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Thread: So I'm graduating next week with my master's...

  1. #1
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    So I'm graduating next week with my master's...

    I've read through some of the threads here, and I have a few specific questions.

    I'm getting my master's in urban planning next week (yay! ) I attended the National Conference in Las Vegas last week, went to a few sessions, milled around a bit with people I know. I didn't really see a job listings that interested in me (they all looked West Coast, and I want to stay Southeast no matter what).

    I have a resume put together, but no cover letter. I know I need to get on that cover letter.

    1) I plan on sending them to a bunch of cities, counties, MPO's, etc even if they aren't listed anywhere as hiring. E-mail them or mail them hard copies?

    2) This may be a bit early, but I read in other threads that recommend saying a range when asked about salary. How do I know what I am worth? I'm fresh out of college with a master's in planning, and had a 2-semester municipal internship (which I am bummed out about because I learned absolutely nothing except how to use the fancy copy machine and municode.com).

    3) What is the difficulty level for rookies in the office? I have nightmares that I am going to be fired in 2 months, because I "don't know how to do anything they want me to". Maybe that is normal paranoia, but what really is expected of rookies. Do they start them out with very simple things, and work you into the office gradually?

    That's basically it. I've mainly got the fear about being clueless as where to start when I get an assignment.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    First, congrats on graduating. You're entering a tough job market at an unfortunate time.

    1. Forget about sending resumes to gov't agencies that aren't recruiting. It's a waste of time. If they're not advertising, they're not hiring. Cold-calling is best reserved for the private sector. I also recommend you broaden your acceptable work area. You can always return after a couple of years of experience. West coast ain't that bad.

    2. The entry level wage that is offered. Get your foot in the door.

    3. If you have the basic skills you'll do fine. I recommend you not come to work under the influence, sleep in your office, or search pron on the office computer. (Spoken by a manager who fired three people for this behavior.)

    Best of luck.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    I agree with what RJ said.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  4. #4
    Damn RJ those planners are pathetic

    Don't send the resumes and coverletters in bulk. Tailor both of these (and applications) to the position you are applying for (you need to stand out, and show how you bring added value to the position).

    For an entry-level job in planning, regardless of the economy, you always have to stand out from the rest of the pack: we are a growing, but still very small profession. You might also want to consider submitting a portfolio of your work (this might be a few writing samples or a graphic or two (but not your mug shot)).

  5. #5
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    As a newbie in the field I can give you a few tips.

    As far as sending out resumes in bulk, it won't work for the public sector. Public jobs have to be advertised, so if they aren't advertising, they aren't hiring. You may have some luck in the private sector, but I agree with RJ that you my have better luck, cold calling.

    In terms of finding a job, remember there are MANY places that advertise jobs. Look at the National APA website, State Chapter Websites, The State League of Cities, State Association of Counties.

    Think back to your internship, even though it may had seemed useless, think about what you did. Did you answer citizen's questions about zoning? Or help out with any plan reviews? In my current position (my first position out of school), I spend approx. 25% of my time just answering citizen's questions about zoning.

    In terms of salary, in the public sector it all depends on what the budget allows. Many positions will list a starting salary, expect to start within $1,000 of it. Oftentimes you may start at the starting salary, and receive a small raise after your probationary period (3-6 months). I wouldn't worry about getting fired, most people I know spend the first month or 2 getting to know the ropes. Just listen and be willing to learn something new and you should be alright! Good luck, and congrats on graduating!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    I agree with what RJ said.
    Off-topic:
    Really now? Then I must rethink my comments. After all, I wrote that after a couple of breakfast beers. Nobody ever agrees with my opinions.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input everyone! Based on what y'all have said, I will just have to tough it out and expect to have fun this summer. Hmmm, maybe I don't want a job after all!

    If I have to spend the summer looking and looking, I guess I'll take my GIS textbook to school and just run through the tutorials again reacquainting myself with it. I haven't touched it in 2 years.

    I'll definitely look at some of those places mentioned such as the national page, state pages, etc. for job listings.

    1-2 months learning the ropes? That's good. Seems like enough time to make enough money so that I don't end up living under the interstate. Oh and I don't plan on looking at any pron at work.

    I did my master's final project on the proposed Central Fla Commuter Rail. I figured that's got to be worth something I can send in if they request to see it. FLA was really my target area, but I guess I'll have to expand my search.

    Summer of fun ahead...

    Thanks everyone.

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