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Thread: Well-written, enticing job listings

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Well-written, enticing job listings

    Those of you who have been on the lookout for a new job have probably seen an ad for a senior planner position for Binghamton, New York posted a few months ago. It was a typical, basic ad for a planning job with a government agency in the United States. You've seen them plenty of times; they just matter-of-factly list the title, duties, qualifications, salary, application information, and a notice that minorities and women are encouraged to apply, with little or no embellishment.

    The position was recently reposted, but the ad is much different. I'm quoting it not because I have any connection to the city, but because it's an interesting, well-written ad.

    AWARD WINNING PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT TEAM! The City of Binghamton (NY) is now seeking applications for Senior Planner to join an award-winning Planning and Development team carrying out an ambitious, progressive agenda. With strong support from the administration, the Planning and Development Department is advancing sustainable development and smart growth principles across a range of bold, transformative projects:

    SmartCode
    Climate Action Plan
    Urban Agriculture and Food Security
    Green Infrastructure and Housing
    Historic Preservation
    Urban Forestry
    PACE Program (residential retrofits)
    Brownfield Development
    Civic Empowerment (“Design Your Own Park” & “Neighborhood Assemblies”)
    Community-based, Comprehensive Neighborhood Planning
    Waterfront Development
    Deconstruction & Waste Reduction
    Summer Youth Green Job Corps, and others…

    Professional and dynamic staff with strong commitment to teamwork, principled work ethic and service with integrity and excellence. This is a rare opportunity to join an action-oriented planning and development team firmly committed to progressive, positive change on the local and regional level.

    Senior Planner candidate must have at least one year of professional experience and experience in supervisory role preferred.

    To apply and learn more about the qualifications and work duties for this mid-level position, please visit the EMPLOYMENT page at www.cityofbinghamton.com. Interested candidates are also strongly encouraged to review the Department’s webpage before applying. Position is open until filled.
    The ad reminded me of many I've seen from Canadian planning agencies, which are often written in a friendlier, bess bureaucratic tone than the typical ad from the United States. For example, here's an ad for a development control officer position in Regina, Saskatchewan.

    Our employees make the City of Regina a more vibrant, inclusive, attractive and sustainable community; a place where people live in harmony and thrive in opportunity.

    This position is responsible for providing exceptional customer service to internal and external customers in the interpretation, administration and enforcement of zoning bylaw regulations. This position provides accurate and timely zoning information to customers, reviews development proposals, and conducts inspections to ensure compliance with zoning regulations.

    For more information and to apply, please visit our website at Careers.Regina.ca
    Closing date: August 16, 2010
    And another, for an environmental resource planner position with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

    Are you looking for an opportunity to provide environmental resource management, promote environmental protection and conservation, and engage with multi- stakeholders?
    Why not consider a career with the Ministry of the Environment`s Eastern Region. This Region seeks a highly communicative, analytical individual to be a part of an environmentally focused work group by playing a key role in planning, evaluating and identifying environmental issues and making recommendations.

    Here, you will:
    • Promote environmental protection, pollution prevention and conservation
    • Provide legislative and policy advice and recommendations to planning approval authorities
    • Identify environmental issues and conflicts, and develop and integrate solutions
    • Review official plans, amendments and plans of subdivisions, as well as provide pre-submission consultation
    • Identify, develop and implement outreach and training to promote land use management and environmental assessment
    • Coordinate reviews by internal interdisciplinary teams in areas of air, water and land
    • Evaluate applications and projects for approval under the class environmental assessment (EA) requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act, and prepare minister`s correspondence, briefing notes and other documents. Location: 1259 Gardiners Rd., Kingston.

    Qualifications: Your background and experience enables you to meet the following requirements:
    KNOWLEDGE:
    • Proven ability to interpret and apply related theories, principles and practices of land use planning, and environmental assessment processes
    • Proven ability to interpret and apply relevant legislation and guidelines
    • Demonstrated application of the principles and practices of environmental science, including ecosystem (the interrelationship of land use and water resources) and media-specific natural environmental management components
    • Communication, presentation, interpersonal, negotiation and arbitration skills to provide advice, guidance and leadership in the proactive promotion of environmental management
    • Ability to work in a team and independently.

    TECHNICAL AND EVALUATIVE SKILLS:
    • Proven analytical, research, planning and project management skills used to assess and identify environmental issues and conflicts, and to implement solutions
    • Time management and organizational skills to ensure that submissions are completed within legislated timelines and that established priorities are met
    • Working computer skills to use a variety of software applications such as Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, databases and Excel to prepare reports, notes and correspondence. OTHER:
    • Ability to drive to other locations within the Eastern Region, including rural and remote locations that do not have transit available.

    Salary range: $1,214 - $1,484 per week

    Please apply online, by August 30, 2010, by visiting www.ontario.ca/careers and entering Job ID 29202 in the Job ID search field.

    Please follow the instructions to submit your application online.
    Faxes are not being accepted at this time.
    If you need employment accommodation, contact the Eastern Region Recruitment Centre at 1-613-547-4402 or 1-866-410-8933.

    Only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. The Ontario Public Service is an equal opportunity employer.

    Accommodation will be provided in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
    Meanwhile, a typical American listing; Planning Manager for Oroville, California.

    DEFINITION
    To manage and supervise the activities of the Planning Division, ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations; to coordinate planning activities with other divisions, departments and agencies; to provide highly complex staff assistance to the City Administrator, City Council, Planning Commission and other bodies in planning matters; and to perform related duties and responsibilities as required.

    SUPERVISION RECEIVED AND EXERCISED
    • Receives general direction from the City Administrator.
    • Exercises direction over professional, technical and clerical personnel.

    EXAMPLES OF ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS - Essential functions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Plans, organizes, directs and supervises the services, programs and activities of the Planning Division.
    • Within City policy, recommends appropriate service and staffing levels; allocates resources accordingly.
    • Develops, implements and evaluates goals and objectives, policies and procedures, program guidelines, and short- and long-range plans for the division.
    • Continuously monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery methods and procedures; identifies opportunities for improvement; directs the implementation of changes.
    • Prepares and administers the division’s annual budget.
    • Selects, assigns, supervises and evaluates the performance of division personnel; provides or coordinates staff training; ensures staff compliance with all applicable policies, procedures, laws, regulations and standards; implements discipline and termination procedures.
    • Provides advice and assistance to the City Administrator, City Council, Planning Commission, and other bodies in matters pertaining to City planning; prepares items for meeting agendas of planning commissions and boards.
    • Performs advanced, professional planning work.
    • Directs, supervises and participates in the preparation, revision and implementation of the City’s General Plan.
    • Conducts research, performs analyses, prepares reports and makes recommendations for complex planning issues; reviews projects prepared by staff and consultants to ensure quality project design and compatibility.
    • Conducts site inspections.
    • Prepares and/or updates ordinances and resolutions related to planning, zoning, subdivisions, annexations, environmental review and related planning/zoning matters; makes final interpretation of zoning and other planning-related regulations; enforces codes and makes arrangements for abatement of violations.
    • Confers with architects, engineers, developers, investors, consultants and the public on planning and economic development matters; receives and responds to inquiries, concerns and complaints regarding planning projects and other department functions.
    • Coordinates division activities with other divisions, departments and agencies as appropriate.
    • Prepares and presents reports and recommendations related to planning and economic development issues.
    • Reviews and processes various planning permits.
    • Creates and maintains planning database and maps; prepares maps for special studies and projects.
    • Serves as the Enterprise Zone Coordinator.
    • Keeps abreast of new trends, legislation and developments in municipal planning and economic development.
    • Represents the division in various City, regional, civic and community meetings as required.
    • Performs general administrative work as required, including but not limited to attending and conducting meetings, reviewing and preparing correspondence, entering computer data and preparing spreadsheets and computer-generated reports, copying and filing documents, sending and receiving faxes, etc.

    MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

    Knowledge of:
    • Pertinent federal, state and local laws, codes, ordinances and regulations.
    • Advanced principles and practices of urban planning and development.
    • Research methods, trends, recent developments, current literature and sources of information related to urban growth and development.
    • Organization and functions of various federal, state and local public and private agencies involved in the planning and economic development processes.
    • Organizational and management practices as applied to the analysis and evaluation of programs, policies and operational needs.
    • Principles of supervision, training and performance evaluation.
    • Budget preparation and administration practices.
    • Modern office practices and technology, including the use of computers for word and data processing, spreadsheet and GIS applications.
    • Methods and techniques of effective technical report preparation and presentation.
    • English usage, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
    • Safe work practices.
    • Public / community relations techniques.

    Ability to:
    • Interpret, analyze, apply and enforce pertinent federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.
    • Supervise/manage multiple projects simultaneously.
    • Effectively administer planning and development programs and activities.
    • Perform advanced, professional planning work.
    • Develop, implement and interpret goals and procedures for providing effective and efficient planning services.
    • Assimilate both technical and theoretical concepts from many diverse disciplines and apply the knowledge in creative and innovative ways to solve unique problems.
    • Analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, determine consequences of proposed actions and implement recommendations in support of goals.
    • Analyze, interpret, summarize and present administrative and technical information and data in an effective manner.
    • Analyze site design, terrain constraints, circulation, land use compatibility, utilities and other urban services.
    • Recommends selection, supervises, trains and evaluates staff.
    • Prepare and administer budgets.
    • Perform mathematical computations with accuracy.
    • Use computers for word and data processing, spreadsheet preparation and GIS applications.
    • Gain cooperation through discussion and persuasion.
    • Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
    • Speak effectively in public.
    • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
    • React professionally at all times, dealing with sensitive, political or controversial situations with tact and diplomacy.

    Experience:
    Five years of increasingly responsible professional experience in planning, including at least two years of experience in a responsible middle-management position, preferably in a local government jurisdiction. Several years of experience in economic development / redevelopment is desirable.

    Education:
    Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s degree in planning, public administration or a closely related field; a Master’s degree in urban planning or a related field is desirable.

    Additional Requirements:
    Possession of a valid California driver’s license.
    TL/DR, I know.

    The senior planner position in Binghamton doesn't pay that much, considering the responsibilities and desired experience. However, I believe the new ad will attract far more interest than what was posted a couple of months ago. Instead of looking like yet another typical planning job, Binghamton's new ad describes a challenging but interesting job with a progressive agency. What do you think?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Interesting, I've never even thought about this before. Just seems natural.
    If I am asking someone to put in loads of effort to write a cover letter and a resume for me, the least I can do is be polite and put in an equal amount of effort in my request.

    I guess a nice side benefit would be it attracting more replies, as you mentioned.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Many human resources types cannot distinguish between professional positions and laborers. Or, to give HR the benefit of doubt, they are not allowed to make the distinction and are working with 30 year old policies. I have noticed that it is slowly changing.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    The Planning Manager ad is written in the language of a civil service manual, Section 040205-32A. Some of the "essential functions" and required abilities are comically obvious. "Perform mathematical computations with accuracy"? "Use computers for word and data processing and spreadsheet preparation"? Wow... I don't know if I qualify for this position.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I don't think it is about attracting my replies per say. I am pretty sure these agencies are recieving a ton of replies. It is more so attracting the "right person" thus they are trying to weed out the less desirable canidates that don't meet what they are seeking. This is an especially taxing and time consuming task when you recieve hundreds of applications for one job.

    If i were looking for a job, i would more than likely apply for the NY job versus the CA job simply because I have the skills and abilities as well as experience in what Binghamton is looking for, especially with my skills SmartCode, Climate Action Plan formation and Community-based, Comprehensive Neighborhood Planning, which is basically what i did for almost 6 years as a consultant. The Oroville job specifcally asks for 2 years in middle management in a local government capacity. To me, if you don't have that, don't even bother to apply.

    Again, i think the better written job ads as compared to a few years ago is just a way to save the department time and get the canidate they want with so many applicants in the market now.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  6. #6
    Senior Planner candidate must have at least one year of professional experience and experience in supervisory role preferred.
    Am I the only one who finds this a little odd? I suppose they think they'll get planners with ten years in this economy but still... if they want planners with ten years experience they should just say that and not lead on other planners with less experience who can't compete with the more experienced.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    A little planning birdie told me...

    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Am I the only one who finds this a little odd? I suppose they think they'll get planners with ten years in this economy but still... if they want planners with ten years experience they should just say that and not lead on other planners with less experience who can't compete with the more experienced.
    I think they might be happy with someone with 1 year of experience. Perhaps they know the limitations of their salary and realize they are more likely to get someone at the beginning of their career.

    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    I don't think it is about attracting my replies per say. I am pretty sure these agencies are recieving a ton of replies. It is more so attracting the "right person" thus they are trying to weed out the less desirable canidates that don't meet what they are seeking. This is an especially taxing and time consuming task when you recieve hundreds of applications for one job.
    It might be about both. They might be trying to expand the pool in hopes of getting the right person. Upstate NY doesn't have the same draw as Boston, NYC, North Carolina or Cali. and with a lower salary it might be proving difficult to get any qualified responses.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Am I the only one who finds this a little odd? I suppose they think they'll get planners with ten years in this economy but still... if they want planners with ten years experience they should just say that and not lead on other planners with less experience who can't compete with the more experienced.
    No, that was one of the first things I really noticed in the ad - a very big HUH?
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I was thinking "too long/didn't read" (TL/DR) myself. I will model my next posting on some of these if HR lets me.

  10. #10
    Perhaps they know the limitations of their salary and realize they are more likely to get someone at the beginning of their career.
    Then that person isn't really a senior planner. Anyway, no big deal, just pretty odd.

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Seems like Binghamton has a revolving door for their staff. Maybe they are trying this tactic to make a more serious effort to get the 'right' person for the position?

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