Planning October 2020
Careers in the Time of COVID
Getting creative is the key to staying competitive.
By Bobbie Albrecht
Looking for a job is a job in itself. It's difficult during ordinary times, let alone during a global pandemic. But even now, it's not impossible. Here are three strategies to help you stay in the game, broaden your search, and continue to build your skills and networks.
1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage.
With everyone working in a virtual space, it's a great time to connect to people you wouldn't ordinarily meet in person. Check out the national APA LinkedIn group and local APA chapter, division, and alumni group networks across social media — and then make yourself known. Introduce yourself by identifying common interests or describing ways you can help. Comment on posts with insights or further resources. Be sure to bring value to the articles you share by adding comments that express your point of view, add additional context, or highlight your work.
2. Get Creative With Your Job Search Filters.
Stay open minded and look at the industries currently in demand. For example, tech companies like Grubhub, Instacart, and Amazon need people with GIS experience. Or maybe you're interested in civic technology. Code for America is a national alliance of community organizers, developers, and designers that are putting technology to work in service of local communities. If you're skilled in design, Design for America offers students programs and partnerships to inspire innovation and tackle social challenges on campus and in communities. Broaden your search to nonprofits and community-based organizations to work at the intersection of social services and planning. APA aggregates open planning jobs.
3. Go for Experience.
Reconsider an internship for exposure to projects and people. You can schedule informational interviews to follow your curiosity and listen for areas where you can contribute. Govern for America helps fill the gap created after public-sector employees retire by recruiting, hiring, and training recent graduates. They offer two-year fellowships, with 2021 application deadlines in November and December.
Bobbie Albrecht is APA's career services manager. Get more job-related resources at the online Career Center.