Finding and approaching employers
Finding a job is a full-time job in itself, so it is essential that you prepare well.
Full and part-time jobs can be found through both advertised and unadvertised sources, and it is vital that you consider both aspects in order to enhance your chances of success.
The first thing you need to do is research and connect with organisations to find out the opportunities available. Career events are a great way to do this.
Preparing for your job search
Keep an eye on job vacancy sites
Monitor the CDES Job Board and other job sites for vacancies in your field. Start at least 18 months before you are due to graduate. You'll get an idea of the sorts of jobs available and the range of skills employers are looking for. You'll need your username and password.
Get work experience
Get some paid or unpaid work experience while you're still a student. Ideally it will be related to your field, especially if you are a postgraduate student. You'll develop skills and gain experience to put on your CV. If you are entrepreneurial, you could also consider starting your own business. To find out more, see:
Engage with Career Development and Employability Services
Most companies have a careers section of their website where they list current vacancies and general information about their recruitment processes. In some cases you can register online regardless of whether any current vacancies exist. Some examples include:
- Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
- NZ Government
Many organisations now use LinkedIn as a method of advertising current positions, and/or they allow potential employees to upload their CVs in case a suitable position becomes available at a later date. Visit LinkedIn.
Agencies advertise jobs on behalf of employers, and there is usually no charge for job seekers. They advertise on their own websites and also in newspapers and on job websites. For listings see:
Proactive job search
A proactive job search is the process of seeking out jobs that are unadvertised. Many positions are filled by people who use their networks and contacts, or approach employers directly asking for work.
Networking is a vitally important aspect of your career development, and refers to the practise of establishing and maintaining broad connections in order to be informed of potential opportunities. Your network will consist of both people that you already know, and people that you are yet to meet. Consider the following mind map and conduct a similar exercise for yourself:
Once your network is established, the next step is to develop a strategy for each contact to ensure you maximise potential opportunities. Consider:
- Are they a prospective employer?
- Are they likely to be connected to other people that may be useful?
- Can you make a time with them to discuss employment prospects?
- Can you make a time to discuss future industry developments?
- Are there any events they are aware of that may be useful in terms of further networking?
Before you start actively engaging your network, you need to carefully consider what you will say in conversation. It’s important to be clear and concise with your communication, so an ‘elevator pitch’ is something that you might want to develop. This is a three or four sentence summary of who you are and want you want.
Directly approach employers asking for work
Make a list of the organisations you'd like to work for, and find out their contact details and who is in charge of hiring staff.
Approach organisations that interest you most with a phone call or a visit and enquire about possible work now or in the future, regardless of whether they have a vacancy. Have a CV and cover letter ready to go.
- Do you think there is a chance any positions may come up for someone like me over the next six months?
- When there is a vacancy, where does your organisation advertise?
- How often do openings come up that someone like me could apply for?
- Can you suggest anyone else I could contact regarding employment opportunities?
- How many applicants usually apply for vacancies in this field?
- Can you suggest anything I could be doing now to improve my chances of being employed by your organisation?
- Are there other jobs that you think I could apply for in the firm with the kind of skills or qualifications that I have?
- Do you have any other advice?
Other job search tips
- Remain in action and apply for more jobs while waiting to hear back from the current ones you've applied for.
- Keep accurate records of what jobs you've applied for, who you have contacted for informational interviews, and when you will call someone back.
- Save each CV and letter for each application and date it, so you can refer back before an interview.