Understanding Your Role as an AXP Mentor
If the mentor works outside of the candidate’s firm, this relationship becomes an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions about how other firms function, to learn about project types that their current employer may not pursue, and to have a third-party advisor who can help with tough questions like how to negotiate a raise or increased responsibilities, how to manage difficult work relationships, or when it is time to move to a new firm.
So how does an AXP candidate find a mentor?
- AXP supervisors can recommend colleagues or friends who may be willing to serve in this capacity.
- Contact the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects—particularly the Emerging Professionals Group or Young Architects Forum—which may maintain a list of potential mentors.
- Talk to consulting engineers, general contractors, and product representatives—they usually have contacts at multiple architecture firms in the area and may be able to suggest architects to contact.
- Use LinkedIn or other online networking tools to find experienced architects with shared interests.
- Check with your alma mater’s alumni association or career counseling office, who may be able to offer the names of other graduates practicing in your community.
Attend local continuing education events, lectures, or workshops and make an effort to get to know attendees from other firms.
All mentors can help candidates by providing advice about studying for the ARE and deciding which divisions of the exam to tackle when based on their work experiences, navigating the state’s licensing paperwork and procedures, and supplementing their architectural education by pursuing other certifications. The early years of an architect’s career are the perfect time to bulk up a young professional’s resume with additional credentials, by taking the LEED Green Associate or LEED Accredited Professional exams, expanding their knowledge of interior architecture by obtaining an NCIDQ certificate, or improving their familiarity with building materials and specification writing by earning CSI Certifications.