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Planning your career

What should you do now

In your final year it is time to start thinking about what happens next. The top 3 things will most likely be:

10 top tips on securing employment in planning

The RTPI, with contributions from past graduates, has put together 10 top tips on securing employment in planning. These are some of the things to consider when applying for jobs. But before sending off 50 identical applications identify what you want to do and target the sector and type of role you are interested in.

Planning skills and specialisms

Where to look and apply for a job can depend on what aspect of planning you are interested in. Planning encompasses a variety of different skills and roles so where you apply can depend on what area of planning you want to specialise in. 

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Public and private sector recruitment

Public sector

If you are interested in working for the public sector then here are some useful things to consider:

  • there may not be an annual graduate intake so don't assume there are no jobs because they are not advertised in September/October. The recruitment cycle is often later for councils, e.g. jobs advertised in March or April after budgets are agreed.
  • roles may be advertised directly on their websites so make a shortlist of organisations, e.g. councils or local planning authorties that you may be interested in working for and keep checking their website regularly.

Private sector

If you are interested in working for the private sector, e.g. for a planning consultant, then there are some things that you should be aware of:

  • Do some research on who you would like to work for and find out how they recruit graduates - where do they advertise, when do they advertise and how do you make an application.
  • Many large and medium sized consultancies will have an annual intake of graduates and will therefore have a strict deadline for applications. Be aware that this may be quite early in the academic year, some schemes will open for applications in September and close by November so CHECK THE DEADLINE.
  • If you don't wish to apply for a graduate scheme then smaller organisations (such as SMEs) will employ graduates on a regular basis but this is likely to be later in the academic year. If you know who you would like to work for that is a good start but if not then look at the RTPI Online Directory of Planning Consultants

A good starting point is The Planner Jobs website which advertises live vacancies. Even if you are not ready to apply for one of the roles advertised read a job description of an assistant planner as this will show you what an employer is expecting you to do. 

Other options to consider

Many different organisations will employ planners, if you were interested in local and national governments then consider the Department of Communities (DCLG) and the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). RTPI Learning Partners include The Coal Authority and NHS Properties, both of whom employ planners. These organisations and others such as energy providers are worth including in your job search.

More information on applying for planning jobs can be found here.