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Thread: College graduates seeking work

  1. #1
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    College graduates seeking work

    Hello All,

    I have just recently graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Community and Regional Planning. I have been on this site for the past few months reviewing job opportunities as well as indeed.com, monster.com, planning.org, and several municipal websites and university websites that compile planning job openings.

    I recently received my diploma this past Friday and am looking for work. I graduated with a 3.34 GPA. I understand that the current job market is rough, but I am a dedicated employee with two previous internships that is looking for entry level work.

    I do not care about living in my current state (Illinois), and am willing to relocate.

    Basically, I'm asking what advice you have in current job seekers, and where the best place to look for jobs in planning may be.

    I have experience/competence in Microsoft Office, ArcGIS, and SketchUP.

    Any and all information is welcome! Thank you guys.

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Welcome from the Great State of Ohio! As I am sure you are aware, our profession currently is working against the budgeting of "shrinking" government. If you keep your net wide enough, and network areas of the country you want to be in, then you will find work. Try to get your foot in the door anyways possible. Intern, volunteer, and get to know the people who work in the areas you want to be. It seems that the northeast has a lot of opportunities right now... not sure why.

    Good luck, and glad to have you.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JShallcross View post
    Basically, I'm asking what advice you have in current job seekers, and where the best place to look for jobs in planning may be.
    The advice given in countless threads on this site to this same question has not changed: pound it hard, spend hours a day on applications where it is likely you will never be contacted (every ignorage igets you closer to a written no, which is closer to an interview no, which is closer to an unpaid internship). You'll want to bartend or stock shelves to make money until you either somehow find a job or go to grad school. You may get lucky and find an internship, but I'd count on bartending for a while - more hotties than a warehouse.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  4. #4
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    Diversify, look into redevelopment corporations, hospitals, low income housing groups, small municipalities, land trusts, conservation groups, oil and gas, Canadain Provinces have lots of openings due to oil development.

    The reason I didn't go for a graduate degree in planning was because I met sooo many profressional AICP planners who didn't either. They came from all backgrounds.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PHeller View post
    Diversify, look into ... oil and gas, Canadain Provinces have lots of openings due to oil development. ..
    If you can stand it, it is not really planning (but pushing paper and hoping the made-up numbers don't get scrutinized) but you can't swing a dead cat around the Front Range without hitting a drilling rig, all of which require permits showing how they are "prepared" to "mitigate" an accident. Pulling off a frack in the middle of the night near a subdivision requires some skills that may be transferable in the future. :o/
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There is plenty of good advice in similar threads in this forum, so please go on a search. There was a recent report that found that over half of recent college graduates have not been able to find work, or are working in occupations that do not require a college degree (ex., retail sales, waitress, etc.). Even people with professional backgrounds and work experience have had to settle for these kinds of jobs, or perhaps a step above, but not in their field. The job market is still tight and there are many experienced people still looking for work. Plan on a long search. I don't mean to discourage you, but to prepare you for perhaps a lot of rejection.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JShallcross View post

    I have experience/competence in Microsoft Office, ArcGIS, and SketchUP.
    Off-topic:
    Why does every grad known to man think having "sketch up" experience a really good thing? Seriously, its a poor man's designer tool and most agencies don't even use the darn program (only good for the design realm, and even than, it just a crappy program to begin with and doesn't convey a conceptual message that a hand drawn sketch that can be done on flimsy in 1/4 to 1/2 the time does) Sorry, read too many internship resumes today. end rant /
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    As an independent Sketchup contractor, there are plenty of clients who like it. I use hand-rendered Sketchup components, and use custom styles that mimic professional hand-rendered boards. For clients who want multiple views of a project site AND who want a hand-rendered look, Sketchup is very cost-effective: the software license is cheaper, the hours drastically cut. Rubyscripts also help reduced billable hours to do tasks/batch processing. Some other clients prefer Revit as it has different capabilities.

    I question any student who uses the word "experienced" in general unless they had a previous career/work experience.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Off-topic:
    Why does every grad known to man think having "sketch up" experience a really good thing? Seriously, its a poor man's designer tool and most agencies don't even use the darn program (only good for the design realm, and even than, it just a crappy program to begin with and doesn't convey a conceptual message that a hand drawn sketch that can be done on flimsy in 1/4 to 1/2 the time does) Sorry, read too many internship resumes today. end rant /
    Keeping the OT short, I sell myself by explaining that my renderings are purposely in freeware.

    Granted, I do this by dint of what I do, and practicing professionals who do work for a living appreciate how I explain how to keep costs low. You can make fancy-pants expensive drawings, but if I can show you the same idea for less, who are you going to hire?

    And nrschmid has an excellent point about the 'experienced'.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I question any student who uses the word "experienced" in general unless they had a previous career/work experience.
    I guess my rant really was with the term "experience". I interviewed a potential intern yesterday and they listed they were "experienced" in GIS and asked this person how to create some shapefiles from existing data and creating additional subset data needed for a new file. He said had never done that. Obviously they won't get a call back.

    Job Seekers:
    Experienced means just that, experience. You have the skills set to jump right in, no questions asked, in either a professional setting, or can provide detailed answers to questions about the program.

    Expert means your the "go to" person, ie, you are the man to go to do solve any and all issues

    Trained/Capable/Utilized means well you have worked in the program or skill but may know your way around, but by no means are you the two definitions above (most students imo)
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

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