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Thread: How not to get a job

  1. #51
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    I hate it when municipalities make you fill out an application. Why can't they just accept your cover letter and resume??
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  2. #52
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    HR always forwards me every resume, regardless of whether or not we are hiring or whether or not the person meets the advertised requirements. I suspect it is the same most everywhere.

    After two months of looking, we have one candidate who has impressed us and may advance to the next interview. (As second candidate also impressed us but has dropped out.) I have come to see that there is a good market for a seasoned planner looking for a job right now.
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  3. #53
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cardinal
    After two months of looking, we have one candidate who has impressed us and may advance to the next interview. (As second candidate also impressed us but has dropped out.) I have come to see that there is a good market for a seasoned planner looking for a job right now.
    I have been told there are not a lot of good candidates with 8-10 years experience looking for work. People are either settled into a place and not looking to move, crazy /not a good worker or burnt out.

    On the resume.

    I include a summary of my volunteer activity in my resume, but only the high end stuff I do. The reason, it shows that I have skills that are useful and being developed outside of the direct work environment. I have been told it has made a difference in the past.

    I would not put down selling girl guide cookies/giving blood or things like that, only roles where you have a high degree of responsibility (large fund raising activity, getting something built, Board experience)

    My resume is set up as follows.

    Name/contact info

    Job 1
    List of tasks/projects I worked on
    Skills Developed

    Job 2
    Job3 etc

    Volunteer
    Education/Professional Affiliation
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #54
    I was recently told that a resume profile is about you and what you can offer, but the objective is about them and what they need. That confused me. I would assume that my profile would be a cover letter, but the pleasant young woman in the career center at UNCC said otherwise. Is she full of *@%$? I tend to think so. I've never heard of putting a "profile" on a resume.

  5. #55
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by miesian corners View post
    I was recently told that a resume profile is about you and what you can offer, but the objective is about them and what they need. That confused me. I would assume that my profile would be a cover letter, but the pleasant young woman in the career center at UNCC said otherwise. Is she full of *@%$? I tend to think so. I've never heard of putting a "profile" on a resume.
    As a general rule, university career services are worthless when it comes to resumes & cover letters. She is full of shit. I have never seen this on a resume and would not want to see it. A profile on a resume tells me you (1) are to lazy to write a cover letter, (2) can't write a coherent cover letter and may have problems writing staff reports or correspondence, and/or (3) don't know what is really important for an entry-level resume. Your entry-level resume should be no more than one page. It should be accompanied by a cover letter customized for the particular job you are applying for. Skip the things like profiles and objective statements--there are FAR more important things to have on your resume than some stupid statement designed to take up space.

    If you want resume advice, see if someone at the local planning department will look it over. Also, you might talk to a technical writer (as far as formating and efficient use of space go).

    "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)

  6. #56
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    I hate it when municipalities make you fill out an application. Why can't they just accept your cover letter and resume??
    Because not every position for a public sector entity is professional. Does someone who has been hired to work on the line fixing broken sewer pipes need to put in a resume and cover letter for a job? HR in any large bureaucracy (public and private) has rules that have been established to keep the hiring process consistent. That way, they can avoid unnecessary litigation from people that did not get jobs that think they deserve it. I know it is a PITA (pain in the ...), but in this litigious environment, it is what you have to do.
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  7. #57
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post

    If you want resume advice, see if someone at the local planning department will look it over. Also, you might talk to a technical writer (as far as formating and efficient use of space go).
    this is a great idea!

    AICP also offers mentors for APA members who are students or fresh out of school - this person could also help you -

  8. #58
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    After two months of looking, we have one candidate who has impressed us and may advance to the next interview. (As second candidate also impressed us but has dropped out.) I have come to see that there is a good market for a seasoned planner looking for a job right now.
    at the last engineering firm i worked for, all the experienced planners worth hiring/keeping with the experience level you're looking for had already "bought in" by dropping about $20K of their own money into the company in exchange for some sort of profit-sharing structure inclusion, and whatever other perks came with the buy-in. i don't have any idea how common this is, but it may be part of the problem.

  9. #59
    This thread contained some of the most helpful and concrete information regarding obtaining a job in the planning sector that I have come across to date.

    I have already made a list with many of these ideas that I plan to incorporate into my resume/cover letter/portfolio as I continue to look for a full-time job.

    Thanks everyone!

  10. #60
    BANNED
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    how long is too long for a resume?


    Keep the resume short and direct: explain your experience, describe your education, list any professional organizations or awards and be done with it.

    If you are applying for an entry level position and I get a resume more than I page, I throw it out!
    I know that the "one-page" rule is common, but I had a professor tell my class that if you have direct planning experience that merits more than one page, then it is generally acceptable to have a two page resume.

    For example, as a graduate student in the second year of a two year planning program, I have been able to work four different planning internships over the past couple years, each in vastly different capacities. There is no way that I can highlight the relevant experience I have gained at each of these jobs, list my education, honors, and other pertinent skills and keep it to one page.

    Do most employers looking to fill an entry-level position with a recent grad student really "throw out" a resume simply because it is longer than one page? I could understand this if an applicant listed every job they've had since they were sacking groceries in high school, but to toss a resume with two years worth of planning internships just because it is two pages long seems a little absurd to me. But if this really is the case then I may need to change things up a bit. Any advice would be appreciated.

  11. #61
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jhawk View post
    I know that the "one-page" rule is common, but I had a professor tell my class that if you have direct planning experience that merits more than one page, then it is generally acceptable to have a two page resume.

    For example, as a graduate student in the second year of a two year planning program, I have been able to work four different planning internships over the past couple years, each in vastly different capacities. There is no way that I can highlight the relevant experience I have gained at each of these jobs, list my education, honors, and other pertinent skills and keep it to one page.

    Do most employers looking to fill an entry-level position with a recent grad student really "throw out" a resume simply because it is longer than one page? I could understand this if an applicant listed every job they've had since they were sacking groceries in high school, but to toss a resume with two years worth of planning internships just because it is two pages long seems a little absurd to me. But if this really is the case then I may need to change things up a bit. Any advice would be appreciated.
    To me (and this is just my opinion as others may differ from me on this point), you need to be able to show me that you can synthesize your thoughts accurately and concisely. While going through a two year program, your experience should be able to be easily summed up in two to three bullet points per internship. If I get a resume from someone with only internship experience and they provide me with a long verbose monologue of all this incredible experience they gained as an intern, something in my head turns off. I am not discounting the experience you gained, just your ability to communicate it in a manner that is appropriate. No matter if you are working in the public sector or the private sector, you have got to show the ability to think and write clearly and stay on point. The only people in our profession who have the luxury of long theoretical passages are the professors you have been working with for two years
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  12. #62
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jhawk View post
    I know that the "one-page" rule is common, but I had a professor tell my class that if you have direct planning experience that merits more than one page, then it is generally acceptable to have a two page resume.

    For example, as a graduate student in the second year of a two year planning program, I have been able to work four different planning internships over the past couple years, each in vastly different capacities. There is no way that I can highlight the relevant experience I have gained at each of these jobs, list my education, honors, and other pertinent skills and keep it to one page.

    Do most employers looking to fill an entry-level position with a recent grad student really "throw out" a resume simply because it is longer than one page? I could understand this if an applicant listed every job they've had since they were sacking groceries in high school, but to toss a resume with two years worth of planning internships just because it is two pages long seems a little absurd to me. But if this really is the case then I may need to change things up a bit. Any advice would be appreciated.
    My answer is "it depends". You need to be as concise as possible in your resume, particularly for an entry-level position. We don't want to read everything you did at your internship--just hit the high points and anything that directly relates to the position you are applying for.

    I always caution students that get job advice from professors, unless these professors have practical experience. In most (not all) cases, these professors have not worked in the real world or applied for a non-educator position.

    "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)

  13. #63
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with a multi-page resume for a planner with 10-20 years of experience. In fact, I would worry if it could fit on one page. On the other hand, a starting planner with only internships for experience should be able to condense their experience to a page.
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  14. #64
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Plan-it View post
    To me (and this is just my opinion as others may differ from me on this point), you need to be able to show me that you can synthesize your thoughts accurately and concisely. While going through a two year program, your experience should be able to be easily summed up in two to three bullet points per internship. If I get a resume from someone with only internship experience and they provide me with a long verbose monologue of all this incredible experience they gained as an intern, something in my head turns off. I am not discounting the experience you gained, just your ability to communicate it in a manner that is appropriate. No matter if you are working in the public sector or the private sector, you have got to show the ability to think and write clearly and stay on point. The only people in our profession who have the luxury of long theoretical passages are the professors you have been working with for two years
    I agree totally. If you have 20 years experience...then that would justify a 2 page resume...not out of college.

    Some other thoughts from resumes I have gotten... just because you earned a buck, don't put that info first. If you are going to list anything, put a spin on how it relates to what you are applying for. If you worked on a farm and are looking into environmental planning, don't list that you shovelled out stalls (even though the job you are applying for might involve a lotta sh***t).

    I think interests like acting and drama clubs can be good because it means you could be good at speaking in front of people. In general, listing hobbies is a bad idea,,, like a "professionally trained salsa dancer" or "quilting" as it is not really relavent to planning.

    Have a professional review your resume...they can give you a lot of insight.
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  15. #65
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    How not to get an interview let alone the job

    Don't address your generic cover letter to the intended employer and the letter should never refer to the position applied for nor include your qualifications for the position.
    When you list your community college minor, say "Fishing."
    When you list your university minor, say "Still Fishing."


    Yep, it's on my desk today.

  16. #66
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ruralplanner View post
    I’ll go out on a limb and say that I personally like the idea of an objective statement.
    I like them too.. I've used mine to express emotion and desire for achievement and used my experience/education as the dry, statistical measurements of my success. An objective should be a statement, not a paragraph or story. That's what your cover letter is for. Brief and heartfelt can help make someone real and not just a cog.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  17. #67
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    There is nothing wrong with a multi-page resume for a planner with 10-20 years of experience. In fact, I would worry if it could fit on one page.
    I've got 10+ years of experience, but managed to cut it down to one page by getting rid of one job, and using the title "Selected experience".

  18. #68
    (for now) Frozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Don't address your generic cover letter to the intended employer and the letter should never refer to the position applied for nor include your qualifications for the position.
    When you list your community college minor, say "Fishing."
    When you list your university minor, say "Still Fishing."


    Yep, it's on my desk today.
    Huh? I don't understand what you're saying.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  19. #69
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Huh? I don't understand what you're saying.
    Off-topic:
    Compare my comment to the title of the thread and the title of my post. Follow my recommendations and you won't get an interview or the job.

  20. #70
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    AICP also offers mentors for APA members who are students or fresh out of school - this person could also help you -
    I would highly recommend that you look into the APA Mentor program. When I came out of grad school and moved to a new town, I knew no one. I live in a metro area with about 2.5 – 3 million people. I looked into the mentor program and there were two people signed up as potential mentors. I contacted one of them and we meet a few times and he gave me advice about general topics. It has been very helpful. It is now several years later, and I still (although not very often) setup meetings with my mentor to discuss how everything is going. Not only did the program work to give me guidance and help, but most maybe most importantly, it connected me into a social network and I have met numerous people through this connection.

  21. #71
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    There is nothing wrong with a multi-page resume for a planner with 10-20 years of experience. In fact, I would worry if it could fit on one page. On the other hand, a starting planner with only internships for experience should be able to condense their experience to a page.
    I also took my interships off once I had professional experience since my professional experience is more comprehensive than any internship I had.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  22. #72
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    I never understood the "keep it to one page" rule. Maybe I'm just a freak of nature but my resume has been 2 pages since I was a year or so out of undergrad. This is after trying to fit everything on 1 page and removing all the fluff I could find. It's never been an issue in getting callbacks or job offers.

    If an employer is so disinterested in reading one additional page of bullet points in order to get a better feel for my background, maybe it's not the best work environment for me to begin with.

  23. #73
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ahh.....

    My resume just broke three pages and I keep everything on there. It CAN'T hurt to show the full extent/depth of your quality work experiences. Those old jobs may connect you to one of the reviewers, who knows, maybe they lived in that town or state or know someone you know from the past. Of course I'm not including high school jobs RJ

    I do this because once you hit 10 years experience and are looking at supervisory positions, I don't think a two or three page resume will hurt you, and if it does, they don't deserve you if they can't take the time to understand where you've been and what you can bring to the organization.

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  24. #74
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    .... Of course I'm not including high school jobs RJ .....
    Off-topic:
    Knowing the big TO as I do, I...must...not...respond. But my mind is going rabid...

  25. #75
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    . . .once you hit 10 years experience and are looking at supervisory positions, I don't think a two or three page resume will hurt you. . .
    I agree; in fact, the opposite holds true when I interview a candidate for a supervisory position who claims to have 10+ years of direct experience. A one-page bulleted resume gets me thinking, "Sooooo....... what exactly did this person accomplish all those years?"

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