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Thread: Where to turn for opportunity?

  1. #1
    Member
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    Where to turn for opportunity?

    Hey All,

    I'm looking for some advice as to where to turn for job opportunities. I have a BA in planning and a Masters as well. I finished school in 2010 and my experience is only a few internships (albeit good ones). I am living in Minneapolis and finding job opportunities have been few and far between. I think I've only interviewed once for a job that actually wanted a planner. In the meantime, I'm making next to nothing at a local bank and becoming more miserable by the minute.

    I check my local APA, league of cities, and council of nonprofits websites daily, but that hasn't led to many opportunities. I have a few questions. For those of you that are not working as planners, what job do you currently hold? Even if you are seeking work as a planner, I'm still interested to know where you are working in the meantime. My second question is, where else should I look for jobs?

    I greatly appreciate any advice you can offer! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gopher View post
    Hey All,

    I'm looking for some advice as to where to turn for job opportunities. I have a BA in planning and a Masters as well. I finished school in 2010 and my experience is only a few internships (albeit good ones). I am living in Minneapolis and finding job opportunities have been few and far between. I think I've only interviewed once for a job that actually wanted a planner. In the meantime, I'm making next to nothing at a local bank and becoming more miserable by the minute.

    I check my local APA, league of cities, and council of nonprofits websites daily, but that hasn't led to many opportunities. I have a few questions. For those of you that are not working as planners, what job do you currently hold? Even if you are seeking work as a planner, I'm still interested to know where you are working in the meantime. My second question is, where else should I look for jobs?

    I greatly appreciate any advice you can offer! Thanks!
    Yeah, I've heard the Minneapolis area is supposed to be this growing place with a lot of jobs (and it has plenty of suburbs), but yet I have yet to see many planning jobs posted up there. Granted, I don't check the municipal websites up there, but I've seen pretty much nothing from the APA on any M-SP area jobs.

    I'd definitely widen your net and apply to planning jobs across the country, or at least in the entire Midwest or in places you could see yourself living.

    As far as what I'm doing, I'm holding down two jobs, one doing overnight stocking for a national retailer, and the other one is three days a week as an intern for a real estate company. I would have never thought to look into real estate had the internship not been posted on the APA national and state websites. But I get to do a lot of planning-related work, researching properties, collecting land-use data, using GIS, putting together marketing packets, and updating community information. Granted, not all real estate companies may offer such opportunities, but it's definitely something to look into. Also, consider GIS jobs, environmental jobs, whatever you can find that's related to what you want to do. And don't always rule out internships. A lot of places may only want people still in school, but you never know, as I've found out. It can only be better to increase your level of experience while looking for a full-time job.

    Also, something that I regularly do is check all the city and county websites' online job boards. Not sure if you're doing this, but I've found that a lot of jobs just aren't posted on the APA or municipal league websites, for whatever reason. So, check your local counties and suburban websites all the time! And again, broaden your net! You increase your chances by applying to hundreds of jobs across the country rather than 5 jobs in your local area.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  3. #3
    Not all municipalities post jobs on APA. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of them are no longer doing so, knowing they'll get inundated with hundreds of applications that will only make the hiring more time-consuming.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Not all municipalities post jobs on APA. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of them are no longer doing so, knowing they'll get inundated with hundreds of applications that will only make the hiring more time-consuming.
    That has always been true. Many planners, zoning administrators, etc., do not get their APA dues paid and may not be members. Their employers are unlikely to know about APA and even more unlikely to spend a few bucks to advertise planning jobs through APA. Look at municipal league sites and newspaper classifieds, as well as other sites (there have been countless suggestions in other threads on this subject).

    The bottom line is that to land a planning job in this economy, you must be willing to move, and more than likely, to do time in a rural community.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post

    The bottom line is that to land a planning job in this economy, you must be willing to move, and more than likely, to do time in a rural community.
    Agreed. But I wouldn't call it 'doing time'. ;o)

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all your input. I'm willing to move, to an extent. The problem is my girlfriend is tied here because of the hospitalization of a family member and I'm not sure I'm willing to move away from her. I guess at some point, you have to consider if a relationship is worth sabotaging a career, and it might be. It is easy to get advice on searching for a job, but not on the complications of managing a personal life and trying to develop a professional life. I really appreciate all your help, I'll be using some of these strategies.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I've had new graduates come to my municipality and drop off applications, sounds like you may have to go make an opportunity as opposed to waiting for one. The resume will look better if you stay involved in the field, even if you're not being paid for it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info dissent. I have spread resumes out to a lot of the private sector around here. You don't think it would be frivolous to drop resumes off with local municipalities?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    It wouldn't be frivolous if you had a little bit of interaction with a senior staff member or department head. Just be sincere about wanting an opportunity to be involved with them. Some jurisdictions are casual about letting people on board, but I'd imagine most have a formal process which must be cleared with HR before an 'official' intern can be brought on.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    There is a job opening in Breezy Point and another in Duluth for their COG. You can also try things like city administrator for a small town, as those seem to pop up every now and then.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

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