December 12, 2016 by Nick Serfass

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By Nick Serfass, AIAS, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, PMP, CAE

AIAS members are encouraged to use “AIAS” as a distinction after their name, as in Nick Serfass, AIAS. Let me highlight why this is an important and valuable benefit to AIAS membership – particularly as it relates to your perception among future employers, award juries, graduate admissions offices, scholarship committees, other professionals, and potential clients.

  1. The “AIAS” distinction emphasizes that you’ve gone above and beyond studio in your education. Every other architecture student in the country has completed a rigorous gauntlet of studios, they’ve all grinded through soul crushing crits, they’ve all pulled all-nighters, and they’ve all studied sustainability, context, perspective, planning, and partis. AIAS members have gone beyond, and that’s important in a world where it’s not just about what happens in the studio.
  2. The “AIAS” distinction positions you to stand out among your competitors. You are entering an exceptionally competitive world and you need a way to illustrate your value. The addition of “AIAS” after your name enunciates that you’re involved in student leadership, you’ve worked to develop career-related skills, you understand how to work well with others and achieve goals as a group, and you have a diverse set of experiences. It showcases that you have more to offer and more to bring to the table than your competitors.
  3. The “AIAS” distinction is non-subjective. Every single architecture student in the country will be putting a portfolio together. How others perceive your skills through that portfolio is subjective – and that can be unsettling. Diversify your portfolio and your resume with the AIAS distinction. It stands for something that is invariable to someone’s subjective eye.
  4. The “AIAS” distinction adds legitimacy. More than likely you are entering the profession at the early stages of your career. It may often feel like you need years to “prove yourself”. This is precisely why I personally pursued as many credentials and distinctions as possible early on. It helps counteract the negativity when age or experience work against you.
  5. The “AIAS” distinction demonstrates that you’re part of the professional community around architecture. You’ve picked the major, now join the community. Members of the AIAS are dedicated to the advancement of leadership, service, and design. Publicly spotlighting that you are a member of your professional community will help you add to your network within the community and expand your prestige outside of it.
  6. The “AIAS” distinction adds to your brand. Make sure others know that part of who you are professionally is rooted in architecture. Every impression you make, whether it’s signing your name, posting on social media, writing a blog post, making a video, or finishing a drawing adds to your brand. Make sure that brand communicates the best “you” possible. And the AIAS is a great part of “you”!