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Thread: Professional categories and job titles in planning job postings, esp. general job search engines

  1. #1
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    Professional categories and job titles in planning job postings, esp. general job search engines

    One of the frustrating things about using careerbuilder, monster, jobfox etc. to find a job in urban planning is the lack of an urban planning category. There's a Planning Director opening right now for the City of Capitola, CA posted on Yahoo Jobs and it's listed under the category "administrative/clerical". On jobfox I was asked a slew of questions and basically my strength ended up as "project management," which seemed accurate until I started getting a ton of recommendations for "project manager" jobs in the tech industry, and no recommendations that had anything to do with planning. Then there's all the other jobs that fall under the category of "planning" or "planner" (can you say Inventory Management? Party Planner?). On linkedin the closest category is listed as "architect/planner" as if we do the same things, or even like each other.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Search previous posts. The last place on earth you want to be looking for planning jobs is CareerBuilder, monster, etc. Even the APA chapter job boards have too many people applying for each job. You might want to consider targeting job boards that are more likely to have planning jobs (and also not include everything else). For example, few planners might think to look at a municipal league website, a park district association website, or even a school job board for an MPA program out of state that is open to the general public. There is not a guarantee that there will be A planning job, but again, it might be a site that might include one down the road. That is why its imperative to check these websites on a frequent basis.

    Another way to do this same method is to find websites that include links to all forms of local government within a state. These will usually include the links to the home pages of the municipalities, counties, park districts, historic districts, townships, special districts, etc. Go to each of these websites, locate the webpage that includes job boards. Copy the URL for this webpage into a spreadsheet. For example, the job board for the City of Austin, TX is http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/hr/url. Yes, this could take several days to just search the job boards. Again, you trying to find those job boards that are likely to have to planning jobs that are not visited by EVERYONE looking for a job.

    Discipline is key. Again, you will need to check this spreadsheet on a periodic basis. It may take days of persistent searches to find the barely advertised job. When you think you hit the jackpot, make sure you check the other websites you listed (as well as the APA chapters, APA national, CNU, ASLA, etc.) to see if these jobs are also listed. If the job is plastered all over all the internet, chances are you will still be competing against a ton of planners. If you are lucky and the job is hardly advertised, go ahead and apply for it.

    Yes, this is a bunch of work to just search ads. The job search today is really a numbers game. I went on several interviews over the summer for positions that were hardly advertised (but they were) and did my homework tailoring each job packet (see previous posts). Looking for a job is really a full time job, and looking for a job in a recession is at least two full time jobs.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  3. #3
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    Thanks nrschmid! I am by no means limiting my search to the big job boards. However I am not excluding them either. If nothing else, they allow me to see how widely a job has been posted. The Capitola job is a good example: I'm actually qualified for it, having been a Planning Director for a really similar city of a similar size abt 100 miles away. I will apply for it. It's also listed a bunch of other places.

    I find a lot of interesting positions on indeed.com, which draws from the big boys like careerbuilder as well as more specialized players like planetizen, state employment organizations, recruitment agencies etc.

    I was just complaining about how we get left out of categories, which can be comical at times. Wasn't suggesting that big job boards are the only place to look.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    on big job boards, I have more luck searching "urban planner"... good luck on your search
    "I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me
    I turn around and I'm back in the game
    Even better than the old me"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    When searching in a field allied to planning, you just have to search all categories. Social services, non-profit positions, etc. Finding a job is a full time job.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Veloise's avatar
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    1. Don't waste time with jobfox. It's a scam to sell you a resume re-write (and they are as persistent as your long-lost uncle in Nigeria).

    2. Try adding some keywords so you aren't inundated with financial, discharge, and production planners, or zoning and fulfillment. I like the terms land use and community, and I add keywords from the description. (Corridor studies, anyone? Whoops, wrong thread!)

    3. Nrschmid speaks truth.

  7. #7
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    I find that searching "nepa" and/or "ceqa" work great for finding environmental planner jobs. (Obv ceqa would be for jobs in CA)

  8. #8

    Non-planning planning jobs/job titles

    Having been on the job hunt for some time, it strikes me that there are many fields in which we could utilize our planning skills outside of public entities, non-profits, or private planning firms. Some of these even actively recruit people with urban planning backgrounds.

    Granted, we planners come from a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from architecture and design, to economics, to the humanities, and engineering and science (to name a few, broad generalities).

    What job titles have you all seen out there that fit this bill, yet while whatever the industry, stay generally within the realm of planning? You know, the less obvious ones... I figure this could help many such finding things in the job search engines.

    Thoughts?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Veloise's avatar
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    We need a thread merge.

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=40553

    Moderator note:
    Done.

    Also altering thread title a bit for clarity.

    Suburb Repairman
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 30 Mar 2010 at 11:55 AM.

  10. #10
    Good call - I missed that one.

  11. #11
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Another way to do this same method is to find websites that include links to all forms of local government within a state. These will usually include the links to the home pages of the municipalities, counties, park districts, historic districts, townships, special districts, etc. Go to each of these websites, locate the webpage that includes job boards.
    This.

    I did this after I was laid off from my job in suburban Cleveland. Even though local governments in the Cleveland area seldom have planning agencies, I found and bookmarked every HR/job listing page of every local government in the region, and created a folder for them. Every weekday morning, using Firefox, I'd use the "open all in tabs" feature for the bookmark folder, grab a cup of coffee, and come back to tens of loaded pages. It takes some work to maintain the links, as municipal Web sites are constantly revamped and URLs change.

    EcoEmploy (http://www.ejobs.org/) is a good place to start for links to municipal HR sites in the United States and Canada. Canadian Planning Jobs (http://canadianplanningjobs.com/) has a long list of consultant and local government HR/job listing pages for Canada. I recommend a map and your search engine of choice to fill in the blanks, for communities that may not be listed on these sites.

    As what Veloise said, on general job sites like SimplyHired, include keywords like "AICP", "zoning", "subdivision", "comprehensive plan", and other planning terms. A caveat: "zoning" is also a term used in industrial production planning and retail demand/inventory planning, so you'll never completely escape listings outside of the profession.

    Off-topic:
    Somewhat off-topic: it used to be so much easier when most municipal Web sites had a standardized URL format: www.[ci|co|town].[name].[two letter state/province code].[us|ca]. I could dependably find every Web site in an area by just changing the name of the city in the URL; www.ci.plano.tx.us, www.ci.richardson.tx.us, www.ci.garland.tx.us, www.ci.arlington.tx.us, and so on. Now, municipal Web sites have shorter URLs that don't follow a standard format; e.g. myspringfield.com.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Not sure if you have seen it yet, but Berkeley's CRP Department maintains a pretty good planning job board.

    http://planningjobs.berkeley.edu/

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    I did this after I was laid off from my job in suburban Cleveland. Even though local governments in the Cleveland area seldom have planning agencies, I found and bookmarked every HR/job listing page of every local government in the region, and created a folder for them. Every weekday morning, using Firefox, I'd use the "open all in tabs" feature for the bookmark folder, grab a cup of coffee, and come back to tens of loaded pages. It takes some work to maintain the links, as municipal Web sites are constantly revamped and URLs change.
    I've found RSS feeds to be great for this. Google Reader for example can sometimes "create" an RSS feed for a site that doesn't have it built in and will track the site for updates and send a feed when any content changes.
    ...Though I'm still searching, this does catch most of the main ones all at once. Some job sites let you customize a search to an RSS feed as well.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally posted by P1nr_Bill View post
    I've found RSS feeds to be great for this. Google Reader for example can sometimes "create" an RSS feed for a site that doesn't have it built in and will track the site for updates and send a feed when any content changes.
    ...Though I'm still searching, this does catch most of the main ones all at once. Some job sites let you customize a search to an RSS feed as well.
    great idea, thanks. I use google reader combined with rss/ web page feeds but for some reason it hadn't occurred to me to add the municipal job boards.

  15. #15
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    I just finished up my first major job search for entry-level planning jobs. Agree with everything mentioned about bookmarking local govt. websites and using "open all in tabs" in Firefox. What a timesaver! I had 50+ links bookmarked for my local area plus the state APA, municipal leagues, and local MPOs bookmarked in various folders this way.

    I also used Indeed.com for searches, which has a nice "show only new jobs" filter.
    Some of the search terms I added to "planner," usually in quotes, ie "land use planner":

    land use, regional, county, city, urban, community, community development, GIS
    "planning technician"
    "planner I" or "planner 1"
    "assistant planner" or "associate planner" etc.

    I'm sure there are more!

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