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Network, Network, Network

We've all heard it. But how do I do it?

I'm a Senior undergrad History major (w/ courses in Geog. and Environmental Studies, Minor in Planning - no undergrad major offered). I don't have major connections in the field; my friends aren't "connected" yet either. I've thought of professors... and my career counselor wants me to contact anyone in the alumni connection database (people who have volunteered to help students) in a government job. One out of the 8 is a planner.

I'm also looking at jobs over a sizeable geographic area (basically, East Coast from NY to NC) - how do I "network" with people in areas I am not from but would be interested in relocating to?

Thanks for your advice!


el Guapo

This one good place to connect. However, these things take time. Another way is to attend state APA meetings. Students can normally get in cheaply if not free if you told a story about you desire to learn "their ways." Don't forget the AAG & various leagues of Municipalities - these meetings have good traffic. Those meetings can connect you with a variety of people in all positions - including HR. And find out which professor is really connected. They are normally the one doing outside consulting. Good Luck.


First, the good news. You have the right approach. Networking will get you further than anything else in getting news about openings.

Now for the bad news.

It probably won't open too many doors for you at this stage. As you move on in your career and people get to know you, and if you are good, they will be trying to hire you or recommending you for better and better jobs. Right now, though, they do not know your talents. An internship or two could certainly help here.

Otherwise, you want to contact those alumni, use your friends' contacts, and as much as you can spend time with the professional organizations in your targeted areas. Go to their conferences, or volunteer to help the organization. Maybe they need someone to work on their web site, compile a database, or something. Most don't have paid staff and would love to have a volunteer. Explain to them that you are doing it because you would value the opportunity to learn more about the profession and meet people who might help you find a job when you graduate. Help them, and most will return the favor.

Good luck.
Grad school? / grad professors

When I went to grad school I sat down next to the County Coordinator for the county I was living in -- Got lucky, he was taking same classes -- and he gave me a job from the relationship we bulit in our grad program.

But, most people in grad school are in the midstreams of thier career, and are looking for grad school to push them further.

Many of the students were mid-level govt. employees, or in the private sector ---- great for networking --

Also professors have usually spent time in the workforce -- and have helpful contacts.
Thanks for the advice.

I appreciate the advice that all of you have given so far. To answer a question that many asked: I am intending on going to grad school but wanted to get some real world experience and *make sure* that Planning is right for me. I'm thinking of starting to apply in 1-2 years.
Kim - Are you planning on going to grad school? If so, then I highly recommend getting involved with their student organization. Also - internships, internships, internships. In one year you can have three separate internships, giving you the opportunity to start showing prospective employers how great you are. Planning is one of the few fields where it is generally better accepted than in others to job hop - you never know where your internship boss is going to end up. My first job was with the County I interned for as a grad student, and when I moved back to NY, I got a job offer from someone I'd interned for as an undergrad and he'd also moved to Albany.

Best of luck!