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Thread: Recent grad can't find job, what to do next?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Universities are typically divided up into sectors of learning, such as liberal arts, hard sciences, and professional areas of study.
    Thanks. I know what you were talking about but was unsure how Professional Degrees fit into the BA, MA, and Dr/PhD hierarchy. So it's not really on that academic scale but more like a segment of one of those degrees?

  2. #27
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Thanks. I know what you were talking about but was unsure how Professional Degrees fit into the BA, MA, and Dr/PhD hierarchy. So it's not really on that academic scale but more like a segment of one of those degrees?
    Well, a "professional" degree will often be some special degree like MD, JD, MBA, MPP, B.Arch, M.Arch, BSN, DO.... the list goes on and on. It's whatever the regulatory/licensing body--or professional accreditation body--has chosen as the "first professional degree" required for entry into a given profession. Some professions themselves aren't really regulated, like policy (MPP), public admin (MPA) or business (MBA), oh and lets not forget planning. There are a lot of programs that are not accredited by PAB and some that are... my impression has been that it really doesn't matter to employers if your program is accredited or not. Cal Poly likes to say their programs are accredited, but its never once been raised outside of college. Even the requirements to apply for AICP certification aren't any different than if you graduated from a non-accredited planning program, last time I checked.

    Some professions will accept a "regular" degree like a BS for entry. For example, engineering.

    So yeah, in general, "professional" degrees will often not follow the traditional AA/AS, BA/BS, MA/MS, PhD hierarchy. There are exceptions to this. Also, this is not to say you can't get entry into certain professions with a traditional degree.

    I wouldn't really pay a lot of attention to the actual acronym of the degree... but what the college actually says about their program, where their students end up after graduation, and what kind of people are teaching in the program.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Even the requirements to apply for AICP certification aren't any different than if you graduated from a non-accredited planning program, last time I checked.
    Yes they are, its 2 years of experience after a masters from a PAB-accredited program and 3 years to take the exam for non-PAB-accredited masters in planning. BA's in planning have to wait 4 years to the the AICP exam

    As far as employers caring, it varies...I know my employer wants me to get AICP asap so hiring me out a PAB-accredited program was heavily considered.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  4. #29
    Cyburbian
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    3 years for PAB accredited BUP's.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  5. #30
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PrahaSMC View post
    The reality is, six months after you finish your master's, the student loan payments kick in... For those of us with an MUP and no job, this is an extremely daunting predicament. It's also easy to say "network," but this is such a nebulous concept. I've worked alongside public and private sector planners, government officials, architects, engineers, etc. in both my internships and volunteer position for the past two years. I've established some really good relationships, but it doesn't matter; no one was hiring in 2008, no one is hiring now, and no one is hiring in the near future. If you find a PD that is impressed with your work, that's great, but it doesn't change the reality that cities and states across the country are facing massive budget shortfalls and layoffs. Not to mention in my state, the trend is towards regionalization... end the one city, one department norm to have leaner, more efficient public services. This results in fewer planning jobs, not more.

    I guess all I'm trying to do here is help with some perspective. It's all well and good to talk about volunteering and networking, but when you are making a decision like this, what really comes into play is money. If you spend upwards of $50,000 on a degree that doesn't land you a job quickly, you are going to be in a really tough position. Trust me.
    Praha I am sorry to hear that you have not found a job.

    For the OP, I guess take it for what it is worth. When I start looking for a code enforcement/planner position this spring; education, networking, and internships will play a role in who gets the job. I cannot speak to other agencies or people, but for me, I think they are extremely important. I went into to debt for my grad school just a little, but knew that it would allow me to go higher up in the job market once I did get a job. Do whatever you think it best for you in terms of long term goals. If you are not wanting to stay in the Planning field forever, an MUD might not be right. Look at MPA or a similar degree. Do not get caught up in the recession/short term job prospects. I know it is hard to think past today when you don't have a job, but build your resume and marketability for when the jobs start coming back around.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #31
    Cyburbian PrahaSMC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Praha I am sorry to hear that you have not found a job.

    For the OP, I guess take it for what it is worth. When I start looking for a code enforcement/planner position this spring; education, networking, and internships will play a role in who gets the job. I cannot speak to other agencies or people, but for me, I think they are extremely important. I went into to debt for my grad school just a little, but knew that it would allow me to go higher up in the job market once I did get a job. Do whatever you think it best for you in terms of long term goals. If you are not wanting to stay in the Planning field forever, an MUD might not be right. Look at MPA or a similar degree. Do not get caught up in the recession/short term job prospects. I know it is hard to think past today when you don't have a job, but build your resume and marketability for when the jobs start coming back around.
    I very much appreciate the encouragement and advice that is circulated on these threads.

    Again, I don't mean to come off as pessimistic for the sake of being pessimistic, nor would I ever discourage someone for pursuing their desired career path. I gather that you seem hopeful that the economy will turn around relatively soon. As someone with an economics background, I respectfully disagree... I think we are going to continue to experience a period of prolonged economic hardship. I also believe that local government entities, plagued by massive deficits and declining revenues, are going to continue to cut staff indefinitely. A Republican administration in 2012 could likewise reduce federal positions. Therefore, when chosing an advanced degree, it may be unwise to hang your hat on a profession for which most of its members are public employees (or heavily depedant on a dormant development sector). That's just what I see when I look at the tea leaves, FWIW.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    The only constructive thing I have to add to this thread (other than seconding the request to leave politics to the FAC) is that many graduate degrees can be obtained with little or no debt if you do your homework. Many planning programs offer tuition waivers in return for assistantships. There are also scholarships such as the Humphrey Scholars program that fund graduate studies in planning - these are often apportioned to various graduate programs who dole them out based on merit.

    The key is to be willing to go to a good school, but not a top school. The MIT and Berkeley world does not offer a lot of financial aid- they don't need to. But the Big 10 schools and their like do, and offer a fine place to get a Masters.

  8. #33
    Yes they are, its 2 years of experience after a masters from a PAB-accredited program and 3 years to take the exam for non-PAB-accredited masters in planning. BA's in planning have to wait 4 years to the the AICP exam
    Ah, I knew I should have checked again before I made my statement.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    The key is to be willing to go to a good school, but not a top school.
    Amen! I think our forum on this topic is a little biased towards the top 10 so to speak, but in reality, you will get just as good of an education, go less in to debt and be more likely to get assistantships/experience at your state schools.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  10. #35
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    The only constructive thing I have to add to this thread (other than seconding the request to leave politics to the FAC) is that many graduate degrees can be obtained with little or no debt if you do your homework. Many planning programs offer tuition waivers in return for assistantships. There are also scholarships such as the Humphrey Scholars program that fund graduate studies in planning - these are often apportioned to various graduate programs who dole them out based on merit.

    The key is to be willing to go to a good school, but not a top school. The MIT and Berkeley world does not offer a lot of financial aid- they don't need to. But the Big 10 schools and their like do, and offer a fine place to get a Masters.
    Ohio State is pretty much my only option. It is within commuting distance so that I could continue my current rent-free status, keep my job with healthcare (that I need b/c of a pre-exist condition), and my car is now paid off. If I was to take on any financial burden this is the situation in which to do it. University of Cincinnati is probably the only other remote possibility.

    I've talked to Ohio State and the planning program isn't as into as the assistanships and other types of aid programs, they work more primarily with internships which is right now the big draw for me b/c it gets me working in the field and helps me network. To be honest, the classroom portion of things doesn't really appeal to me at all. Not that there probably isn't a ton I couldn't learn, I just want to get out there, get working, and start living like a normal adult.

    I'm also considering either enrolling at Ohio State as a non-degree student to take some courses or enrolling at the local community college that offers a lot of GIS courses, a skill I have the basic tools of but have found is becoming more and more of a pre-req. While not offering internships there are still networking possibilities and I could further enhance my knowledge at a much more affordable price.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    J-O, here's some more brainstorming.

    While at my municipal jobs, citizens would come in and attempt to file for a permit or appeal. I'd help to the extent that staff could. Presently, before the BZA, there's a parade of citizens asking for forgiveness, and many could benefit from a capable guide. Seems like there are plenty of deck permits and garage re-builds and signage variances that could keep a small-time consultant busy, especially in an area with many suburbs and small communities.

    The way to land those would be to meet with staff planners, discuss, drop off business cards. (I am thinking of the many times I've initiated a conversation at a fabric counter, or Kinko's, and ended up getting a gig out of it.) Depends on your level of entrepreneurial spirit. You could keep your day job and work these little projects on the side, and in the process you'll cross paths with staff at many jurisdictions, and higher-up consultants who might decide to hire you and eliminate the competition.

    And in closing, seems like I beat you up on Urban Planet about TOSU when you were here in town.
    So here's a word from my sister, the doctor (U-M BScience 1976):


  12. #37
    Amen! I think our forum on this topic is a little biased towards the top 10 so to speak, but in reality, you will get just as good of an education, go less in to debt and be more likely to get assistantships/experience at your state schools.
    Also, there is just a lot less financial assistance at the masters level. I'm sure most planning programs give out the random $500 scholarship/award, which doesn't help a whole lot with a $30,000 or $40,000 a year education from a "top" school. But if you go to a state school that will be more than halved, and even more so once you're classified with resident status. I just paid about 5,000 a year for my MPP degree from Cal Poly, and about $4,400 per year for my BSCRP before that. That's not counting the departmental awards and the federal/state financial aid.

    One of the first rules of picking out a good scotch is remembering that older and more expensive malts do not always, or even often, make for the best scotches. Same thing holds true for schools. Unfortunately, the higher price appeals to our sense of refinement. Like we're really worth more than a cheap state school, and if we get into an Ivy Leauge it will solve all of life's problems and will give us happiness. Because if it's more expensive and esteemed, it must be worth more, right? This isn't to say an expensive school can't be a great experience... but the question is whether it's worth the cost. We might feel different one year after a high-priced education than we feel one year prior to it, working a typical planning job for a pittance with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

    You can go out and experiment with hundred dollar bottles of scotch and in hindsight, after having an idea of what's really out there, realize that a 30 dollar bottle appeals to your tastes better than anything else. Unfortunately, we can't afford the same experimentation when it comes to education. But some people almost seem to behave like that's the case. On the other hand, if, after doing the research and suppressing your egoism, a high-priced school is still on the list, then go for it. If you really, really want to do it, for the right reasons, then you should go for it.

    This is what it boils down to:1) figure out what you want to do (a process having plenty of its own pitfalls), 2) identify the schools that will accommodate and encourage your dreams regardless of national prestige, cost, whether it's public or private, or the image of the school (which most of the time is fabricated), and 3) apply.

    Step 2 is based, not on information presented on a school's website, but by your discussions with professors AND students currently in the program. A department could very well be better or worse than how it portrays itself online. I always thought the Cal Poly CRP program didn't really do itself justice with its website. Likewise, the company I work for, which has a long-standing strong reputation, has one of the worst websites you will ever see. Sometimes I think we get too reliant on the Internet and gathering data that we overlook more important indicators. Needless to say, the most important thing you could do when investigating a program is to visit the department in person and at least glance into classrooms and labs and chat with current students. You're considering paying a huge amount of money to a department, so check out your investment before you commit!
    Last edited by chocolatechip; 10 Dec 2009 at 10:59 AM.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian
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    Has anyone paid to use Urban Planning Now! 's job service? Is it worth the money?

  14. #39
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Johio View post
    Has anyone paid to use Urban Planning Now! 's job service? Is it worth the money?
    I can't speak for Urban Planning Now; there are other threads on it. If you want to stay in Ohio, though ... the state's been really dry for the past two years, even around Columbus. I used to work as a principal planner for a county outside of Cleveland for five years. I was laid off a year and a half ago, and since then I haven't seen much of anything in the state except a few very low-paying entry-level planning and township zoning inspector jobs in out-of-the-way areas. I had to leave the state to find a job.

    Ohio Planning Conference (APA Ohio Chapter): http://209.235.208.145/cgi-bin/WebSu...&DBCode=918304
    Ohio Municipal League: http://www.omlohio.org/classifieds.htm
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #40
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    Anything pretty much east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line is fair game.

    I'd consider going out west or down south. The traveling for the interview becomes more problematic but I'd definitely consider it.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Jo, you just shared a planning director post. Keep an eye on that one. I'd bet a spare inner tube that they promote from within, thereby leaving an opening further down the ladder.

    HTH

    That is, unless they hire Dan...

  17. #42
    Cyburbian
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    Bad news:

    Since last posting I have been laid off from my part-time job due to hours cuts effectively ending what small income and health insurance I had.

    Good news:

    1. Since last posting. I have since been accepted into Ohio State's MCRP program. I won't have enough time to gather the resources to start during winter quarter so if I decide to go I probably will start in spring.

    2. Sending out blind resumes paid off. I'm going next week to talk to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) about doing some intern work with them. I doubt it will be paid but its a networking and experience-gaining opportunity.

    I'm still very wary of accumulating a lot extra debt going back to school especially with the prospects of it paying off grim. However, it would improve my chances of getting hired, help me network with an internship, and allow to get onto a student health insurance program. Aside from finding a full-time position with benefits this is starting to look like the only viable option.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Great to hear Johio! Congrats on entrance into your program - if it isn't too late, don't forget to apply for an assistantship (mine came with a full tuition waiver plus a $1000/month living stipend).

    Also congratulations on your possible internship - keep at that. Blindly sending out a cover letter and resume is how I landed my first internship and my first job. Keep doing it throughout school, if for no other reason than networking.

  19. #44
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    Fortunately, the part-time job I was laid off from due to hours cuts has been able to schedule me again so I do have some sort of income.

    My internship is rolling along. I'm doing data entry of home sewage treatment locations for a 208 water quality plan. Not the most exciting work in the world but I appreciate the work and the opportunity. No paycheck yet but I do have my own cubicle and a sign with my name on it.

    I decided to defer enrollment to grad school to fall. I'm still not sold on the idea from a financial stand point.

    Still no luck on the job search front. I've barely been able to find anything to even send a resume to. It's been almost a year since I last had a planning related job interview.

    I've not even officially entered the field and I'm already starting to think about looking into other careers. This April will mark 2 years since graduating from college. The problem is, I don't even know what else I would want to do.

    As always, suggestions welcomed.

  20. #45
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    Grad school is like an investment, it's worth it though you might want to do a part-time one. I am on the same boat as you do right now too!
    Take some time and figure out which field you really want.

  21. #46
    Johio, as long as you don't have anything better going on, it sounds like the OSU thing is your best bet. I always try to dissuade people from leaving good planning jobs to get another degree, but in your case, if you don't get back on track by next fall, you should do the program. Otherwise you'll start to move out of your chosen profession and become less and less relevant to future employers. If it means you take on some debt to do it, I think its worth it. That is, as long as youre sure you want to stay in planning.

  22. #47
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    You should check and see if OSU still has internships that allow for some type of funding mechanism. They didn't give out funding when I was there, but they did have internships which helped defray the cost.

    I think OSU is your best bet as well. You will get experience, make some friends, and network. If nothing else, you will see many employers in your two years there... I know I did. Although the idea of getting debt is scary, sometimes it is the best way to make sure in the future you can secure a job and pay it off. Good luck!!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  23. #48
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    My long search is finally over. I accepted a position in Pennsylvania. Thanks to everyone for all the input and suggestions during this process.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Johio View post
    My long search is finally over. I accepted a position in Pennsylvania. Thanks to everyone for all the input and suggestions during this process.
    Congrats, a planner friend of mine finally got a job this past week as well...yay!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  25. #50
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Congrats!!! A lot of times, getting that first job in your field is the hardest!

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