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How do I gain experience?

In Reply to: How do I gain experience? posted by S Pringle on March 19, 1998 at 17:27:51:

How do I gain acctual feild apllication in environmental planning as a graduated BA of environment design, with no cash for masters only two internships, when everyone is looking for a masters degree and two years experience?

"A lost soul and wasted tallent"

Lost Soul: Do like most planners do. Work a couple of part time jobs until you have enough cash to decide where you want to live. Then go there with the cash and visit the planning department (s) in that area and don't leave until they give you a job. Volunteer for them indefinantely. You'll get a job if you "fit in," are reponsible, and capable enough to contribute to the organization. Good luck.
My colleagues and myself have found a number of ways to obtain employment. The first of these is to give up some of your working time and undertake some unpaid work experience.

This usually is very successful as you either a) are able to showcase your working capabilities and be offered a job or B) you then have practical experience which is very useful when applying for jobs.
Also when local authorities or private consultants ask for someone with a certain amount of experience we have found that you ignore the experience requirements and apply anyway. Lastly, the majority of jobs are usually internal vacancies (therefore, not advertised) and it often comes down to who you know. If you are associated with a professional organisation who hosts forums etc - it is cliched but it is true - it is all about contacts


Dear Leader
Staff member
After working for about four years, I had to go back to school to get a masters degree in order to get ahead in the profession.

While the US economy is booming and jobs go begging, planning remains a very specialized field, with lots of practitioners and few open positions. There's a flood of new MUPs leaving the schools every May, and joining them are Canadian planners rushing south of the border, victims of municipal consolidation and a so-so economy. MUPs are applying for the Planner I positions that the BS/BA grads used to fill.

There are many less-than-desirable cities that actually seek out less qualified candidates, believe it or not. The rationale - a stellar candidate would probably leave after a couple of years, while someone who doesn't have as much experience is more likely to stick around longer to gain that experience.

Many new planners seem to have their eyes set on Portland, Seattle or Austin. Instead, check out medium-sized cities (20K-100K) and rural counties in areas that aren't "hot." Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Huntington, West Virginia; Goldsboro, North Carolina; Ocala, Florida; anyplace named Springfield - you get the idea.

Many places, like where I got my first planning job, have a "three and out" reputation - most folks put in their three years and leave. Wanna' move to Boulder, Madison or Chapel Hill? Stick it out in Casper, Wyoming first, and then wait until your _second_ job.