: Regarding the aspects that one has to understand in order to know something about the kind of activity of the firm, it is crucial to mention the architectural style, the recent plan, and the value of the firm. Make your application fit the picture of how you would camouflage with them or transform yourself into something indispensable to them.
Cover Letter: Take adequate time to write a cover letter for each application that you are submitting. On this ground, highlight the immersion in aspects of work passion in the firm, the experience acquired in previous workplaces, and the expected value from the internships.
Follow Instructions: Make sure you actually stick to the articulated application procedures as closely as possible. Any missing document or improper formatting of the APPR can cause your application to be rejected
Case Study Example: The applicant’s cover letter was specific to BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and he highlighted his passion for sustainable designs which the firm is known for. He also provided examples by referring to some of the projects implemented by BIG which enthused him, and therefore he possesses rather extensive knowledge about the company.
5. Prepare for Interviews
Interviews are your opportunity to sell yourself as a candidate. Get adequately ready to express the level of passion and professionalism in your voice.
Mock Interviews: Rehearse the conversations with acquaintances or relatives, co-workers, or other authoritative persons. The emphasis is placed on what the candidate can do, actually did, and why he or she wishes to intern at this particular firm.
Portfolio Presentation: You will be expected to report on and justify your ideas, along with explaining the choices made in your portfolio. Emphasize the design phase; indicate the problems encountered and the steps taken to solve them during the design phase.
Questions: Have intelligent queries regarding the firm, their work, and the people you are likely to collaborate with. This will demonstrate that you are interested and did not wait to be told what to do.
Case Study Example: At the beginning of one of the episodes, Michael shows his work to Gensler explains that he designed it on his own, and talks about the design process and how he solved the problems. He also incorporated intelligent questions to the interviewer regarding the firm’s strategy for Urban Planning, which earned him the interval intern offer.
6. Utilize University Resources
Interpolating this topic with another one, many universities provide guidance on how and where juniors can find internships. Of course, what you must do is maximize the use of these changes.
Career Services: It is advisable to get help from a university for resume critiques and mock interviews, in addition to job listings. They can understand your situation and usually offer good advice, and some of them know big companies and firms.
Alumni Network: Share ideas and engage myself with alumni, particularly in the field of architecture. They can give you advice, become your role models, and possibly provide you with initial leads for employment.
Case Study Example: Jessica went online to the career center of her university to polish her resume and her portfolio. Also, she was able to talk to an alumnus who worked for Perkins + Will, was given good advice, and then was referred for an internship.
7. Be Persistent and Resilient
Another factor pertains to rejection, which is inherent in the process. Persevere and adapt the method in each experience, and look for ways to improve the current strategy.

Feedback: Where possible, try to get feedback on applications that were declined. It will be easier to address areas where the student lacked concentration, for they would have been pointed out clearly by their low performance.

Continuous Learning: Make sure you are still informed about the current state of things in the field and keep practicing. Consuming online courses, webinars, and reading architectural journals can also be of help.
Stay Positive: There is no harm in opening many sources, so keep lifting the tone and keep on applying. Relentlessness is one of the most vital qualities, as it pays off when you are an achiever at last.
Case Study Example: Many of his intern proposals were turned down before he secured an internship with HOK. He looked for feedback, enhanced his portfolio, and kept on with the interaction. He kept on applying, and this paid off when he got an offer.


It may be a wise idea to get an internship, and landing an internship in a reputable architecture firm is not a walk in the park. possible if the right strategies are adopted. Therefore, to ensure that one is an intern, some strategies should be employed. These include; assembling a strong portfolio, gaining experience, networking well, applying to appropriate jobs, preparing for interviews, using resources at the university, and above all being persistent.
It is always the process that is more important than the result. Finally, each action you take increases your abilities develops contacts with people to do business with, and brings you а step closer to the improvement of your status. Good luck, have fun and do not forget that you are becoming an architect.

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