Steps to take at university

Take a look at the steps we recommend throughout your studies to improve your chances of a successful job search.

In your first year

1. Familiarise yourself with our resources and services

  • Meet our team and learn more about what we do.
  • Use our MyCDES platform to make an appointment with a career consultant, attend a workshop or career event, and access interactive online modules and resources covering topics such as 'How to create a CV' and 'How to find work and create opportunities' and cover letter checks.
  • Our other platform, MyCDES+, has many other useful online resources, such as CV and cover letter templates, online self-assessment tools (including career checks, CV and cover letter checks, interview prep and e-learning) and allows you to search and apply for internships and jobs via the MyCDES+ job board.

2. Gain work experience and develop your skills

You can gain valuable CV-enhancing skills from all kinds of work. Whether you're doing an extracurricular activity, volunteering, considering an internship, or working a part-time job, all these experiences will help you when you're looking for a job after you graduate. The more relevant your experience is to your degree, the better, but employers also value the transferable skills you learn, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. 

If you need help finding work experience, check out our finding a job and networking webpage

3. Write your CV

Your CV is the first contact you have with a potential employer, so make sure you’re making a positive impact, highlighting your knowledge, experience, and skills.

  • Read some tips on creating CVs and cover letters
  • Use our online CV Builder tool to create an expert CV based on employer requirements.
  • Using our online CV checker, CV360 to score your CV against 50+ common employer checks and get instant feedback.
  •  Take your CV to the next level by submitting it to our career consultants to check or come to one of our CV drop-ins (after your CV has scored at least 90% on CV360).

4. Clarify your direction

If you are not sure where you are going or what options you have with your degree, complete the 'Finding your career direction' module online or as a real-time workshop (check availability on MyCDES).

You can discuss your career ideas with one of our experienced Career Development and Employability Consultants. Book a one-on-one appointment via MyCDES.

During your studies

1. Identify how employable you are and develop workplace skills

  • Check out our list of skills employers frequently look for.
  • Browse job sites for graduate vacancies that interest you. Identify the skills, experience and qualities needed and plan to develop them.
  • Take our quick self-assessment MyCareer Check on MyCDES+ to find out how employable you are and get a personalised employability programme based on your score.

2. Network and connect with potential employers

  • Talk to your family and friends about their jobs.
  • Set up a LinkedIn profile and explore the networking opportunities on this platform. Come along to our regular LinkedIn workshops for helpful tips to get you started.
  • Develop your confidence and networking skills. We run a networking skills workshop on a regular basis (check availability and register on MyCDES).
  • Come to employer presentations and careers expos to talk to employers about job opportunities, internships, and what they are looking for in a graduate.

3. Explore global work experience opportunities

Your second or third year of study is a good time to get some work experience, at home or overseas. Working or studying in a country with a different culture can give you new insights and perspectives. Many New Zealand graduates spend at least part of their careers gaining work experience overseas.

Here are some great ways to find work experience opportunities, including internships, global or remote work placements, part-time work, and summer work.

4. Develop job interview techniques and relationships with potential referees

  • Think about potential future referees and build relationships with them (e.g. employers, tutors, or lecturers). Be sure to ask them if they will act as your referee before giving anyone their details. References will be important when you start applying for graduate jobs, as employers will complete reference checks during the application process. 
  • Learn about interviews. We have a guide on how to answer questions and be confident in a phone, video, online or face-to face interview.
  • Practise your interview technique with Interview360 on MyCDES+ and get instant feedback.

In your final year

1. Develop your professional networks and research potential employers

  • Take advantage of any opportunities to learn and network through work and internship opportunities, career expos, professional events or conferences, and join professional organisations linked to your major.
  • If you're still not sure about networking, take part in one of our regular networking workshops to build your confidence and learn about the do's and don'ts of networking.
  • Are you aware the LinkedIn is the social media platform most used by employers to recruit graduates? If you haven't already set up a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to do it. Attend our regular LinkedIn workshops and recruitment programmes with industry experts to upskill and be ahead of the game on using this powerful platform.
  • Research companies in your area of interest, the kinds of vacancies they are recruiting for, and what their company culture is like. 

2. Monitor jobs

  • Some employers recruit up to a year in advance, so don't miss out. 
  • From the start of your final year start looking at recruitment websites and check out the MyCDES+ job board

3. Apply for jobs

After you graduate

You can use Career Development and Employability Services for up to three years after you graduate. We're here to help you.