Author: Jocelyn Cadieux
My name is Jocelyn Cadieux. Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to find several planning internships as a student and full-time positions as a recent graduate, many of which were during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post, I hope to share some tips and tricks that have significantly helped me find employment, even during this period of instability.
Network. Network. Network.
Taking the time to connect with someone settled into their career and giving them a chance to chat with you is more valuable than crafting the perfect cover letter.
What are the ways to connect with Planners?
- Connect with Planners on LinkedIn or Twitter. Canadian planners are quite active on both platforms and can be very easy to find.
- Attend conferences or webinars (most CIP webinars are free to students) and see if there’s a panellist or a participant that you may have something in common with and reach out.
- Ask the guest lecturers from your classes to reach out to them to ask some questions after their presentation.
- Connect with your classmates. Your classmates will one day be your colleagues, and even though it may not feel like it at times, they can be instrumental in getting your first job. Networking is immediately 10x easier when someone is in your corner.
If you’re stuck on how to break the ice, asking questions you know the answers to can keep the conversation flowing.
Show off your non-planning skills
Acknowledge your skills and knowledge as a Planner, but don’t ignore the other experiences. Incorporate your previous education, part-time jobs, hobbies, extracurriculars with your planning knowledge. Your combined skills make you well-rounded.
Leverage working from home
If you are discouraged from applying for a position because you wouldn’t be willing to move, ask the employer if they’d permit a WFH arrangement. The worst they can say is “no”.
The flaws in our social and economic systems are becoming more apparent every day, making this a difficult time to navigate the professional world. Remember to be kind and patient with yourselves on this journey.
I wish you all of the best of luck during your job hunting.
About the author
Having just graduated from York University’s MES Planning program in May 2020, Jocelyn Cadieux is an emerging planner who is a candidate member with CIP. Jocelyn is fluently bilingual in French and English and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario where he works as a Policy Planner I for the City of Ottawa. Prior to working for the City, he has gained both student and professional experience in consulting.