Searching For GIS Jobs? Here’s How To Start Thinking Outside the Box

gis jobs

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2018

Know Where To Search for GIS Jobs

GIS is always answering “where”. And the key to finding GIS jobs is no different: you just need to know where to search.

But us, multi-talented, tech-savvy GIS practitioners can go beyond other graduates because of our skill-sets

Don’t believe me?

We’ll show you how to find GIS jobs to apply for with some ‘outside the box’ search tags.

Aggregate GIS Jobs On Your Mobile Phone

GIS jobs should be rolling in like clockwork on your mobile when you use job aggregators like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. Depending on your location, new GIS jobs should be popping up one after the other.




Government job sites like USAJobs have massive listing of federal jobs. While Monster.com helps you with cover letter writing and other job search basics.

Or if you just want to get some volunteer experience, there’s Idealist.org and GISCorps.

And here are some of the GIS jobs that aggregators don’t catch. This means less will know about these jobs, and better chances for your career gateway.

What is Your GIS Job Search Term?

You could simply type in ‘GIS’ and pray that something sticks. But if you’ve just graduated with a degree or GIS certification, your school prepared you with the right “book smarts”.

But GIS is diverse and you need a bit of “street smarts”. It’s not a one-trick pony like some of the other fields. And you can take this to your advantage.

Here are some of the less-searched skills that GIS practitioners often forget. If necessary, boost your education slightly and go from novice to expert.

Aggregate these additional terms and you instantly have a leg-up on the competition:

• Programming
• GPS
• Cartography
• Remote Sensing
• Geostatistics
• Geomatics
• Surveying
• Developer
• Surveying
• Graphics Design
• Python
• CAD
• Mapping
• Database Administration
• Webmaps
• Project Management

Think Outside the Box

If you’ve gone through our list of 10 career tips to help find a GIS job and are out of luck, don’t get discouraged. Because GIS is an emerging field, some companies don’t know where or how to use it.

Here are some of the outside-the-box GIS jobs where GIS has room to grow:

Field Work: Heavy construction, forestry, environment, archaeology and mining are industries begging for GIS. For example, you can setup GPS mobile apps in QGIS Field or ArcGIS Collector for any type of work (invasive species/endangered species surveys, site excavation, etc.). Best of all, you get a mix of desk work and site visits.

Surveying: Not really too outside-the-box. Surveyors go to construction to update legal boundary lines. No two days are the same for surveyors. Precise locations are taken for site exploration, land subdivision and civil engineering projects.




High Level Research: As part of a masters or PHD program, get funded for high level research. Write a research grant for a GIS-related hypothesis. Your university could point you in the right direction. Test your hypothesis and publish a paper.

Drone Pilot: When Amazon conceptualized their mail-delivery drone, the GIS industry eyes lit up. Drones gather valuable Earth information in fields such as agriculture, search & rescue and the environment. Even realtors use drones to advertise open houses.

Military Operations: The military is one of the biggest users of remote sensing and location intelligence. Ever since the Corona spy satellite, there’s been a growing demand for reconnaissance in our globalized world. But overseas deployment may not be in the cards for your life chapter.

And really, there are 1000s of GIS applications in use today.

Now, It’s Your Turn

If you’ve graduated and you’re left in the dark without an opportunity, it’s time to start thinking a bit outside the box.

It’s not over yet to think GIS is a bad career choice.

Not even close.

Think a bit outside the box, and you will be rewarded.

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