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Tis the season to look for work


22 December 2011

‘Tis the season to look for work

Creative approach needed for job seeking in tough work climate

Careers New Zealand is encouraging young people looking for work these holidays to get creative in their approach to job seeking.

Graeme Benny, chief executive for Careers New Zealand, says young people finding it difficult to find their first full-time job, or holiday work between semesters, should utilise their personal networks to access the ‘informal job market’.

“There’s no doubt it’s a tough time to be leaving school; particularly with the world still reeling from the effects of the global recession and New Zealand experiencing record levels of youth unemployment,” says Graeme.

He offers several tips on hunting for work in times when jobs are scarce.

“You can often create the best work opportunities using your own networks. Put together a list of all the people you know and let them know that you are job searching. Start with the people you’re closest to; family, friends and relatives, neighbours, previous employers and teachers. You can use Facebook to help with this.”

“Next, identify your army of helpers - everyone you know whose business it is to know others – the personal trainer, the sports coach or the hairstylist. The more people you talk to, the further your network will extend, even to people you don’t know.”

Graeme says many employers often prefer you to approach them directly rather than be overwhelmed with CVs.

“Some of the best jobs are never advertised. There’s evidence that suggests that up to half the available jobs out there are found via the informal job market.”

For those students seeking short term holiday and seasonal jobs, Graeme says thinking about the jobs that can help with chosen areas of study would be useful.

“Don’t think of your summer work as just a casual job. Developing a good work record in your holiday work can lead to a permanent role within an organisation.”

Graeme suggests some ideas for getting holiday and seasonal work experience:

• Grocery stores, cafes, restaurants and retail stores often hire extra workers over the holiday period and future jobs will require good customer service skills which you can develop now.

• Beach communities and popular vacation spots also thrive during holiday times, making them good places to look for job vacancies.

• Horticultural and agricultural industries are often busy during school holidays and may be able to offer you short-term, seasonal work.

If paid work continues to be unavailable, Graeme recommends finding some volunteer work that is fulfilling and relevant for continuing your skill development, building a work history and giving you references.

“You can volunteer to lead or help supervise in holiday programmes conducted by the local YWCA, YMCA, the City Council or District Council. Or, if you know of a farming family, volunteer to work on the farm in return for your board.”

Finally, Graeme says no matter what kind of work people do, they need to make sure their CV is up to date and that it includes non-work related activities. Careers New Zealand can help with its CV4Me tool, which provides tips and advice and helps people create a CV online and then save it in a secure online space, he says.

For more information on Careers New Zealand, as well as access to a range of free online tools, information and services, visit

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