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Career Coaching

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Career Coaching

Everyone needs advice, guidance and coaching throughout their career, not just at the beginning or at turning points. For new and seasoned, this group is a place where you can ask questions, answer questions, post ideas, resources, or challenge your fellow local government professional.

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Victor Tabi

Hi everyone, I am a recent graduate with an MPA degree since December 2016. I thank everyone who have helped me so far with coaching tips on landing a job. I have been trying every method from internships, fellowships, entry-level positions but so far I get rejected with few recommendations for the jobs and a few interviews but after that nothing. I am begging everyone who has any opening in their organization to recommend me to the job posting and get me to the door. I know its a hard thing for me to ask anyone but at this point I am in desperate need of a job and willing to be committed to the duties required of me. I am ready to relocate anywhere. Thanks

Larry Burks

Larry Burks

Victor, I know your frustration. When I graduated in May of 2007 it was February of 2008 before I received an offer that I wanted to accept. Thankfully I was in a position (two good part time jobs and a spouse working full time) that allowed me to be insistant, persistent and patient. What you do NOT want to do is accept a position that will put you on a career track that you are not interested in. Once you "pigeon hole" yourself into an area it is difficult to change paths due to your experience history. My advice is continue volunteering, interning and working any temp or part time jobs to make ends meet. If you are insistent on the position you want, persistent in the actions you need to take to get that job and patient in yourself, I think you will be much more pleased with the results. Good luck.

Brenton Clark

Brenton Clark

I had a similar experience after graduating from my MPA program, Victor. After six months or so of no luck I ended up doing temp work, which is ironically (serendipitously?) how I got connected with an internship with a local government. Which I'm sure is of little consolation to you, but it does go to show that you never know where you might find an in.

One thing I've noticed is that most places aren't enthusiastic about hiring someone who will need to relocate from quite some distance, unless they are trying to fill a pretty high-level position. I know you said you are willing to relocate anywhere, but it may be worth your while to find a region where you want to be in at least the semi-long term and focus on job opportunities there. Others may have different opinions/experiences on that.

Victor Tabi

Victor Tabi

Thank you for the heads up. I have been thinking about relocating to either San Antonio or Dallas and find something small while I keep applying to the City of San Antonio and Dallas. Have been recommended to managers or considered with two interviews for management analyst with different departments at the City of San Antonio but got rejections or applications just stalls.

Victor Tabi

Thank you very much for the tip. I guess the reference on the resume is the trick. Been applying but getting nothing. I get interviews in some and just stall after that.

Evan Berrett

Evan Berrett

You might also try reaching out to a service like Colin Baenziger & Associates http://www.cb-asso.c... Not sure if you are at the career stage that they can help, but the specifically work to place people into city management type positions.

Victor Tabi

Victor Tabi

Thanks so much for the recommendation. I have navigated their website and sign up.

Roger Kemp
Roger Kemp said

If you live in an area with a bunch of small towns in it, you should apply for an "asst to the CM job" If these jobs are not available, try to get an "internship position" in a respected local gov't manager's office.

Also, joint some national professional aassociations. While ICMA is the most relevant, you may wish to consider GFOA, ASPA, NCL, and/or related organizations.

Also, don't forget to list professional references on your resume if you are seeking jobs in a local gov't professional setting.

Roger L. Kemp, PhD
Career CM in CA, CT + NJ
Professioal in Residence
Dept. of Public Management
University of New Haven (classroom courses), and

Distinguished Adjunct Professor
Executive MPA Program
Golden Gate University (online courses)

Tele: (203) 686-0281
E-mail: rlkbsr@snet.et

Victor Tabi

Hi all. I am very excited to join this group. I hold a master degree in criminal justice and almost done with my second degree on MPA (graduation date set on December 10, 2016). I am transitioning to and MPA career and will be willing to join the public sector. I have 3 years experience with the Office of Juvenile Justice as a Juvenile Justice Specialist 3. I barely have any administartion experience. I am willing to move anywhere to start my MPA career. I welcome any advise or suggestions on places to apply and positions. Thanks

Benjamin DeClue

Benjamin DeClue

Hi Victor-

If you're truly willing to move anywhere, the job board here at ICMA is a great place to find a good entry level position in the Administration side of things. Also check out the municipal league and state city/county management website job boards - they frequently have positions that aren't posted here. Keep us posted with where you land!

Victor Tabi

Victor Tabi

Thanks for the info. I will check them out. I already been checking the ICMA job board.

Fonda Chronis

Good morning. I am a mid-career professional with 20+ years of private sector management and leadership, 12 of which in small business ownership. I found myself increasingly dissatisfied with my career path and decided to transition into public sector work with the goal if becoming a city manager. To aid in my transition I enrolled in the MPA program at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Now finished with the program I find that even getting interviews is difficult, surprising as I feel I offer any organization a lot in terms of management and leadership. I'm looking at mostly management analyst and assistant to... positions now. I am willing to relocate anywhere that gives me the opportunity to learn. It seems that I can't get past the "3-5 years of municipal experience" requirement of many positions. Any advice?

Lowell Crow

Lowell Crow

What I have found is that any senior management experience will count. Also look at smaller communities. Many of them are looking for people who have a combination of education and management experience..

Jessica Roth

Jessica Roth

One thought...the analyst and assistant to positions are typically held by people who are recently out of grad school and at the beginning of their careers. Perhaps you're applying for positions where you have more years of management experience than the City Manager/department head, which could be intimidating to that person. As I'm sure you know from your years of experience, sometimes it's easier to mold a younger employee than it is to re-train someone with years of experience who may be set in their ways. Perhaps you need to downplay your management experience a little on your resume and make sure you're not emphasizing it too much. I'm not saying this perception is fair, but that may be what you're up against with some of these hiring managers.

I would also make sure that you have a well written cover letter that clearly explains your change in career path. Make them understand why you're valuable and should be considered over the candidate at the beginning of their career who may be considered the more traditional candidate. Show your excitement for local government.

Continue moving forward in your education and growth. Check into some of ICMA's programs, like Emerging Leaders. The ICMA fellowship program might be an excellent track for you, especially since you're willing to relocate anywhere. Check into the local government where you live. Maybe there's some volunteer opportunities, i.e. citizen engagement for master planning, a volunteer board you could serve on, etc.

I do agree with Lowell that you'll probably have better luck with the smaller communities. I find them to be a little more flexible.

Good luck to you! I know you'll find the right community and position and you'll love local government management!

Fonda Chronis

Fonda Chronis

Thanks for the input.

Jason Collins

Hi all, I'm a FED, working on the national security side. A long time ago I picked that route versus getting an MPA. Instead I've got a MS in Criminal Justice Admin and now 14 years of experience, mostly as a manager at the 2nd and 3rd level (Manager of supervisors and other managers).

Of course its all LE and National security related...and I'm thinking about transitioning out. Is there a group or a good way to get help with making my resume more palatable to the public administration world and guidance on what to expect as far as job prospects?

Luke Floyd

Luke Floyd

Jason,
I'd recommend checking out ELGL. They're an active group of local government folks who really work hard on innovating in technology. They actually just had (or soon will have) a webinar on how to use LinkedIn in local government - might be a great way to revamp your resume and profile for job opportunities.

Luke

Jason Collins

Jason Collins

Thanks, will do.

Jason Collins

Jason Collins

I'm essentially looking for help to know whether I'm dreaming if I'm thinking about trying to get a deputy city/town manager job transitioning in and what parts I should highlight/eliminate from a LONG federal style resume.

Robert Carty

Robert Carty

It's certainly possible. Check out our career guide, "Breaking Into Local Government" at http://icma.org/breakingintolg. There are case studies from career changers, including other government sectors. I can send you a direct email with contact info from some managers who have made a similar transition.

Jason Collins

Jason Collins

Thanks, I'll check it out and appreciate all the help you can give.

Benjamin DeClue

Benjamin DeClue

Jason- Certainly join ELGL! We did have a webinar today on LinkedIn which you should be able to replay. Plus its a great network for meeting people in local gov who are passionate and excited about the field!

Matthew Morton

Yes, we I implemented a successful façade renovation program in WA State. I'd be happy to share my experiences and particulars (funding, campaigns, challanges etc).

Debra McKenzie

Has anyone been involved with a downtown facade improvement program that would like to share a few pearls of wisdom? How did it start? Funding? Who were your partners if any? I am particularly interested in smaller communities under 20,000, but interested in all who want to share.

Benjamin DeClue

Benjamin DeClue

Hi Debra-

I was asking some friends about this sort of thing a few weeks ago and came across two good examples- http://www.kettering..

and

http://cityofirving...

Hope that helps!

J.R. Denney

Question: Is it considered too aggressive or stepping beyond "my lane"to ask my county manager for career coaching or mentoring? I am relatively new to local government (2 years experience but I spent 12 years in the military).

Benjamin DeClue

Benjamin DeClue

Depends on the level of ask I would think, but most people are more than happy to help mentor someone!

Robert Carty

Robert Carty

You can also explore mentors or coaches outside of your manager - we're about to launch the national coaching program (icma.org/coaching). We also have a discussion group for veterans you can explore: http://bit.ly/10EhxRC

J.R. Denney

J.R. Denney

Gentleman, I appreciate the response!

Roger Kemp
Roger Kemp said

I agree! When I received my MPA degree I got a job in city government (other applicants had a graduate degree too).

I went to night school working on a doctoral degree in public administration, entirely paid for by the city, and when I received it, I became a city manager the same month.

A graduate education makes you more competitive.

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