Things I should have done
Searching for jobs is a desperate way to spend your time. Every single email that comes up, you have a fluttering hope that it's a response from your dream firm, and 99.9% of the time it is An Extremely Angering Automated Email Update from linked-in, facebook, word-of-the-day, or whatnot.
Actually, when you're waiting for an email for something really important, all other emails are Extremely Angering just because they aren't the ones you really want.
While I sit here, re-rendering old projects to add to my website, I find myself conducting ever more depressing google searches asking the cyber world why it's so fricken hard to get a job as an architect. Is that a sign of madness?
I was thinking about what I could have possibly done differently to help along my chances of getting work. Who knows if any of these things would actually help me, but they are definitely things I feel deficient in at the moment.
Every firm is looking for someone with minimum 3 years of experience. Unfortunately, the only way to get experience is to get experience. I guess getting your first job will always be the hardest thing, especially when your job is to build things and no one will hire you unless you've built something before.
LEARNING DIFFERENT PROGRAMS
It seems like there is a conspiracy between architecture firms. They split all the available programs up and make a mixed bag, and it's impossible to cover all the bases. If you want to get good at a program, you have to use it consistently. If you've spent years dedicated to AutoCAD, Rhino, and V-Ray, it's unlikely you're going to get hired at the firm that uses ArchiCAD and 4D cinema, regardless of how beautiful your drawings are. Firms don't want to retrain.
HAVING A SECOND LANGUAGE
At this point, I would welcome basic ability to speak in any of the following languages: German, Spanish, French. Any of those as a second language would help my application immeasurably, if only to show that I am capable of speaking something else than English. I feel like a jerk for only speaking English, considering most Europeans can speak at least 2 and usual 3 or 4 languages.
A WORK PERMIT
Yeah, that's probably going to be a major hindrance for me unless my appointment next week is in fact for a working holiday visa. Don't move to a country where you are unsure of your official working permission. It is hard for a reason - they don't want you.
ENDLESS TIME AND MONEY
If I could spend months dedicated to retraining in programs like Revit or ArchiCAD, building experimental furniture, lighting, and other shite in my back yard, running an award-winning design blog, printing as many elaborately bound hard-copy portfolios as I want, and not have to worry about bills and loan repayments... BLAH BLAH BLAH (whine, sniff, violins, etc.)