• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

    Working from home? So are we. Come join us! Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing.

What would you look for

What is important for applicants to have?

  • GIS

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Community Planning

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • Downtown Planning

    Votes: 1 5.0%
  • Urban Design

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sub division & Land Development

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • It does not matter. It is all political.

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • All of the Above

    Votes: 9 45.0%
  • None of the above/Other

    Votes: 1 5.0%

  • Total voters
    20
Status
Not open for further replies.

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,175
Points
51
With my self looking for a new job, I would like to pose this question:

What would you and your employers look for in an applicant? Are there exact skills that you would search for?

Or is all work just about politics, and it is now what you know, but who you know?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I put down it doesn't matter. Because planning is a constantly changing and dynamic profession....and job requirements vary widely from state to state. As long as you have a decent background and some work experience, you can be trained.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
I would suggest that you add Other or All of the Above as choices in the poll. It's best to have some knowledge of all those skills and more refined training in at least two areas. Up until a year ago, almost all of my work experience had been in Downtown revitalization but I found it easy to move into community development because of my liberal arts educational training.

What skills you need will also depend upon the size of the town or firm you work in. Working for a large department I get to do very little outside of the community development arena (although I'm trying to). If you should be hired for a smaller town or firm however, you may find yourself being the GIS guy, the subdivion review person, the grant writer, etc... all at the same time.

Who you know helps a lot as well but, as someone who's on his third job in three years, I've found knowing your stuff and making a good impression during the interview to be even more beneficial.

But what do I know? You would probably be better served by taking advise from those Cyburbanites who actually hire people.
 
Last edited:

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I'd have to tell you it is none of the above. The decision is mostly based on two considerations: 1) what are the issues I see evolving over the next few years; and 2) what are the holes in my current staff? For example, if I do not have somebody with GIS skills, and I was starting up a GIS program, those skills would be a "make or break" requirement. If everybody on the staff was proficient, it would be a sidenote.

Politics does not play any role in most of Wisconsin. Of course, knowing a person can be a benefit. Then again, that is not always true. Last week a headhunter called me about an economic development job. When I declined, they asked if I knew anyone who might be interested. While I do know someone looking, I did not mention them because they would not be a good fit. I suppose you also need to contend with the reluctance of some places prefering to hire from within the state. Ask yourself if you really want to work for a place with that provincial a mindset.

Your best bet bet is to learn as much about a place before applying. Find out what their key issues are (use your fellow Cyburbians as informants!) before contacting them. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the job, and be prepared to talk about their concerns.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,175
Points
51
*** Can a moderator add ALL of the Above and a None of the Above option to the poll? ***

Thank you
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,945
Points
40
michaelskis said:
*** Can a moderator add ALL of the Above and a None of the Above option to the poll? ***

Thank you
Done.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
I pretty much agree with Stumpf (again). Rounding out the skill set of the current staff is most important to me. That said, its hard for you to prepare ahead of time for employers like us!
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
I am curious if folks would want to hire someone with years of experiance or a masters in planning?
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
PlannerGirl said:
I am curious if folks would want to hire someone with years of experiance or a masters in planning?
No hesitation--the person with the experience.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I think a basic understanding of all aspects would make an ideal candidate. Maybe they are not GIS experts, but they should have an idea of what GIS is capable of, so they know what the GIS people can do to help them with their work.

We hired a Planning Assistant who had no experience in Planning, only a BA in Political Science and we have basically taught him what he needs to know about planning to do his job. He is doing fine. There are still concepts, etc that he doesn't understand yet, but that will come with time and experience.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,175
Points
51
Feeling Good

YEA…

Ok, now I am feeling a little better. I have some (not a lot but some) experience with all of the above. *I just wish that some one else in the office had GIS experience so I would not get stuck playing GIS boy all day.

I love what I do, I can not imagine wanting to be anything that did not do something with planning. I just wish I was in a better environment.

How did you know you wanted to be a planner? For me, is was because I realized that I wanted to design more than landscapes or buildings, and I new that I wanted to make an effort to improve the lives of the people around me. I have always loved politics, and when I changed my major (from botany) I looked into similar majors, and sat down, and talked with Mr. Steve Degoosh. He said that it is long hours, and you deal with political BS all the time, but you have the opportunity do help so many people, you get to draw, talk to people, think about new and crazy ideas, and most of all, you don’t need to do the exact same thing every day.

From that moment on, I knew that I was making the right choice. So here I am.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
First and foremost, great writing skills; presentation experience; an analytical mind and the ability to work with the public. Then, I look at experience. Unless the position is in a specialized area like transportation planning, I look for general planning experience (land use, zoning) and a nodding acquaintance with more arcane areas of knowledge.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
I agree with a couple points. I will "fill the job that needs to be done" and I want good writing and people skills.

A job search is the act of matching people to a job, and there are infinite combinations. You don't want to be in the wrong place for your talents. (Wrong place and planning are a miserable combination.)

Read the job announcement and make sure your resume addresses the things asked for. I usually do a matrix of the stuff asked for and the resume as a first cut in reviewin applications.

Apply away. If you don't get the job, you are sharpening your interview skills and the ability to evaluate your future employers in subsequent applications.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Writing skills... oh, yeah. I will never conduct an interview again without having the victim sit down and prepare a short written exam during the interview.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Michael Stumpf said:
Writing skills... oh, yeah. I will never conduct an interview again without having the victim sit down and prepare a short written exam during the interview.
Couldn't guess about everyone else here but I've had to submit writing samples to just about every place I've ever interviewed with.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
biscuit said:
Couldn't guess about everyone else here but I've had to submit writing samples to just about every place I've ever interviewed with.
Submitting writing samples is alright, but what gets submitted is often a paper that has been well-edited. I want to see what you can do on the spot, without help. I have had employers give an "assignment" at the start of an interview, such as "prepare a recommendation to the mayor on the following proposal...." I would do the same when interviewing someone for a job I was offering. It shows me how well they think under pressure as well as how well they write.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Having aided in the hiring of a few people here is what I would say

1) Generalized knowledge of planning and concepts. Some people jsut don't get "it"

2) Person with specific interests in what I know are going to be issues in our region in the future (downtown, historic preservation, other)

3) Basic knowledge of technology and how to use it.

4) Good phone voice

5) Willingness to learn other office tasks (ie approving plans, answering basic questions for all people in department)

6) Writing skills, and I would prefer to see a well polished document, then ask the person about items from it

7) A good memeory for people. While I don't remember names I remember projects and properties. People appreciate that, plus it shows you pay attention.

8) Must be top 30 poster on cybubia.icon12.gif
 

martini

Cyburbian
Messages
678
Points
19
This is a good thread. I'll be entering my final year of my masters program in a few weeks here, while simultaniously starting my employment search. I've got good experience with GIS, and I'm currently writing the All Hazard Mitigation Plan for a county of about 56,000 for my internship(no scanning or photocopies for me!). Those with the power to hire, keep posting! I love seeing what is looked for in prospective employees, it gives me good ideas of where to aim my efforts of polishing.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
Two different tracks:

1: As mentioned by a bunch, reading, writing, presentation skills, first and foremost.

2. Second and of equal import, is an clear at least basic understanding of land and real esate...for public folks, I think it of incredible value to actually understand the business you regulate.

3. I don't much care if you are a GIS expert, and environmental expert, a zoning nerd, whatever, but if you can speak, write and understand there are two sides to the development business--private property rights and a community's interests, you are way ahead of everybody else.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top