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Thread: Some employment assistance

  1. #1
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    Some employment assistance

    I'm a fairly recent planning graduate. I've been looking for a planning position for about 7 months now. My geographical location of looking for employment is somewhat contained in and around the "Texas Triangle." (family concerns, etc.) I learned today, for the 5th time, that I was 2nd in line for a planning position and that the only reason was because the person had several years experience. Also, these cities are fairly large suburbs and are well known for excellence in planning from the professional and residential side.

    Therefore, I know that I am not "competing" with other graduates, yet I am with fellow planners that are making horizontal transitions for some reason or another. Incidentally, each planning director/Asst. Director in the 5 cities, as well as myself, has been impressed with the fact that I went up against these other candidates so strongly. I'm only been beaten on the basis of experience. In essence, there seem to be very few, if any, public planning organizations looking for "Entry Level Planners."

    So, do any of ya'll have any ideas about how I might be able to break through the experience threshold so that I can actually gain experience? I appreciate the help.

    Mclinen

  2. #2
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Go to the city or firm where you would like to work and ask for an internship. Make it a closed end timeline, 6 weeks or so if you can afford to do free work that long. Talk around a bit and suggest a subject which you know they need help on.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Stick with it. It is always difficult to find the first job. Even with experience, it took me 18 months to finally get the job I wanted, and I was looking nationwide.

    You really do constrain yourself considerably when you limit yourself to a small geographic area. Think hard on this. What about taking a job further away to get your feet in the door, then coming back in a couple of years? Is there a way you could broaden your search and just plan on trips home taking a bit longer?

    Look at small towns. They may not pay as well, but with a small staff (it might be just you) you will have a much better opportunity to get exposed to all of the different aspects of planning.

    Offer to consult. Send a letter to every planning department in the area stating that you are a recent graduate looking for contractual work in planning. Give them some of your background (not a resume, but a few bullet points about your eductaion, experience, and specialties) and let them know you are available at cheap rates to work on planning projects.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Internships are the answer for the short term, although I will echo other posts and state that for the time being, maybe looking outside the area will help. With that being said, I just saw an advertisement for an entry level position in City of San Angelo. I don't know if this is in the Texas Triangle, as I'm not exactly sure what that term refers to.

  5. #5
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    Just some Texas Trivia. The Texas Triangle is an imaginary triangle bound by Dallas/Ft. Worth (The Metroplex), Houston, and the Austin/San Antonio areas. I would say that over 75% of the population of Texas lives within or near the "Texas Triangle." It's most famous for being the first routes performed by Southwest Airlines when it started way back in the 1970's.

    Thanks for the help everyone. Yes, it has been difficult. Especially when one is married (versus many of my planning friends are still single) It makes some decisions a little bit more difficult and complicated with two families and starting two careers. Again, thank you.

    Mclinen

  6. #6
    Member JasonLB's avatar
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    Have you looked at County or COG jobs? They don't always pay the best, but are usually less competitive and can help you gain valuable experience

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    The financial situation in many Texas cities has been...ahem...less than stellar. There are not a whole lot of opennings right now, but it seems to go through ups and downs every month.

    If your holding your own pretty well against experienced planners, it's just a matter of time before you end up on the winning side. I would definitely focus in on some smaller towns. Hutto, rapidly growing city east of Austin, recently established a planning department and may not have filled all the positions yet. There are also a few other towns that have been farming out their planning to the private sector consultants, so you might try to contact those cities to see if their ready to go full-time. Some possibilities might be Buda, Kyle, Wimberley (watch out on this one) and Dripping Springs in the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Also, though it has not been advertised on the internet, Castroville, a town in a beautiful area west of San Antonio on Highway 90, has been looking for someone to come in as a planner and historic preservation officer. The area west of San Antonio is beautiful and great for cycling (if you're into that kind of thing). Let me know if you need the contact info for them since they don't have a website.

    I got my job through an internship, so you might try that route. Also, I would apply for that San Angelo position. It's a little outside the triangle, but being in west Texas it probably won't get a whole lot of applicants. Also, Abilene is looking for a planner. Both of those cities have very low costs of living and I have never met a mean person in either city. They are a little conservative though (think southern democrat). The Abilene city manager is a really great guy. Another idea is to get certified in something, like a certified arborist. It seems like tree preservation is getting to be a bigger and bigger deal in Texas, so that might help.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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