The program is committed to providing outstanding career assistance efforts for both summer internship and post-graduation job seekers. Students are urged to use all the services we offer and to begin preparing early. The school offers job information access and one-on-one advising support, by our career services coordinator, until the student secures their first job or for up to one year after a student's graduation, whichever comes first.
In addition to having an advanced degree, students will need experience to be competitive in the job market. Internships are not required but the majority of our students take advantage of this opportunity. (More specific information about internships is available in our Student Manual.)
All students are urged to write or update their resume and have the career services coordinator and a faculty member review it by the beginning of their second semester. Tips specific to urban planning students can be found in our Career Services Manual. Students should begin to submit job and internship applications in January, if not earlier.
Each year the School compiles a Resume Book which students may contribute to. The book is distributed by email to approximately 600 alums every spring. Each year one or more students obtain a position through one of the alums contacted in this way.
Beginning in January, 45-60 new job and internship are posted weekly on our website that is exclusively accessible to our students. This service brings outstanding job and internship opportunities to our students, and assists them in securing challenging, interesting positions nationwide. We also maintain (and continually expand) another exclusive area of our website with more than 1,900 links to the potential employers at planning organizations and consulting firms nationwide. This site is available to assist students and alumni and enhances individual searches.
We maintain close contact with our alumni. We also receive employment notifications from alums and other planning professionals who would like to advertise internship and entry-level positions directly to our students. Alums have the option of sharing their contact information, also on our website, and students are welcome to contact them for advice, informational interviews and networking opportunities.
The career services coordinator offers students personal assistance in identifying alums to approach about becoming a mentor. A mentor match service for planning students is offered by the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association before each annual conference.
In the spring semester the school arranges mock interviews in which selected planning employers “interview” students for hypothetical planning positions. At the end of the interview, the employer gives feedback on the student’s resume and interviewing strengths and weaknesses. For planning students, additional support for employment searches is provided by the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association in which planning practitioners conduct mock interviews for planning students and other young planners.
Students are strongly encouraged to begin networking with professionals, including at local, regional and national conferences. To support this, the school is often able to provide some travel expense assistance. Creating a LinkedIn page is also suggested as a way to increase networking and guidance is given on building a professional online presence.
Additional recommended methods to use in finding a position include joining a national professional organization, creating a personal website; becoming involved with local or regional planning organizations; running for a campus charter committee; or running for a Student Representative Council Executive Committee position at the American Planning Association.
Job and internship listings are available for current SPPA students. Employers wanting to let us know about entry-level open positions should go to the same page.