Job Tips for Recent Graduates and New Planners
Suggestions for planners who have just received a degree or who are looking for their first job in planning.
- Read APA's Career Development pages, which offer a comprehensive review of the planning profession.
- Contact the administrator of your college planning program administrator and all of your planning instructors. Ask them for help and referrals. Your alma mater's planning program has a vested interest in seeing that its grads get jobs because placement is a measure of student assessment and achievement.
- Before you start looking for a full-time position, try to build up a well rounded body of experience — which is attractive to potential employers — by working at several varied internships and at least one short-term job.
- Take advantage of the networking opportunities and other resources offered by your local APA chapter.
- Post your resume for free at Jobs Online. Interested employers can see it once they have posted a vacancy. Note: This service is available to APA members only.
- Every APA National Planning Conference offers an onsite Job Connection service in addition to sessions, facilitated discussions, workshops, and even mobile workshops for new planners. Several of these programs at the 2009 conference in Minneapolis focused on careers and jobs. One of them — the Career Planning Roundtable — was recorded in a Virtual Session format and may be purchased online for $40.
- Get your foot in the door of a municipal planning office or consulting firm by temporarily volunteering your services.
- Start out in the zoning administration program of a planning department.
- Take a long view of your career and plan to obtain AICP certification in addition to your master's degree.
- Above all, be realistic and strategic. Your dream job may be an Environmental Planner in Hawaii, at a salary of $100,000, but until such a position becomes available to you, spend your time gaining a variety of professional experiences and developing key skills.