Finding work

Finding work takes time and preparation. Sometimes it can feel like a job in itself, so make sure you're flexible with your search. Stay focused, be positive and have an active approach. 

Five key steps to finding work:

  1. Develop a clear idea of what you are looking for in a job, in functional terms rather than searching by job title. The functional requirements of two jobs with the same job title could be quite different. Also, similar positions can have quite different job titles.
  2. Don't limit your search to particular types of organisations. Quite diverse organisations could offer jobs in your area of interest.
  3. Research the organisations that you might like to work for.
  4. Set up a system for organising and recording all the information you accumulate.
  5. Keep up to date with current events. Read business publications, trade journals, relevant social media and articles in the employment section of the press.

Part-time work is a great way to build new skills, make new contacts and identify your likes and dislikes. Find out more about part-time work for students.

Advertised jobs

In New Zealand, online job searches include sites such as Seek and TradeMe. A lot of employers also advertise jobs on their company websites and/or use a recruitment agency. If you know which organisation you'd like to work for, check the job vacancy section on their website. If there are no vacancies listed at the time, see if you can register to receive notifications.

You can still find jobs advertised on community noticeboards, in local newspapers and through recruitment agencies.

If you're already working for an organisation, part-time or as an intern, check the internal vacancy page on their staff intranet. You may find a role that isn't advertised outside the organisation.

You can find a list of relevant websites in the 'Finding work' section of the Resources page.

Job aggregators

Job aggregators collect advertised jobs from thousands of sites for you to search. Many of these sites provide RSS feeds so you can receive job updates based on criteria you set.

Some of the job aggregators used in New Zealand are:


LinkedIn is an important strategy for anyone in the job market. Recruiters, head-hunters and HR use it to find future talent. It's an important resource for you to build your reputation and network with peers. Make sure you keep you profile up-to-date, engage with relevant individuals and groups and follow influencers.

If you're a Massey student or recent graduate, find out more about the benefits of LinkedIn in the 'Resources' section of the Massey CareerHub.

Hidden jobs

The terms 'hidden jobs' or 'the 'hidden job market' apply to jobs that aren't advertised or posted online. There are many reasons why employers choose not to advertise jobs. Saving money on advertising or getting candidates through employee referrals are a couple.

In New Zealand it's believed that up to 80% of job vacancies are never advertised. They're filled through other channels. With some research and good people skills, everyone can access these channels.


Networking is about building relationships and connections with people. It's good to talk about your career goals with friends and family, your alumni network and people you have worked with. This will help to build your own network.

Once you establish your network, your goal is to get information and advice from key contacts. This strategy is often referred to as an informal interview. The goal of an informal interview is to find out more about:

  • the organisation. What is the culture like? What are the challenges and opportunities? Who are the major players?
  • how your skills, experience and qualifications might fit with the organisation or sector.
  • your contact's role. What does it involve? What is it like on a day-to-day basis - its good and bad points? What is the usual avenue into that role?
  • how people work together. What is the senior leadership like in the organisation?
  • the particular needs of the organisation or sector.

During an informal interview, make sure you project your professional brand. That is, who you are as a person, how you can add value to the organisation that hires you, in your own unique way. Show your awareness of the problems and challenges they face by offering solutions. And remember to stress the skills and qualities you have that would be a major asset to the organisation.

Networking takes dedication - not desperation. Once you've made connections, it pays to give them attention and have regular catch ups. If you're a coffee drinker, a catch up over coffee is a nice way to stay in touch. You want to be the first person they think of when a job becomes available.

Professional associations

Professional associations exist for a broad range of roles. Many encourage student membership and they can often connect you with other professionals working in your areas of interest. They're a great way to find out about employment opportunities and trends in the sector. Opportunities to network can be through online channels or by attending association events.

Many professional associations carry ‘job opportunities’ and ‘work wanted’ sections on their websites. Sometimes this information is only accessible to members.

Some professional associations are employer bodies or have corporate members. This information is often listed on their website in a members directory or in a links section. These listings can be useful for speculative applications.


Employers will still seek a referral from employees recommending a friend or colleague. It's possibly one of the largest recruitment methods outside of external advertising.

You can create a whole new window of opportunity by asking friends or associates to "keep an eye out" for any roles.

It is down to you to ask, not for others to approach you, so don't miss out on this highly effective channel.

Speculative applications

Making speculative applications is a direct approach to finding out about job opportunities. You’ll need to research the organisation and aim to contact a named person. If you don't have a contact name, ask to speak with the person in charge of recruitment.

Make sure you know what you want from this approach. Have your questions prepared and what you want to say about yourself.

If there are no vacancies, offer to send in your CV and maintain regular contact. Register with the organisation for job alerts if the facility is available.

LinkedIn and Twitter

LinkedIn forms an essential part of the “Hidden Job Market.” It's an important strategy for anyone in the job market. Recruiters, head-hunters and HR use it to find future talent. It is an important resource for you to build your reputation and network with peers. Make sure you keep you profile up-to-date, engage in relevant individuals and groups and follow influencers.

Twitter is a great platform to express your voice and share your opinions. It's also a good place to engage with potential employers.

Follow companies and organisations in the industry you're interested in. Twitter might be the first place a company posts about new opportunities. This could give you a head start to finding your dream job.

You want your profile to be active, but don't over do it. Keep posts relevant and valuable to your audience to build a good reputation.

Social media

Many employers will check the online presence of employees and job applicants. Check your social media accounts. Make sure they don't contain any content that could damage your chance or securing your dream job.

It takes a long time to build a good reputation, don't let a single Post or Share ruin it. Think about your future and the type of career you want before you post anything online. It could be the difference between congratulations and commiserations.

Three key tips:

  1. Use your real name.
  2. Keep your image professional and consistent.
  3. Keep everything squeaky clean.

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