Job search

Here are some suggested ways you can search for work beyond just applying for advertised job vacancies.

Preparing to look for work

There is no one quick way to look for a job. A lot depends on the way in which you go about your search and the energy you invest in it. First, you need to know what you want to do - it is not easy marketing yourself to employers when you don't quite know what you are looking for or why.

Making career decisions will help you to identify your likes, dislikes, skills, attributes and ways to explore where and how you can apply these.

You can use our Self-Awareness employability module, where you can learn about your tendencies, preferences, strengths and weaknesses. This in turn will helps you to identify jobs that are right for you, convey your value in a cover letter and CV, present yourself confidently in an interview.

Once you've narrowed down to the field of work you'd really like to be in and the kind of job you'd ideally like to do, you can then find out about relevant employers and ways to approach them.

Creating and building networks

A large number of positions are still filled in by word of mouth. Advertising is often the least preferred method when an organisation has a position to fill. A well-presented CV from a motivated person with the right skills and experience frequently results in an interview offer. The personal recommendation of someone known to the employer may also have the same result, which is why involving your personal network of family, friends and associations can be so productive. They can put you on to valuable contacts within the organisations that interest you.

Make an introductory phone call to the key person that your contact has suggested. Your contact may be willing for you to use their name. Once you have found the right person be clear about why you are ringing and what you would like to find out. Show that you have already researched the organisation. Tell everybody you know that you are seeking work and the type of positions that interest you.

Take a copy of your CV with you wherever you go. Set up and maintain your LinkedIn profile.

Applying for advertised vacancies

Note first whether there is a closing date or not. If a closing date is stated and this is some time after the date of the advertisement, use the intervening time to find out as much as possible about the position and the organisation. Often a job description, application form and other information about the organisation will be available. The advertisement may or may not indicate this, therefore ring the organisation concerned and ask for these pieces of information before you submit your application.

If there is no closing date this generally indicates the position will be filled as soon as suitable applicants have been interviewed. In this situation you cannot afford to waste time. Ring the employer immediately to establish whether or not there is a closing date. If there is no closing date establish how long a period of time will elapse before they start interviewing.

Find out the most appropriate method of application, such as CV and cover letter or the company's own application form. Submit your application as quickly as possible. Don't waste two or three days thinking about it. By applying you are expressing interest in the position, not committing yourself to accepting the job.

In the final paragraph of your cover letter offer to forward any additional information which might be required. If you spot an interesting advertisement a day or two after the position has closed, it may still be worthwhile contacting the organisation to see if they will accept a late application.

Job vacancy websites

NZUni Talent is available to all Victoria University of Wellington students and graduates.You can access job vacancies that best fit your study and requirements, including part time, summer, internships, voluntary, full time and graduate recruitment.

You can also:

  • Book online for employer presentations, seminars and workshops
  • Find out about careers expos on campus
  • Find CV and cover letter samples and resources

Careers NZ provides a comprehensive list of current job vacancy and recruitment websites.

Student Job Search SJS is a website that matches tertiary students with employers. It is particularly useful for finding part-time or short term contracts while studying.

Recruitment agencies

Agencies screen people applying for jobs and in this way ensure the employer avoids having to screen all the initial applications that come with an advertised vacancy. They will also search for candidates in skill shortage areas. Recruitment agencies have to be orientated to employers as this is where their money comes from. There is generally no charge to job seekers using employment agencies.

Agencies are most useful if you have a clear idea of the sort of position you are seeking. This helps the agency refer you to employers who would be most interested in your skills and qualifications. Be proactive, keep in touch and discuss your strategies and interviewing techniques with them. If you keep them informed of your progress they will take a personal interest in you. We cannot recommend any agencies over others. Ask around among your friends and social contacts for agencies they have found helpful.

Careers NZ has a comprehensive list of general and specialist recruitment agencies.

Information visiting

The purpose of an information interview is to find out more about opportunities in your area of interest or about specific occupations. If you are unable to find out from your contact who the key person is, then look in the organisation's website or talk to their 0800 information line for contact names. Be specific about the reason for your phone call and don't be fobbed off. Your follow-up approach is going to vary according to the size of the organisation and the occupation you are seeking, for example, your approach to a sales rep position would be quite different to that for a research assistant. When preparing for an information interview, research the organisation and read up all you can about the field prior to the interview.

Professional associations

Most associations encourage student membership. Such membership enables you to meet key people in the association, make yourself known to them and in due course sound them out about employment opportunities.You can also subscribe to relevant professional magazines to have full access to advertised vacancies in your sector and find useful information like the professional code of ethics, professional development, discussion groups and forthcoming conferences online.

Volunteering

Another way of making useful contacts and gaining valuable work experience is through working as a volunteer. Community agencies and welfare organisations who rely on voluntary labour are obvious choices, particularly if you are interested in working in any of the social services, especially in counselling or social work. There are many other kinds of volunteering, however. It may be possible to spend time with your contact person observing them in their work. You could offer to help out in some way. It could be anything from photocopying and making the tea to undertaking a research or information management project. You learn first-hand about the nature of their work and also find out the best ways to go about applying for paid positions in their organisation.

To find out about volunteering opportunities as a student, consider all the different ways you can get involved. You can find volunteering opportunities through your local branch of Volunteer NZ or Collaborate. Voluntary roles are also advertised on the NZUni Talent jobs board.