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Thread: Recent Graduate BUP (May '11, Dec '10): Have you landed your first position yet?

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    Recent Graduate BUP (May '11, Dec '10): Have you landed your first position yet?

    Hello All,

    Long time lurker, haven't posted a ton, but I have a question that I think many are asking - have any recent graduates been fortunate enough to land their first position? I'm speaking specifically to those planners with a BS or BA.

    If so, what did you do to set yourself apart for the crowd? Where did you find your best job leads? What kind of internship experience did you have (if any).

    Thanks in advance!

    Philip

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    Title of thread

    Mods: I've incorrectly labeled this thread due to multitasking... could you rename it "Recent BUP Graduates (May '11, Dec '10): Have you landed your first position yet?"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Yes:

    I received my BA in planning in the spring of last year while finishing a year long internship with a state geological agency. After an internship with a muni and an internship with an MPO I landed an entry level job in March this year.

    What did I do to set myself apart?

    It's tough to say. For all I know I've been lucky. For my internships, I had to do a great deal of networking, asking questions, getting in touch with the right people, etc. I think this is where most people hit walls. They don't know anything about the field or the job (because school doesn't do a great job preparing people), and therefore they don't know who to talk to or how to highlight themselves effectively.

    When people on this site tell you to cater your Resume to the job description. They mean literally take exact phrases from job descriptions, and find ways to match those phrases to your job skills. As an entry level candidate, you aren't going to have much going for you as far as separating yourself from the crowd, I have a feeling right now the crowd of entry level is a pretty big one at this point. Following directions is always a good start, that usually weeds out half the applicants right off the bat. Don't just depend on APA sites to find job openings either. This is somewhat hypocritical coming from me since I found my current job through APA, but I think I'm one of the few. If you hear of a job by word of mouth or networking, then there's a better chance there will be fewer applicants (keep in mind, nowadays fewer applicants probably means less than 100).

    Honestly, I think the best advice I can give someone trying to make it right now is to be flexible as far what you think you should be doing. It is inevitable that with less and less open planning positions, there will be more and more disappointed and distressed people competing over what's out there. My internships didn't pay well at all, and I had to do side jobs waiting tables and working sometimes 70 hour weeks just to get by. It ended up working out alright for me, but I wouldn't have been able to live like that forever. As is so often asked on this site, why do you want to be a planner? If you have a solid answer to this, then maybe it's worth the struggle. If not, then think about what it is you like about planning, chances are you can find the same qualities in other fields...
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

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    You know, I think I remember reading something about that in the Unemployed Planners' Support tread - congrats!

    It sounds like your internships may have made a huge impact. I fear that I may have made a mistake, turning down the only internship that I was offered due to a test for a position that offered a much better position. I did well on the test, but haven't heard back for the position yet. Needless to say, the internship didn't like the idea that I'd be testing for another position (even if I wouldn't start the other position until after the internship had been completed.) Now, I'm internship-less and having trouble finding one.

    I've been shying away from the national APA website and checking state website that I have interest in. I've been finding jobs, but so far haven't had so much as a call back. I'm noticing positions on the APA website in what some would consider less desirable areas. Maybe applying to those and being persistent is my best option.

    Thanks for the advise of actually including phrases from the job description. I've been trying to include many of the terms that were included in the post, but haven't gone as far as actually using some of their own terms.

    Do you have any opinions on governmentjobs.com? I've seen a number of postings on there, but have a feeling those are applied to the most due to the relative ease of applying once you've set up a profile...

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    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Probably the only thing that I am certain of was how helpful the internships were, not just for the Resume but for understanding how planning offices operate. I have found and applied for jobs through governmentjobs.com, but never received any offers so I can't say I have any opinion on it or know if it will be any different than responding directly to a city's job opening.

    A good first step if you haven't done this already is to cold call any local agencies you have near you and see what's available, even if only an unpaid internship or volunteer opportunity. It's not ideal, but it could be a start.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

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