Before you start applying for jobs, explore different jobs and careers. Talk to people you know (eg family and friends and their employers, school careers advisor, people in jobs you can easily make contact with) and do research online. Libraries may be able to help you with this if you are unsure.
Read advertisements and look at job descriptions for different jobs, ask if you can visit workplaces and see what people actually do. Work out how your skills and interests could relate to different occupations. This can help you to focus your job search process and make your job applications relevant for the job.
Work experience can prepare you for what working will be like and to understand what you like and could be good at.
It will also give employers confidence you are reliable and motivated. Employers will be interested in any form of work attendance or participation Find out if your school or tertiary provider has a work experience programme or has connections with employers. You could also consider getting a part-time job or doing voluntary work in your community. You can learn about different workplaces by visiting or helping out where people you know work.
Find people who can help and support you in your job search and who can introduce you to employers. Every community has a range of different services. Careers advisors in your school or tertiary provider can help. There are a range of organisations working with young people.
Online resources and tools
- The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Occupation Outlook (external link) contains education, employment and income information on 60 key occupations in New Zealand across all skill levels.
- The Profile Builder tool (external link) is for students, parents, whanau, and educators to help plan study options to align with Vocational Pathways.
- Careers New Zealand (external link) provides information about the different types of training and study options as well as a course database that can be searched by region, study area and qualification type.
- The Skills Builder (external link) tool assists people to build on the skills they already have and figure out their next steps.
- The Ministry of Education has information for parents (external link) to help students choose subjects, understand NCEA and consider further education (external link) options.
- Read how Vocational Pathways (external link) provide new ways for students to achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 and develop pathways that progress to further study, training and employment.
Support for young job seekers
There is support available from the Government and community organisations to help young people looking for work to develop skills, get work experience or find a job.
- Work and Income (external link) offers services for 16 to 19 year olds to improve skills and help find a job or work experience.
- Youth Service (external link) works with 16 and 17 years olds to find education, training and work-based learning.
- The Youth Guarantee Scheme (external link) supports young people to achieve NCEA Level 2 and progress to further education or into work.
- Employers often want young staff to have a drivers licence. Drive.govt.nz (external link) is a free website and learning tool to help young people become confident capable drivers and to navigate the driver licence system and prepare for tests.
- Pacific Employer Support Services (PESS) (external link) supports young Pacific people in Auckland and Hamilton with employment, education and training. Services include career advice, coaching and interview skills to help match young people to jobs that best fit them.
- Youth Connections (external link) provides support in Auckland to introduce young people to employers read success stories of young people who have taken up opportunities with the help of youth connections.
- Youth Employer (external link) in Dunedin connects young people with youth friendly employers.
- Smart Waikato (external link) supports young people with information about careers in the region.
Applying for jobs
Make your application specific for each job you apply for. Say why you are interested in the job and how your skills and interests relate to the job and organisation. Employers receive lots of general applications that don’t relate to the job. They are looking for applications that stand out.
- Every organisation will have a different recruitment process. Check the advertisement to see if they have asked for a cover letter and a CV or a completed application form.
- Make sure you give all the information the employer has asked for and that you apply before the closing date.
- A good phone manner is a way to show your customer service skills to employers. Practice answering calls with a friend so that you know you sound polite and interested in the job and working.
- If you have applied for a job make sure you answer phone calls and read text messages even if the number isn’t in your contacts. If it isn’t a good time for you to talk, ask if you could arrange a time to talk later.
- Check your voice mail greeting is appropriate and your email address is clear and professional.
- Keep in contact throughout the application process. Reply promptly when an employer contacts you. If you haven’t heard anything, email or phone to check your application was received and ask about next steps. It will show you’re interested in the job.
Preparing for an interview
If you’ve been asked to come to an interview for a job, preparing for the interview can increase your chance of success. Preparation will help you to present yourself at your best to the employer and will also make you feel more confident.
- An interview is a chance for an employer to get to know you. They will be looking to see if you are a ‘good fit’ with their organisation. Talk to them about why you are interested in the job and how your skills and interests relate to their organisation.
- Do some research on the organisation so you sound prepared in the interview (eg search online, ask people you know or you could visit the workplace if it is open to the public).
- Everything counts. Even if you don’t have work experience, you can talk to an employer about your school, home, sport and community activities.
- Think of examples to show you have ‘soft skills’ (eg you are reliable, willing to learn, can work in a team, and have good communication skills).
- If you have had an interview and you are unsuccessful, ask for feedback from the employer. Learn from each job application and improve.
- Employers may ask you at the interview about your transport arrangements to get to and from work. Talk with your family in advance to plan how you will get to work, especially if the job involves travelling outside of public transport hours if required.
- Workplaces have to provide a safe working environment for their employees and manage risks. Drugs and alcohol tests are routine health and safety checks for many jobs. Make sure that you are not affected by alcohol or drugs at any stage of the hiring process and while you are at work if you get the job.
Settling into a new job
Working is very different to studying at school or tertiary education. Understanding the differences, will help you to settle in and be successful in your new job. Remember the first few weeks and months in a new work environment can be challenging. It gets easier. The first few weeks are also a time when your employer and other staff will form an impression of you and you will form an impression of them.
- Learn about the culture, values and expectations of your workplace, as well the technical skills needed for the job.
- Many employers won’t be specific about their expectations and expect you to seek help when you need it, ask questions and solve problems.
- Your employer may organise an induction plan for you. If not, ask if there is another employee who can be your buddy for the first few weeks.
- Find out what is expected of you and the way the organisation does things. Ask questions and show you are interested and keen to learn.
Staying in work and progressing
Keep an open mind and show interest in your new job and any tasks your employer gives you. You’ll learn new skills that are transferable, even if you’re still deciding whether this is the type of work you want to do long term.
- Remember employers often look for motivation and commitment to a job before talking about development opportunities or promotion.
- It can be helpful to have a support person who can provide advice as you settle into a new job. This could be someone from your family or it could be someone else you know. Industry training organisations, education providers, youth organisations and Work and Income can provide support.
- Think ahead about options for how you could balance home and community responsibilities with your new work commitments.
- Talk with both your family and your employer. If they know your responsibilities, they might be able support you to balance all parts of your life (eg such as different shifts). Other staff in your workplace might be able to provide advice too.