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The unemployed planner support thread

jwhitty

Cyburbian
Messages
135
Points
6
You expect to get a job in a very competitive field but you don't feel entitled? Many people in your position take a job to pay their bills and keep looking for work in the field. You have options but you feel entitled to a planning job.

I commend you for your perseverance but thinking no other generation understands what you are going through is very short sighted. There are many people on these boards that have worked hard, paid their dues and through no fault of their own got laid off and have to find work doing non planning jobs to pay their bills.

You are very special with your two degrees, some minor planning work, all of your very marketable skills, an internship and a ton of interviews. :r:
There's some of that entitlement culture sentiment I was missing before!
 
Messages
22
Points
2
You expect to get a job in a very competitive field but you don't feel entitled? Many people in your position take a job to pay their bills and keep looking for work in the field. You have options but you feel entitled to a planning job.

I commend you for your perseverance but thinking no other generation understands what you are going through is very short sighted. There are many people on these boards that have worked hard, paid their dues and through no fault of their own got laid off and have to find work doing non planning jobs to pay their bills.

You are very special with your two degrees, some minor planning work, all of your very marketable skills, an internship and a ton of interviews. :r:
I have two jobs plus a unpaid internship, what more would you expect of me? Am I not working hard enough for you? What more would you like to see me do, before I am worthy of a job in your opinion?

How long did it take for you to get your first job out of school?

Are you aware of the economic situation that existed from after WWII to the recent economic collapse? I bet you it is exponentially more difficult to get a job now than then.

You are not understanding my point, those people who have gotten laid off are also in a very difficult situation, one that has not existed since prior to WWII, this is a response to a post about how my generation feels entitled and wants our dream jobs handed to us. There is nothing entitled about what I expect.

For prior generations to attack my generation for venting about the current work environment, that is what is short sighted. It must be great to criticize those who expect a job, not a great job mind you but something with benifts. The horror of expecting maybe the tiniest sliver of the "American Dream" I know it is a crock of shit, but hey marketing firms are good at their jobs. Maybe if prior generations had not run the economy into the ground I would not have to worry about getting a job and the future of this country. Good job guys, I'm just glad you can look down your noses at my generations predicament, a situation your generation placed us in.

But your right, I should just forget about planning, how dare I desire to work in a field I have a degree in and have worked in for a year, for free.

Would you feel any different if you were in my shoes? Ask your self that question before you attack me for defending my generation and our struggle. A**


You should switch teams, you sound far more like a "Pensioners" than a Gooner.

Moderator note:

*Hink Let us remember to be civil. Name calling is not necessary. We all want to have a cordial discussion. Let's keep it that way. Consider this a warning.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I have said it before and it is worth repeating. The best planners I have hired have had degrees in geography. Sure, that is partly because of the work I do . I need people who can do research on a broad variety of topics, and a geography education seems to better prepare people for that than a degree in planning. But take away this point: a degree is only one piece of the puzzle. Your experience, your location (where you are or more importantly where you are willing to go), your innate talents, your network, your luck, and many other factors all go into getting that first job and later ones. Do not expect to get to your dream job with your first job. It is a stepping stone. I used my first couple jobs to gain experience, hone skills, and fund graduate school. My next job required me to take a pay cut and move to work in a rural community, but put me in a director's position that let me get the next job. This led to a high profile job that, more than anything else, confirmed that I wanted to consult instead. Another take-away: what you want changes over time. Some people may start out with planning, get disallusioned, and move to another field. If they like it, great. But if you want a career in planning, keep trying different approaches until you get it right. Don't be talked out of pursuing your interests just to have "work", even if you have to take a detour now and then.
 

hilldweller

Cyburbian
Messages
3,866
Points
23
I have said it before and it is worth repeating. The best planners I have hired have had degrees in geography. Sure, that is partly because of the work I do . I need people who can do research on a broad variety of topics, and a geography education seems to better prepare people for that than a degree in planning.
Geography is the course I took in college to get an easy A, so I'm surprised that you value a geography degree so highly. I don't think geography is all that much different than planning as far as a subject of study, and neither is particularly challenging IMO.
 

Backstrom

Cyburbian
Messages
116
Points
6
Geography is the course I took in college to get an easy A, so I'm surprised that you value a geography degree so highly. I don't think geography is all that much different than planning as far as a subject of study, and neither is particularly challenging IMO.
Well, he didn't say he valued geography degrees. He said the best planners he hired happened to be geography majors. Plus, not all geography majors are one and the same. A GIS student is probably more valuable than a political geography major, at least when it comes to planning.
 

Brocktoon

Cyburbian
Messages
3,728
Points
22
I have two jobs plus a unpaid internship, what more would you expect of me? Am I not working hard enough for you? What more would you like to see me do, before I am worthy of a job in your opinion?

How long did it take for you to get your first job out of school?

Are you aware of the economic situation that existed from after WWII to the recent economic collapse? I bet you it is exponentially more difficult to get a job now than then.

You are not understanding my point, those people who have gotten laid off are also in a very difficult situation, one that has not existed since prior to WWII, this is a response to a post about how my generation feels entitled and wants our dream jobs handed to us. There is nothing entitled about what I expect.

For prior generations to attack my generation for venting about the current work environment, that is what is short sighted. It must be great to criticize those who expect a job, not a great job mind you but something with benifts. The horror of expecting maybe the tiniest sliver of the "American Dream" I know it is a crock of shit, but hey marketing firms are good at their jobs. Maybe if prior generations had not run the economy into the ground I would not have to worry about getting a job and the future of this country. Good job guys, I'm just glad you can look down your noses at my generations predicament, a situation your generation placed us in.

But your right, I should just forget about planning, how dare I desire to work in a field I have a degree in and have worked in for a year, for free.

Would you feel any different if you were in my shoes? Ask your self that question before you attack me for defending my generation and our struggle. A**


You should switch teams, you sound far more like a "Pensioners" than a Gooner.

Moderator note:

*Hink Let us remember to be civil. Name calling is not necessary. We all want to have a cordial discussion. Let's keep it that way. Consider this a warning.
Man you do have an entitlement mentality...I don't look down at your generation just people like you that think the world owes them a job because they got a degree and worked unpaid for a year. You expect a job with benefits but are you doing to earn that job? Its other generations fault because you can't get a job...its age discrimination because you don't have work.

I have over 30 years before I can retire. I probably have 10 years or so on you and like you when I graduated I felt entitled to a high paying job with benefits. Like you my parents bank rolled me until I figured out that I was not special, I did not deserve a job...I had to earn a job and fight hard to keep it. I found work for a tech company dot.com during the bust, in the financial services industry right before 9/11, in Michigan during its lost decade and in Arizona during the worst recession the state had ever seen. I was never handed a job. I have been in the workforce for 14 years and have lived through 4 recessions. I could call you names like a spoiled, thinned skinned brat but I know your frustrated and your lashing out was anger because this is not how you saw your life.

You feel you are owed the American Dream...what you fail to realize is that you have to work for it...you have to make sacrifices for it. You want a job with benefits but it has to be a planning job. Why not take a job in another field that has related skills while looking for planning jobs? You chose a field that has been shrinking for 6 years. What is more important, paying your bills or realizing a dream you feel entitled?

If you really want to find a planning job then read this thread and others like it. There is some great advice on how to find planning jobs. You will find posts on how people found their first planning jobs in small communities, COG's and other areas and started to build their resume and have moved on to better things. You might have to work in East Jesus, Nebraska, or Pigs Knuckle Alaska or are these small communities not good enough for you?

I will give you credit you know your soccer...Up the Gunners!
 
Messages
22
Points
2
Man you do have an entitlement mentality...I don't look down at your generation just people like you that think the world owes them a job because they got a degree and worked unpaid for a year. You expect a job with benefits but are you doing to earn that job? Its other generations fault because you can't get a job...its age discrimination because you don't have work.

I have over 30 years before I can retire. I probably have 10 years or so on you and like you when I graduated I felt entitled to a high paying job with benefits. Like you my parents bank rolled me until I figured out that I was not special, I did not deserve a job...I had to earn a job and fight hard to keep it. I found work for a tech company dot.com during the bust, in the financial services industry right before 9/11, in Michigan during its lost decade and in Arizona during the worst recession the state had ever seen. I was never handed a job. I have been in the workforce for 14 years and have lived through 4 recessions. I could call you names like a spoiled, thinned skinned brat but I know your frustrated and your lashing out was anger because this is not how you saw your life.

You feel you are owed the American Dream...what you fail to realize is that you have to work for it...you have to make sacrifices for it. You want a job with benefits but it has to be a planning job. Why not take a job in another field that has related skills while looking for planning jobs? You chose a field that has been shrinking for 6 years. What is more important, paying your bills or realizing a dream you feel entitled?

If you really want to find a planning job then read this thread and others like it. There is some great advice on how to find planning jobs. You will find posts on how people found their first planning jobs in small communities, COG's and other areas and started to build their resume and have moved on to better things. You might have to work in East Jesus, Nebraska, or Pigs Knuckle Alaska or are these small communities not good enough for you?

I will give you credit you know your soccer...Up the Gunners!
Read the link that I originally was replying to, if you want to understand my points.
What have I said that presents the image of being entitled? I am taking whatever work I can find and making it work. Am I disappointed that I have yet to come across full time work, yes. Do I expect to be given a job, no.

I don't understand your perception that I believe I am special, I am willing to and have been paying my dues. I am just of the opinion that after a year, I should be able to obtain an entry level position. Not high paying, but full time with benefits.

Finally, depending on your age, if you were born between 1970-1990, this article that I was originally responding to was insulting you as feeling entitled as well.
 

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
930
Points
22
I don't understand your perception that I believe I am special, I am willing to and have been paying my dues. I am just of the opinion that after a year, I should be able to obtain an entry level position. Not high paying, but full time with benefits.
Have you looked outside of planning. There are jobs out there, especially in fast growing states like Texas. With a masters you could probably find something that can pay the bills planning related or not and transfer back into planning as the economy improves.

Finally, depending on your age, if you were born between 1970-1990, this article that I was originally responding to was insulting you as feeling entitled as well.
As someone born at the tail end of that range, I believe the article is well written and spot on. Our generation does have unrealistic expectations given the environment today. It's not all of Generation Y, but the vast majority. We expect a job to pay for our lifestyles, consisting of upgrading to the latest smartphone every couple years, driving a newish car around town, and dining with our friends at expensive restaurants. The sooner we admit that we aren't entitled to squat, with or without a degree, the better off we'll be.

Most of my classmates in my grad program were admitted directly from undergrad. They expected big jobs upon graduation. The disillusionment in my graduating class (2010) was heartbreaking. All we can do is work our asses off, getting paid for our work, and hope for the best, but are we in no means entitled to a high paying job in a field of our choosing.

On a side note, anyone going for a masters in planning for the money will probably end up disappointed. There are other degrees out there with a much better ROI. I'm not convinced that taking an unpaid internship for an extended period of time after graduation is a good idea either. More than likely it's intern abuse and the employers should know better. It might also be illegal as the Department of Labor has a strict definition of what constitutes an intern, which is often knowingly and unknowingly violated by employers. [/end rant]
 

jwhitty

Cyburbian
Messages
135
Points
6
You all realize that when you publicly dismiss someone wanting financial security, you are just normalizing a system of inequality. Should someone be entitled to work? Yes. Should someone be entitled to a living wage? Yes. Should we have to scrape by, hoping to become professionals in our chosen or similar career path? No.

This isn't new: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EZ5bx9AyI4

What is new is the idea of entitlement. It is a neoliberal construct used to justify elimination of previously gained rights by dividing us. Look at the trends, entitlement culture becomes a popular saying when our governing bodies decide to change our economic system. The conservative hard line is to tell someone that they don't deserve something. Telling someone that they are entitled because they haven't worked "hard" (with no conceptual definition of hard work), is bitter, individualistic, and serves no one. We are planners, it should be obvious to us that the cost of living is becoming more expensive and unsustainable, regardless of modern conveniences. Transit costs more money. Housing costs more money. Education costs more money. Healthcare costs more money. These aren't general inflationary changes. Life in the United States is becoming more and more expensive to the average individual compared to previous generations. Telling someone to shut up, eat their peas, and accept their lot in life is stupid. We do not make progress by lying down.
 
Messages
22
Points
2
How long after graduation did you obtain your first full time position?

I am going to ask this to anyone who wants to reply since I am receiving so much criticism for my expectations How long after graduation did you obtain your first full time job?

I am apparently crazy for thinking that after obtaining two degrees and spending a year and a half taking any work I can get, both paid and unpaid, I should be able to obtain a full time position.

Finally, I am not sure what you all consider work outside the planning field, but my biggest issue right now is competing with people who have more professional planning experience than me. I believe that any position that strays to far out of the field will just close the door further on a job within the planning sphere.

Just to make sure people understand where i have been in the last year and a half I will provide a list of positions that I have held, and yes I have been pigeonholed because of my skill set.

DCP Intern
GIS Intern/Specialist
GIS Planner (Contract)
DCP Intern - Current
GIS Intern/Analyst - Current
GIS Analyst/Research Assistant - Current (Contract)

The use of internships in the current economy is allowing people to pay next to nothing for work that should be budgeted for full time staff employed at a much higher rate.

I hope this demonstrates that I am not just sitting around complaining about how the world is unfair.
 

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
930
Points
22
I'm having a bad day. My apologies for the rant. What I really want to say is this: life isn't always fair. We can rant and debate all day how things should be in this world, but the "I'm going to change the world attitude" doesn't always jive with reality.

My personal belief is that no one is owed a job in a field because they have a degree in that field. It takes lots of hard work, experience, and a little luck. That's still not a guarantee.
 

Backstrom

Cyburbian
Messages
116
Points
6
I'm having a bad day. My apologies for the rant. What I really want to say is this: life isn't always fair. We can rant and debate all day how things should be in this world, but the "I'm going to change the world attitude" doesn't always jive with reality.

My personal belief is that no one is owed a job in a field because they have a degree in that field. It takes lots of hard work, experience, and a little luck. That's still not a guarantee.
I agree. Earning a job is a privilege, not a right. Working very hard (extremely hard, in the case of many unemployed planners) is no guarantee and that is simply a reality of our field. I, too, wish that prospective employers would see the plight that I'm in (out of full-time planning work since last December) and consider those circumstances, but they don't think like that. They can't afford to. They will simply take the best, out of any stack of resume they get.
 

HomerJ

Cyburbian
Messages
1,035
Points
15
I am going to ask this to anyone who wants to reply since I am receiving so much criticism for my expectations How long after graduation did you obtain your first full time job?

Just to make sure people understand where i have been in the last year and a half I will provide a list of positions that I have held, and yes I have been pigeonholed because of my skill set.

DCP Intern
GIS Intern/Specialist
GIS Planner (Contract)
DCP Intern - Current
GIS Intern/Analyst - Current
GIS Analyst/Research Assistant - Current (Contract)

The use of internships in the current economy is allowing people to pay next to nothing for work that should be budgeted for full time staff employed at a much higher rate.

I hope this demonstrates that I am not just sitting around complaining about how the world is unfair.

It looks like you have gotten a fair amount of experience thus far. A couple questions:

-Are you interested in staying with GIS? Or are most of your GIS positions based on what has been available/your skill set?
-Do you have a masters in planning or something related?
-How have you been searching for jobs? Searching online? Networking? Are you willing to move outside of your region if you find the right planning job?


I'll admit I too get frustrated with being seen as part of a whining and complaining generation. I've made a great deal of personal sacrifices to benefit my career that I wouldn't have been forced to make in a healthy economy. But guess what? So has everyone else. You point out that you have to compete with people who have more professional experience. This is true and it's very frustrating, but many of those people were laid off, and it had nothing to do with their performance. How can you say you have it worse when that person typically has no one to fall back on, no job, and a family to take care of? The economy has hurt everyone, there isn't much value in trying to identify who has it the worst.

I personally feel lucky the crash happened while I'm in my twenties and not later on in life. I've been able to adapt and move on. It's thickened my skin, and more importantly it's taught me to manage my expectations.

EDIT: To answer the original question. One year of interning after undergrad: then I moved over 500 miles for a planning tech position. After another year of that, I landed a better job in a bigger city (had to move again about another 1,000 miles) and things have gotten considerably better since.
 
Messages
22
Points
2
It looks like you have gotten a fair amount of experience thus far. A couple questions:

-Are you interested in staying with GIS? Or are most of your GIS positions based on what has been available/your skill set?
-Do you have a masters in planning or something related?
-How have you been searching for jobs? Searching online? Networking? Are you willing to move outside of your region if you find the right planning job?


I'll admit I too get frustrated with being seen as part of a whining and complaining generation. I've made a great deal of personal sacrifices to benefit my career that I wouldn't have been forced to make in a healthy economy. But guess what? So has everyone else. You point out that you have to compete with people who have more professional experience. This is true and it's very frustrating, but many of those people were laid off, and it had nothing to do with their performance. How can you say you have it worse when that person typically has no one to fall back on, no job, and a family to take care of? The economy has hurt everyone, there isn't much value in trying to identify who has it the worst.

I personally feel lucky the crash happened while I'm in my twenties and not later on in life. I've been able to adapt and move on. It's thickened my skin, and more importantly it's taught me to manage my expectations.

EDIT: To answer the original question. One year of interning after undergrad: then I moved over 500 miles for a planning tech position. After another year of that, I landed a better job in a bigger city (had to move again about another 1,000 miles) and things have gotten considerably better since.
Before I answer your questions, I want to make clear that I am arguing for my generation in response to the blog post and i have never said I personally have it worse than any other person.
I am very aware of the job market, and believe that personally I am in a much better situation than someone who got laid off during the crash. I have my parents to fall back on, only have to support myself and can defer my loans if needed. The situation my not be ideal in terms of the economy, but from a personal standpoint I am lucky and am aware of that.

My argument about job expectations and the affect of the economy upon my generation is looking at the larger picture and the situation we are faced with once we have graduated. I believe that is more difficult than what has been faced since prior to WWII. Again, I believe people who have been laid off during the crash are in a more difficult situation than I am, with the exception of having year(s) of work experience on their resume. But in response to people calling out my generation for being entitled and expecting to be able to obtain a position after graduation, we have been put in a more difficult position than generations that have come before us. This solely means in terms of the situation generations have faced when they graduated with their degrees, not who has it worse at the moment.

Now the questions.

-Are you interested in staying with GIS? Or are most of your GIS positions based on what has been available/your skill set?

GIS is what I am very good at, I have applied for any type of planning position that has been posted over the last year plus. Of my applications, I have received interest mainly along the lines of GIS related positions. I ideally am looking to be something along the lines of a GIS planner. I believe GIS can be a very important tool in a planners set of skills, but I am more interested in how I can assist a project with GIS rather than staring at spreadsheets all day long, having little to no control over how the data I process/results I create is applied to a project.

-Do you have a masters in planning or something related?

I have a MRP from 2012 and a BA in Geography / GIS from 2010

-How have you been searching for jobs? Searching online? Networking? Are you willing to move outside of your region if you find the right planning job?

I search for jobs how ever possible, I have a 'lead' on a position from contacts I have made while interning, the lead is a position I have been told they want me for but nothing has happened in 2 plus months so maybe it never will (I have been interviewed twice for the position over this time period). I check about 5 sites daily, and another 10 sporadically. My biggest issue and I am aware of this is where I am looking to work. I want a position between Portland ME and Washington DC. I believe that if I was willing to turn my focus westward I could obtain a planning position, but taking into account my personal situation I do not want to do that, and as someone who is lucky enough to have a safety net at the moment and enough income from part time job to support my search for full time work I have not expanded my search area.

I am aware of how lucky I am to be in my situation, and I believe lots of people have it worse than me. In an ideal world, I believe that I should be able to get a full time position within my desired search area. Some people are going to call me entitled, for expecting a job within what is probably the hardest area in the country to get one. That would probably be accurate, but I would add to that entitlement, that I am working very hard within the region and have the personal ability to survive while in pursuit of a full time position.
 

HomerJ

Cyburbian
Messages
1,035
Points
15
I want to make clear that I am arguing for my generation in response to the blog post and i have never said I personally have it worse than any other person...
Noted. No offense intended, sometimes I speak to defend my own positions more than anything else.

...GIS is what I am very good at, I have applied for any type of planning position that has been posted over the last year plus. Of my applications, I have received interest mainly along the lines of GIS related positions. I ideally am looking to be something along the lines of a GIS planner. I believe GIS can be a very important tool in a planners set of skills, but I am more interested in how I can assist a project with GIS rather than staring at spreadsheets all day long, having little to no control over how the data I process/results I create is applied to a project...

...My biggest issue and I am aware of this is where I am looking to work. I want a position between Portland ME and Washington DC. I believe that if I was willing to turn my focus westward I could obtain a planning position, but taking into account my personal situation I do not want to do that, and as someone who is lucky enough to have a safety net at the moment and enough income from part time job to support my search for full time work I have not expanded my search area...
Well I totally feel for ya, but you've identified the greatest source of frustration. I'm not particularly well versed on the east coast, but the impression is pretty consistent that it is not the easiest place to break into the planning field. I have a strong GIS background as well and, not wanting to get pigeon-holed into a GIS position, I had to be flexible on where I would work in order to do what I wanted to do.

The point is, unless you're really lucky personal sacrifice is inevitable in a down economy if you want to advance your career. If you are not flexible on where you will work, you will have to be more flexible on what type of work you will do. It's such a common theme that a planner has to move out to move up. I don't particularly like it either, but every job has it's ups and downs.
 

Backstrom

Cyburbian
Messages
116
Points
6
I search for jobs how ever possible, I have a 'lead' on a position from contacts I have made while interning, the lead is a position I have been told they want me for but nothing has happened in 2 plus months so maybe it never will (I have been interviewed twice for the position over this time period). I check about 5 sites daily, and another 10 sporadically. My biggest issue and I am aware of this is where I am looking to work. I want a position between Portland ME and Washington DC. I believe that if I was willing to turn my focus westward I could obtain a planning position, but taking into account my personal situation I do not want to do that, and as someone who is lucky enough to have a safety net at the moment and enough income from part time job to support my search for full time work I have not expanded my search area.
For a long time, I was restricting my search based on my personal situation as well, only looking for jobs locally. But the prevailing wisdom on the board seems to be that restricting your net geographically may be the biggest impedance to getting better prospects. You already know that.

This is something you may want to reconsider. If the personal situation is family, then talk to them and see how they feel about it. At any rate, it doesn't hurt to just look for jobs outside your current search area. Perhaps there's a position out there that would be a perfect fit for you. You'll never know unless you start looking.
 

oeds

Member
Messages
8
Points
0
I am back on the job market after my service ended with AmeriCorps, been submitting resumes, cover letters and applications to almost anywhere while continuing to apply for a planner's position. So far I have gotten some interviews but no job offers, sure is a bit of downer since the competition is getting day by day harder but keep on continuing. In addition to it I have decided to move from my current home state/territory in order to improve my chance not only in getting a job as a planner but also the possibility of working in related areas to this field. Note I graduated back in the summer of 2012 did not find a job until I ended up deciding to enter AmeriCorps to help work with my student loans in the mean time getting some new skills as a volunteer. Do not discard any possibilities and dare to venture further outside of the typical role of the urban planner. You will be surprise on how our skills can be served in other areas that is if you have a complimentary background to planning that allows you to be flexible. As for applying to smaller cities which I have done sure it could work but I think is also accompanied with a punch of luck. I mean by this, after getting an email from the human resource department of a small city of me being successful in the initial evaluation and after not hearing from them for some time as a follow up I called them an inquiry about the position and my application. They told the position was filled by an inside applicant, which can be a little bit demoralizing at times.

Question to the ones working already as a planner. Would you suggest to a recent graduate to have in his/her networking business card the title of planner under the name of the business card holder even if he or she is not currently working as a planner? I ask since am barely new to the business cards and networking.
 

Veloise

Cyburbian
Messages
5,497
Points
26
Business card wording

...
Question to the ones working already as a planner. Would you suggest to a recent graduate to have in his/her networking business card the title of planner under the name of the business card holder even if he or she is not currently working as a planner? I ask since am barely new to the business cards and networking.
No title, since you don't have one. When I did this, I listed my degree, and something like "seeking a new opportunity."

HTH
 

Backstrom

Cyburbian
Messages
116
Points
6
Just the degree and "seeking a new opportunity"? Ok,thanks!:)
I don't think employers would expect you to hold a business card, especially if you haven't had a full-time planning position yet. I wouldn't worry about that-- I'd be doubtful that it will help you too much in your job search.
 

4ever_calzone

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
i don't mean to hijack this thread, but what are my chances or being hired at a private planning/engineering/architecture firm right after finishing my masters?

i would be looking primarily in the DC metro area, which has a good job market overall (though i'm not sure how much it applies in this industry). there does seem to be pretty much continuous new development all over the area
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Question to the ones working already as a planner. Would you suggest to a recent graduate to have in his/her networking business card the title of planner under the name of the business card holder even if he or she is not currently working as a planner? I ask since am barely new to the business cards and networking.
Interesting thought. I take it that you plan to do a great deal of networking such as APA functions, etc. Having a business card would be helpful in those situations. I see no problem with giving yourself the title of planner. You might want to use planner - seeking employment. The business card would be an alternative to handing someone your resume and is more practical for a networking function. Put your resume online and list the URL on the business card.
 

nrschmid

Cyburbian
Messages
2,856
Points
20
Don't list a title on the business card, list your services.

Planning
GIS
Economic Development
Site Design
Statistics
Etc.

You are selling your services to a prospective employer.
 

oeds

Member
Messages
8
Points
0
I don't think employers would expect you to hold a business card, especially if you haven't had a full-time planning position yet. I wouldn't worry about that-- I'd be doubtful that it will help you too much in your job search.
Technically is not a business card but a networking card. I am more into what nrschmid is saying. If I am going to network how the will remember my email at least my name in order to contact me for an opportunity that could lead me to obtain a bit more of experience. In my case I could offer services like: community planning, strategic planning, program management, statistic, community organization or community outreach. Which are skills that I have obtain through my internships and volunteer experiences.
 

jwhitty

Cyburbian
Messages
135
Points
6
i don't mean to hijack this thread, but what are my chances or being hired at a private planning/engineering/architecture firm right after finishing my masters?

i would be looking primarily in the DC metro area, which has a good job market overall (though i'm not sure how much it applies in this industry). there does seem to be pretty much continuous new development all over the area
I would say not very good unless you have a long work history and/or inside connections. The large firms like AECOM and Jacobs will list a few planner jobs, but it almost seems like they want civil engineers with over 10 years of experience. Why does it have to be in D.C? IMO the DMV is horrible. Unless you're making crazy contractor money, you're living 2 hours away from everywhere you would rather be.
 

4ever_calzone

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
I would say not very good unless you have a long work history and/or inside connections. The large firms like AECOM and Jacobs will list a few planner jobs, but it almost seems like they want civil engineers with over 10 years of experience. Why does it have to be in D.C? IMO the DMV is horrible. Unless you're making crazy contractor money, you're living 2 hours away from everywhere you would rather be.
because that's where i want to live

grew up in the area, friends and family are in the area...
 

jwhitty

Cyburbian
Messages
135
Points
6
because that's where i want to live
grew up in the area, friends and family are in the area...
You might want to try your university's career fairs, or get in on internship programs. Heck, do your capstone as a practicum working with some of the local firms on a project. Have fun, but keep in mind things might be less hectic if you expand your search.
 

Brocktoon

Cyburbian
Messages
3,728
Points
22
i don't mean to hijack this thread, but what are my chances or being hired at a private planning/engineering/architecture firm right after finishing my masters?

i would be looking primarily in the DC metro area, which has a good job market overall (though i'm not sure how much it applies in this industry). there does seem to be pretty much continuous new development all over the area
Its been 6 years since I worked in DC but most of the large firms that hired entry level came from Ivy League schools. Those that did not often started at a different office and transfered to DC.
 

Backstrom

Cyburbian
Messages
116
Points
6
because that's where i want to live

grew up in the area, friends and family are in the area...
That's understandable, but will not help you in your job search. The entire Eastern seaboard north of DC is very competitive for planners-- you would greatly increase your chances by looking toward the middle of the country.

Its been 6 years since I worked in DC but most of the large firms that hired entry level came from Ivy League schools. Those that did not often started at a different office and transfered to DC.
From my limited experience of applying at the large East Coast firms, it's very tough (being a West Coast grad). Never once got an interview even for the most entry-level junior positions, despite having more than 2 years planning experience. Not to say I deserved one, but I'm sure the situation would've been different elsewhere.
 

BurntPlanner

Member
Messages
16
Points
1
Ready to leave planning

15 years of experience. AICP. The whole shot.
I've been let go because of purely political reasons (I wasn't involved, the new mayor's campaign manager needed a job - my job)
I've applied to 120 planning jobs for which I am qualified. 120. No offers. Over-qualified. Under-qualified. They had someone already lined up for the job.
It's not worth it anymore. If I can't make a living at this, why keep trying? We come across as obstructive and sanctimonious, so no one cries when we're gone.
I don't even think it's a profession. It's made up.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,226
Points
33
Damn that sucks. I'd try to offer some great advice, but it what you've already heard so I'll just. So old luck on whatever you choose to do. If you're willing to move there are some jobs open in OKC and I've heard rumor of some private transportation planning jobs in Wichita.
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,316
Points
16
I would say not very good unless you have a long work history and/or inside connections. The large firms like AECOM and Jacobs will list a few planner jobs, but it almost seems like they want civil engineers with over 10 years of experience.
It really depends on what sort of staff they need. The person with 10 years will generally be helpful since they will have connections and can bring in new work, but they also have a much higher billing rate. You need the entry level planners to handle the grunt work because they have a much cheaper rate that can help your office be somewhat competitive.
 

Backstrom

Cyburbian
Messages
116
Points
6
15 years of experience. AICP. The whole shot.
I've been let go because of purely political reasons (I wasn't involved, the new mayor's campaign manager needed a job - my job)
I've applied to 120 planning jobs for which I am qualified. 120. No offers. Over-qualified. Under-qualified. They had someone already lined up for the job.
It's not worth it anymore. If I can't make a living at this, why keep trying? We come across as obstructive and sanctimonious, so no one cries when we're gone.
I don't even think it's a profession. It's made up.
I can't argue with what you've experienced, so I wouldn't fault you for feeling that way. But I'd be curious to know how many interviews you got from these 120? What kinds of jobs did you apply for?
 

RealStreets

Cyburbian
Messages
24
Points
2
Still just as bad

So this board hasn't see a lot of action lately. But just to let everyone know it's still terrible out there. I recently moved to a large metropolitan area for my spouse. Lots of planning and development going on here. I have a master's degree and experience in transportation planning. I've been looking for almost a year. Applied to about 70 positions most of which I was qualified for. 1 interview. 1/70. I got more interviews straight out of grad school at the depths of the recession. My theory is with the economy a little better, more experienced planner are comfortable looking for other jobs. Fun times!
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,316
Points
16
So this board hasn't see a lot of action lately. But just to let everyone know it's still terrible out there. I recently moved to a large metropolitan area for my spouse. Lots of planning and development going on here. I have a master's degree and experience in transportation planning. I've been looking for almost a year. Applied to about 70 positions most of which I was qualified for. 1 interview. 1/70. I got more interviews straight out of grad school at the depths of the recession. My theory is with the economy a little better, more experienced planner are comfortable looking for other jobs. Fun times!
I am sure that is the case, but 1 out of 70 seem like a pretty abysmal return. Have you tried rethinking your resume/CV and/or your approach to these jobs? Perhaps that could help. Goodluck though!
 

RealStreets

Cyburbian
Messages
24
Points
2
I am sure that is the case, but 1 out of 70 seem like a pretty abysmal return. Have you tried rethinking your resume/CV and/or your approach to these jobs? Perhaps that could help. Goodluck though!
I've been changing up my resume after a few months of no interviews. I put my planning experience (paid and unpaid) prominently at the top. I highlight my experience with ArcGIS. I also take a lot of time with the supplemental questions, if included. The last two years I didn't work in planning (but in real estate and research) so that could be it. I have been meeting planners through networking and they don't mention anything I'm not already doing. I have considered jobs outside of planning (again) but I feel like it's getting a little late in the game for a career change. Plus I only have a degree in planning so if I were to change careers I wouldn't compete well. Other than continuing to volunteer or network, I'm at a loss.
 
Messages
2,228
Points
18
I've been changing up my resume after a few months of no interviews. I put my planning experience (paid and unpaid) prominently at the top. I highlight my experience with ArcGIS. I also take a lot of time with the supplemental questions, if included. The last two years I didn't work in planning (but in real estate and research) so that could be it. I have been meeting planners through networking and they don't mention anything I'm not already doing. I have considered jobs outside of planning (again) but I feel like it's getting a little late in the game for a career change. Plus I only have a degree in planning so if I were to change careers I wouldn't compete well. Other than continuing to volunteer or network, I'm at a loss.
If the past I've helped out Cyburbians with their resumes--free of charge, of course:). People seem to like my comments and suggestions for changes. Would you like to PM me your resume?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Is there a concern that you might be too specialized? From what I have been seeing there is a demand for generalists. But then, among specialties I think transportation has been most in demand.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,377
Points
25
I am curious what type of jobs your are applying for and what is your "specialty". 1 out of 70 seems excessive. So far in my hunt for bigger and better things, I have been able to net 3 out of 5 applications sent interviews, and 2 call backs for 2nd rounds. Are you just sending out a basic resume for each job and tailoring a cover letter, or are you tailoring the resume to hit key words in the job descriptions? That can make a world of difference to those in HR whom may review the app first before sending off to the powers that be.

This number just seems massively excessive imo.
 

RealStreets

Cyburbian
Messages
24
Points
2
If the past I've helped out Cyburbians with their resumes--free of charge, of course:). People seem to like my comments and suggestions for changes. Would you like to PM me your resume?
I would welcome some advice. Please PM me. Thanks!

I think I have more experience on my resume that is not directly planning. While I had an internship with a city in grad school and a year as a transportation planner, I also have worked in economic development (public sector) and in a sort of niche field of real estate. I put my planning experience at the top of my resume even though it's not my most recent experience. So why my planning experience is pretty specialized, I feel like I have experiences that would transfer well to generalist positions, which are about half of the jobs I apply to.

As far as my application process goes. I tailor my cover letter but not so much my resume. I really think my resume is not getting through the HR bots.
 

locohost

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
I must say this is the most depressing thread ever.

I recently got accepted to MUP at University of Washington, but I am not sure if I want to go into the field anymore, reading these posts. I heard Seattle is the best place to be a planner, is that true?
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
6,241
Points
26
I must say this is the most depressing thread ever.

I recently got accepted to MUP at University of Washington, but I am not sure if I want to go into the field anymore, reading these posts. I heard Seattle is the best place to be a planner, is that true?
Who told you this? Someone from Seattle?

The best place to be a planner is where you can make a difference. I don't know if I have the ability to drink the amount of Kool-Aid those in Seattle drink (or coffee for that matter).
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,226
Points
33
I must say this is the most depressing thread ever.

I recently got accepted to MUP at University of Washington, but I am not sure if I want to go into the field anymore, reading these posts. I heard Seattle is the best place to be a planner, is that true?
I think it's all a matter of opinion. If you want some kind of community building planning world, Portland and Seattle sound nice (no personal experience on those). If you want a job, I would look in the sunbelt states where high growth is a fact of life (Phoenix, Atlanta, Texas) although I'm not sure about the job market today. If you want an easy life, take a nice rural planning job like me. I feel like I can do this job in my sleep most days and get plenty of time to spend with family - I don't recommend rural jobs for single people unless there's a nice city nearby to let off some steam and maybe meet some people.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,377
Points
25
I must say this is the most depressing thread ever.

I recently got accepted to MUP at University of Washington, but I am not sure if I want to go into the field anymore, reading these posts. I heard Seattle is the best place to be a planner, is that true?
Umm.. Why did you get into planning to begin with? Why is it the best place to be? As DP said, best place is always where you can make a difference, whether you believe in it or if it can be seen through the real change that develops.
 

warderjack

Cyburbian
Messages
198
Points
7
I must say this is the most depressing thread ever.

I recently got accepted to MUP at University of Washington, but I am not sure if I want to go into the field anymore, reading these posts. I heard Seattle is the best place to be a planner, is that true?
To be blunt, that's an arrogant statement from whomever you heard it from. There are no absolutes in most fields and especially in planning. I think that the question should be, where's the best place for you to be a planner. I happen to be a planner in the Portland, OR area, the purported mecca for planning where there is much Kool-Aid to go around. Sometimes I feel like I took the easy way out, that I work in an area where it's comfortable, where there is local buy-in on planning principles, whereas there are opportunities in other areas that don't immediately appear to be as planner friendly, but I could make a bigger difference. Also, when you are in a place that purports itself to be really good at planning, there isn't nearly as much reflection on what they could do better, or where they have failed. We have a UGB and we still definitely have sprawl and a transit ridership share that's not all that impressive.

Planning is somewhat localized, meaning that I think in most cases its more important to get your Master's from a school that has good ties to agencies and firms in the area or state you want to live, rather than the school with the most "prestige". If you want to work in the Seattle area, or Washington generally, go to UW. If you want to pick a field where it's not possible to find depressing forums, particularly through the recession, good luck.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I had the opportunity to work in a so-called planning mecca and found that they were far better at self promotion than at planning. For all of the city's claims of being a cutting edge planning pioneer, they were hopelessly status quo, afraid to change and dismissive of any new idea that did not emerge from a small group of people. On the other hand, I have worked in many small communities you might never see in the planning texts, and would certainly not see talked about by the CNU accolytes, that were among the most open-minded and progressive examples of planning you could find.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Moderator
Messages
7,304
Points
29
I had the opportunity to work in a so-called planning mecca and found that they were far better at self promotion than at planning. For all of the city's claims of being a cutting edge planning pioneer, they were hopelessly status quo, afraid to change and dismissive of any new idea that did not emerge from a small group of people. On the other hand, I have worked in many small communities you might never see in the planning texts, and would certainly not see talked about by the CNU accolytes, that were among the most open-minded and progressive examples of planning you could find.
I've visited several of the planning meccas and have found Cardinal's assessment spot-on--they are better at marketing than actual planning.
 

WhenIGrowUp

Cyburbian
Messages
71
Points
4
I'm an AICP planner, with a few other industry letters behind my name, and a decade of planning experience, both public and private. I started casually looking for a new job in early 2012 when my city hired an absolute moron/charlatan to run the department (he royally screwed everything up, then bolted less than 18 months after arrival).

Honestly, I have been trying my buns off since early August '13. I've applied for either 39 or 40 jobs, 31 of which since last August. I've applied everywhere between California and Florida.I'm literally willing to relocate my family to any (predominantly-) warm weather state.

I've had one "informal" in-person interview (for which I had to drive a day and a half each way to get there and back), two or three first-round e-mail questionnaires, and maybe two 1st round phone interviews.

Crickets.

I sometimes wonder how many jobs are posted for which they already know the candidate they want, but they have to advertise the job anyway.

What really grinds my gears is the lack of response you get from the organization offering the job. Many of these places require you to apply through their third-party web software, and despite having my information electronically, they can't be bothered to (1) update the website so I can see the status of my application when I login to check it*, or (2) inform me whether or not they've filled the position. I took the time to input my information, which sometimes takes hours depending on how invasive the questions are, the absolute least HR can do is generate a report from the database, mail merge the addresses, and send a cordial rejection letter. Is that asking too much?

*All nine of my online applications are right now in some state of being processed, from "received" to "checking credentials", despite some of those applications being dated 2012.

I remain hopeful, because there is no viable alternative, but man... it's tough.
 

nrschmid

Cyburbian
Messages
2,856
Points
20
On the other hand, I have worked in many small communities you might never see in the planning texts, and would certainly not see talked about by the CNU accolytes, that were among the most open-minded and progressive examples of planning you could find.
I worked on behalf of one rural community (as a planning consultant anchored on the fringe of a large metro area) that did very forward-thinking work with open space preservation and conservation subdivision design. The town was only a couple of thousand people who wanted to maintain a rural character, but their ETJ extended to the nearby interstate (with an older but stable outlet mall) AND they wanted to revitalize their downtown with a train station and a TOD. I constantly use that community for examples on a sleu of other projects, both big and small. Granted, I did not work directly as a municipal planner but as a consultant. I am sure that there are several smaller towns and villages who might be hiring someone as a planner, or at least staffers in a planning capacity. In many cases those jobs might not be advertised on the National APA or even State APA job boards. I think it's hard to express the values and visioning succinctly in a job ad (smart growth, TND, etc.). You might need to save that when you actually start doing the research for tailoring your resume and cover letter. Hope this helps-
 
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