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Thread: Internships and work-study

  1. #1
    Member trishm1's avatar
    Aug 2001
    Seacoast NH

    Internships and work-study

    The school year is starting soon and I am looking for an internship and/or a work-study job for the semester or longer. I was wondering if you all could give me your thoughts on the subject and tips on making the experience most beneficial to my chosen career plans. I want to get into Historic Preservation/Planning, if you are not familiar with my other postings/rantings.

    I may have an opportunity to do grunt work in a town planning/community development office. I would think that just being in a planning office would be great experience on all fronts. Give me some feedback please.

    I also would like to hear about what you all are doing or done for internships and work-study. Your horror stories or good experiences.

    ALSO...I have looked and looked for an EFFECTIVE website for internships in planning....does ANYONE know of one??????

  2. #2
    I recomend just picking cities or firms from planning listings like the APA magazine or web site and sending out resumes. I attended the University of Cincinnati, and we have a maditory co-op program, but the people who find their own interships almost always just contact planning firms and cities in which they have a intrest. Most places hire interns as techs at least.

    Most of my experiences involved a bunch of research, but if you indicate intrest in things most places will be glad to have help. To make the most out of the experience, realize that you are a student and there to learn, take advantage of all the oppertunities you are given. I would have to say the most benificial part of my planning education has taken place in the work place. If you can swing it, an unpaid internship can almost always be found, if its good experience its worth it!

  3. #3
    Aug 2001
    Toronto, Ontario
    I didn't do an internship, but I found something that propelled me a lot further a lot faster. I got into the not-for-profit field, as an executive director of a tourism association, and as soon as I had enough experience to become attractive elsewhere, I split for mo'money! Just a thought...it's good to know options.

  4. #4

    Nov 2001
    Westerly, Rhode Island

    Internship -- Don't Leave School Without It!

    Internships are invaluable for the prospective planner. I had three while in graduate school, with one leading to the other due to the connections I made along the way. Not having much in the way of professional experience, I made the most of these internships on my resume and used each supervisor as a reference. I attribute my internship experience as getting me "through the door" for job interviews. Years later, as a planning director, I budgeted annually for student interns and tried to give them meaningful short-term tasks. This enabled them to complete a project from A-Z during their internship, and I could then tout the accomplishments to the mayor and town council, who liked the results and continued to fund the prgram. If possible, choose an internship focusing in the area you intend to pursue as a profession. I once interviewed a job candidate for an entry level city planner and it quickly became apparent that while in school he had never visited a municipal planning department. He fumbled unsuccessfully with a triangular scale when I asked him to measure the distance between A and B on a site plan, and began to cry when I asked him how many square feet were in an acre (honest). Bottom line -- know something about the job for which you are applying, and consider the internship that provides you with this knowledge. Even if you can't answer every question tossed at you during an interview, the experience should give you a savvy that will be noted by the prospective employer.

  5. #5
          Downtown's avatar
    Oct 2000
    Under a pile of back issue Plannings
    I'm with Bella. My little sister was finishing her soph. year of undergrad and still undeclared. So I hooked her up with an internship at my old planning/engineering firm. She was doing total crap work (one day's duty was to sharpen 225 pencils for a public meeting) but she did get a great understanding and perspective on what the other planners were doing. So now she's declaring planning.

    In grad school, at least 50% of the internships that my classmates took were direct tickets to a job with the firm/agency. So I would suggest maybe taking the boring gopher internship to start with and trying to make contacts within your more specific field to line up your next internship.

    Good luck!

  6. #6

    Sep 2001
    somewhere cold
    I agree with Bella, an internship is critical when you begin to look for a job. What else are you going to put on your resume - waitress, bartender? Not only will it help you get a job, it will help you decide what you want to do. I learned as much about planning at my internship as I did in grad school. A good nonprofit web site is idealist. Also, many universities list internships on their web sites and post them on the wall at school. Try checking with a university planning (or similar) program in a city that you want to work in.

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