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Thread: Choosing your city

  1. #1
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    Choosing your city

    Hello all. I have a question about getting a job after completing school.

    I'm going to be getting my planning degree in NYC, and really want to be able to live and work there afterwards. I know that getting your foot in the door on that first entry-level planning position can be tough, so what do you guys feel the odds are of being able to pick a popular city for planners like New York, and actually getting a job? I know it's a big city so there should be many opportunities, but it seems like the competitive factor might win out. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AddG View post
    Hello all. I have a question about getting a job after completing school.

    I'm going to be getting my planning degree in NYC, and really want to be able to live and work there afterwards. I know that getting your foot in the door on that first entry-level planning position can be tough, so what do you guys feel the odds are of being able to pick a popular city for planners like New York, and actually getting a job? I know it's a big city so there should be many opportunities, but it seems like the competitive factor might win out. Any thoughts?
    A newly-minted planner is lucky to find a job in these tough times, much less expect to land one in the place of first choice.

    When I got out of grad school, I applied in the town of my choice, as well as dozens of others. I eventually, after a long search, found a job in a community I did not want to necessarily live in. I put in eighteen months there and began looking again. I got very lucky and found a job in my first-choice town.

    I would say you should certainly apply in NYC if that is where you want to go, but I would apply in lots of other places, too. A boradly-cast net yields more prospects. NYC isn't going anywhere. It will still be your first choice, if you have to spend a year or two in a "lesser" city.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Most planning schools in large cities are usually pretty good about helping students get their foot in the the door in their respective city's planning sector. I would say your odds of getting your foot in the door in the NYC are pretty good. It is full of public agencies, private sector architecture and design firms, and lots of non-profits that deal with issues related to urban development and the environment. Just make sure to seek out internships and do lots of networking through APA, ULI, AEP, etc.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Several Cyburbians harbor resentment against the private sector, but don't rule it out. With the economy the way it is, now's a good time to go private....doing so may allow you to stay in NYC.

  5. #5
    I don't want to get off topic and hijack the OP's thread, but what's so bad about the private sector?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Not to change the subject...

    I'm interested in working in the private sector as well. I have been working in non-profits since my undergraduate and am starting my masters in Albany this fall with a specialization in transportation. I've never worked in a private firm/corporation, I"m not exactly sure how to go about landing internships/jobs there. I can't imagine it being much different from the non profit sector but I'm not exactly sure what to expect.

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    Thank you guys for your input and advice, it's comforting to hear and helpful to know

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by LTrain View post
    I'm interested in working in the private sector as well. I have been working in non-profits since my undergraduate and am starting my masters in Albany this fall with a specialization in transportation. I've never worked in a private firm/corporation, I"m not exactly sure how to go about landing internships/jobs there. I can't imagine it being much different from the non profit sector but I'm not exactly sure what to expect.
    Get involved with the local chapter of the APA. The student representatives from your program can connect you.

    You may want to set up some informational interviews and/or meet with private-sector planners in the area to learn more about the types of work that they do, work environment, opportunities, etc. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    If you can I would try to find an internship in the City of your choice, even if only for a summer. Do well there and there is a very good chance they may keep you on if they like the work that you do and a position becomes available (or they may even create a position for you...that what happened to me!). Even better yet is getting an internship while you still in school in the City that your school is in, and then when you graduate you can often get hired full-time. Even if you don't want to stay there long-term you'll still have that experience for when you want to move on to another place.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    Get involved with the local chapter of the APA. The student representatives from your program can connect you.

    You may want to set up some informational interviews and/or meet with private-sector planners in the area to learn more about the types of work that they do, work environment, opportunities, etc. Good luck!
    Off-topic:
    I agree with this. Also, here's something I did to start my job search. Make a list of the companies that you are interested in and which includes:
    • Their location (city)
    • The types of work they do
    • Their size
    • Their Focus (engineering firm that does planning, planning-only firm, etc.)
    • Anything else important to you (where their office is located, business environment, etc.)
    Then pick a few that are most appealing and call them up while you're still in school. Tell them who you are and ask if you can come visit with them, learn about the work they do, etc. Don't treat it like an interview, treat it more like an opportunity to learn about how a consulting firm operates (but have your resume handy just in case).

    Also, while most planners don't have them, I think having a halfway decent portfolio is very important to planners without much experience when trying to get a private sector job. I wouldn't have gotten the job I have without my portfolio because I was interviewed by an architect and a landscape architect as well as a planner. Even if you haven't done any design work, having a booklet that shows some maps that you've made, photos of your travels or projects, and brief descriptions of that you have worked on in school will be helpful when you go back to interview at those firms you visited before you graduated.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    I don't want to get off topic and hijack the OP's thread, but what's so bad about the private sector?
    Nothing, imo.

    Quote Originally posted by LTrain View post
    I'm interested in working in the private sector as well. I have been working in non-profits since my undergraduate and am starting my masters in Albany this fall with a specialization in transportation. I've never worked in a private firm/corporation, I"m not exactly sure how to go about landing internships/jobs there. I can't imagine it being much different from the non profit sector but I'm not exactly sure what to expect.
    Do a search through the Career Development and Advice forum - should be some threads on the private sector in there.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally posted by FueledByRamen View post
    Off-topic:
    I agree with this. Also, here's something I did to start my job search. Make a list of the companies that you are interested in and which includes:
    • Their location (city)
    • The types of work they do
    • Their size
    • Their Focus (engineering firm that does planning, planning-only firm, etc.)
    • Anything else important to you (where their office is located, business environment, etc.)
    Then pick a few that are most appealing and call them up while you're still in school. Tell them who you are and ask if you can come visit with them, learn about the work they do, etc. Don't treat it like an interview, treat it more like an opportunity to learn about how a consulting firm operates (but have your resume handy just in case).

    Also, while most planners don't have them, I think having a halfway decent portfolio is very important to planners without much experience when trying to get a private sector job. I wouldn't have gotten the job I have without my portfolio because I was interviewed by an architect and a landscape architect as well as a planner. Even if you haven't done any design work, having a booklet that shows some maps that you've made, photos of your travels or projects, and brief descriptions of that you have worked on in school will be helpful when you go back to interview at those firms you visited before you graduated.
    This is great advice Fueled, thanks! I've thought about this in some ways already, but this is succinct and encorporates a lot of important tips. I'm definitely going to use this is a guide.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Glad to help!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
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    read Who's Your City by Richard Florida. Excellent book!

  15. #15
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    read Who's Your City by Richard Florida. Excellent book!
    Checked it out, that looks like a really interesting read!

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