Paving the Way for Your GIS Career

Are you ready to jump into a GIS-related field but don’t know where to start?
Maybe you are a soon-to-be college graduate. Maybe you have been in the workforce for many years in an unrelated field with no GIS experience. No matter what stage you’re at in your career, the following tips will prepare you to become the next successful hire.

1. Rewrite Your GIS Resume
Tailor your resume to each specific job description. Instead of sending a blanket resume to 20 companies then waiting and praying for a callback, make small changes in each individual resume to show that you are qualified for that company’s specific requirements. Be detailed in the information that you’re matching. For example, if they are looking for someone with 5-10 years experience in ArcGIS, note in your resume that you’ve had “7 years’ experience in ArcGIS.”

2. You’re more than just a “GIS Technician”
Almost every single industry now uses GIS. If you have the option to expand your GIS expertise by gaining experience in a specific sector, do it! Your chances of landing a job are even higher when you are able to complement your GIS technical skills. A diverse skill set will fare you well in your job search.

3. Be open to internships, volunteering, and entry-level positions
When you are first starting out in the GIS field, apply for everything! Whether you are straight out of college or have been working for 20 years, be open to the idea of taking on an internship or volunteer opportunity. This is not only a great way to get your foot in the door and see firsthand what job responsibilities you will be taking on, but will add value to your resume. 

4. Make relocation an option
If you were offered a job in another city, would you take it? While it’s not for everyone, it’s definitely something to think about before you begin your job search. It might be a good decision for someone who is early into their GIS career, but not for a veteran who has many ties to their current city. Weigh the pros and cons before making a definite decision.  

5. Consider additional certifications
Having additional certifications can be the determining factor between you and the candidates you’re competing against. Many times, certifications such as GISP (Geographic Information System Professional) and the ESRI certificate will give you a competitive advantage over others. Show off your skillset to employers by looking into gaining experience with relevant certifications.