Networking Tips for Urban Planner Jobs

From conferences to a regional planning meetings, there are many of resources and events that a new or experienced urban planner can use to find urban planner jobs. The main source for urban planning jobs, networking and news is the professional association. The national association for urban planner is the American Planning Association, which offers education resources, education information and certification information. There is a calendar of events, from all across the nation, available on the website, which will help you find local events to meet and network with other professionals in the region.

Attend a Conference

Conferences gather professionals nationwide in one location, so they are one of the most important events for a planner who has just graduated or who is looking to relocate. Conferences always include a wide variety of networking events, from sponsored meals and special events, to meet with other professionals in a casual atmosphere. Conferences also usually host a job fair. These job fairs are only for professionals in the field and will have a wide range of employers from city and state governments to developers and non-profits. Conferences are a requirement if you feel your local area lacks planning opportunities, or if you are a new grad who is willing to begin their career anywhere.

Take in a Pecha Kucha

Launched by an architectural firm in Japan, Pecha Kucha was originally devised for young designers to present their work in a specific format: twenty slides and twenty seconds to talk about each slide. The Pecha Kucha movement is now international, and if your city is hosting a Pecha Kucha event, add it to your schedule. Designers, non-profits, architects and planners do present at these events. The presentations are lively and informative and networking is included before, at the intermission and after the event. The events are usually quite relaxed and the conversation can begin with the presentations, so you will have plenty to talk about. The audience usually includes designers, professors, engineers, local politicians, planners, representatives from local non-profits and interested community members from all walks of life.

You can also apply to present at an event, a great way to make yourself known, but attend a Pecha Kucha as an audience member to get a feel for the presentation style before applying. The Pecha Kucha format is also appearing on some conference agendas, so if you plan to attend or present at a conference, you may want to experience the Pecha Kucha at a conference with other professionals.

Attend Regional Planning Meetings

Chances are, if you are experienced planner, you are attending some of the regional planning meetings, and these events, when open to the public, will allow you to learn about local, important planning issues. If you are known to some of the planners who have arranged the event, you may want to touch base with them and find out about current or upcoming projects that could use your expertise. A young planner can find out about projects that may need interns or have a place for a junior planner.

You can also look on your city or town's website for upcoming planning events or regional meetings to find additional networking and research opportunities.