Massey University CareerplaNZ

Career and student learning issues brought to you by Massey University’s Careers Service – New Zealand

Archive for February, 2009

Ways of wellness…

Posted by John Ross on February 26, 2009

Tertiary study brings challenges for many – not least, managing study and life. Here my colleague Karilyn Andrew, Massey University’s Wellbeing Co-ordinator, outlines some of these challenges and offers tips to help along the way.


Managing pressure


There are times during the term when most people feel pressured.  Recognise that this is a common experience – you are not the only one.


  • Plan ahead – know when deadlines are, break things down into steps and allow yourself enough time to get the work done.
  • Keep things in perspective.
  • Separate others’ expectations from your own – be clear about what you know you need to do for you.
  • Use pressure to positively motivate yourself and praise, reward or treat yourself when you achieve your goals.
  • Allow time for relaxation and other activities that keep you healthy and well.

Just ask


Sometimes when we face new experiences and knowledge we can waste loads of time worrying about things we don’t understand or don’t know.  Don’t be afraid to ask – you can save yourself and lot of time, energy and worry by finding out or asking. 


Balancing study and life


It helps to be clear with yourself when you are, and when you are not studying.  If you don’t do this, you might find yourself thinking of all the fun things you’re not doing while you are trying to study.  You might also find it hard to enjoy leisure time and socialising as you’re worrying about any work that’s outstanding.  Even worse, you might end up not even allowing yourself time for leisure and fun, which doesn’t make you more productive – you just end up stressed and burnt out.  Take time for leisure, physical and social activity and time to relax.


Know yourself and what you can handle


University can be a time when you experiment and find ways of living that suit you.  Don’t be pressured by others into doing things that you do not want to do, that don’t feel right, or that you aren’t ready to tackle yet.  Allow yourself to work within what you feel able to do and be yourself. 





A common problem that can affect students is the tendency to put things off until the last moment – or to beyond the last moment.  Below are some signs of procrastination to look out for this year, or you may recognise these habits from the past.


Difficulty making a start on a piece of work or revision

  • Do you find yourself constant putting back your starting time and never actually getting going?
  • Are you often waiting for the “right moment” to start or for inspiration to strike you?

Craving diversion

  • Does the need to tidy your room, do the shopping, phone home and so on become irresistible whenever you contemplate getting down to work?
  • Are you easily distracted from your work by friends and social opportunities?

 Ineffective working


  • Do you spend time in the library but end up with little to show for it?
  • Do you stare at a blank computer screen or piece of paper rather than being able to start writing?

 Last minute rushing


·        Is all your work finally done at a breakneck speed the night before the final deadline or the exam?

·        Do you often think you have not left yourself time to do the work justice?


 Missed deadlines


  • Do you feel you are always requesting extensions and making excuses?
  • Are you losing marks on work because it is late? Do you find it hard to get to classes?

 Nagging guilt


·        Is your social and relaxation time spoilt by the continual feeling that you ought to be working?

·        Do you often feel you have got a lower grade than you should have achieved?


 Disappointment and self-reproach


  • Do you feel you are letting yourself down by putting things off?
  • Do you think of yourself as lazy and as a poor student?
  • Do you compare yourself unfavourably with others because of your procrastinating?

 If you answered yes to many of these questions, you may well have developed the habit of putting things off, or procrastination.  


If you would like to explore tips and strategies to deal with procrastination, and are a student at Massey’s Manawatu campus, or are a Massey extramural student in or around Palmerston North, don’t put off attending the WOW workshop on Thursday March 12th  (see below). 


There will also be a group being run over four weeks by the Student Counselling and Careers Service on April 1st, 8th, 29, and May 6th.


If you are interested in attending this group contact the Student Counselling Service on 06 350 5935.



Wellness on Massey’s Manawatu campus this week …


WOW Workshop – Procrastination – Thursday March 12h, 12-12.50pm


Student Life Seminar Room (Next to SS Lecture Block)

Explore tips and strategies for dealing with ‘procrastination’. 

Register online at or phone 06 350 5935


Women’s Health Clinic: Every Wednesday morning


Where: Massey Medical Centre, Level 1, Registry building.


Call to make an appointment (06 350 5533).


The Women’s Health Clinic is for contraception concerns, sexual health questions, pregnancy, and fertility issues


Wellness Walkers – Thursday 12th March


Come and join this new walking group starting today. This is an easy level 30minute walk.  Where? Meeting outside main entrance to registry building at midday. 



Wellness on Massey’s Manawatu campus COMING UP NEXT WEEK …


  • Wellness Walkers – Tuesday 17th March, Thursday 19th March. Come and join the walking group.   Leaving from outside main entrance to registry building just after midday.
  • WOW Workshop – Getting Great Sleep – Thursday 19th March. Strategies to improve the quality of sleep and address common sleep problems.  Register by phoning 350 5935 or online at 

Posted in Blogs, Career, Distance Education, Distance Learning, Happiness, Massey University, New Zealand, Student, Studying, Tertiary Education, Uncategorized, University, work | Leave a Comment »


Posted by John Ross on February 26, 2009

Every year, the career services at Massey University play host to a range of career fairs and expos.  Brief details of those planned for 2009 are given below.  If you are a Massey student, or recent Massey graduate, you can find out more by registering with/logging into:



In this site select the ‘Events’ tile and choose ‘view all events’.  As each event draws nearer you’ll find participating employers listed on the site.  Remember to register your likely attendance at these events too – you can do this on the Massey Careerhub site and it helps us to keep you updated on the Fairs and Expos.

·         Accounting & Finance Expo 2009 – Massey Albany Campus

Date: 10-Mar-2009



Career Expo for Accounting/Finance students – are you looking for a summer internship in 2009 or a graduate role in 2010? Want to know where your Accounting/Finance degree could lead you?

·         Accounting & Finance Expo  – Massey Manawatu Campus

Date: 16-Mar-2009



Looking for a summer internship in 2009 or a Graduate role in 2010? Want to know where your Accounting/Finance degree could lead you?

·         Careers Fair – General – Massey Manawatu campus

Date: 05-May-2009



This offers you your opportunity to talk to employers about career pathways, graduate positions and summer internships.

·         Agribusiness/Applied Science/Engineering/Science Exp – Massey Manawatu campus
Date: 06-May-2009

This is a chance for you to talk to employers about career pathways, graduate and summer opportunities and scholarships.

Not to be overlooked too is the Virtual Careers Fair – Australasia’s online meeting place for employers and students. Find jobs, meet with employers and perfect your job-hunting skills online! Running from 23rd March – 9th April.

For more information on this see:



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Sure fire EXPOsure

Posted by John Ross on February 25, 2009

In yesterday’s blog post I touched on the possible value of attending careers fairs and expos.  Today the attention turns to making the most of doing so. 


Chances are, you’ll be able simply to turn up – in other words, without registering in advance.  Indeed, you may well find out about a Fair or Expo at the last minute.  That being said, you’re likely to get far more from the experience if you prepare well – and well in advance.


Fairs and Expos are a great reason for ensuring that you always have an up-to-date version of your ‘core’ CV/Resume to hand.  You’ll want to take copies of it with you to the event.  Ideally however, you should only pass it to employers who ask for it and who’s closing dates for job applications are imminent.  Why? The reason is that you should ‘tailor’ it for each role and employer?  If you do hand it out, take details of who you’ve given it to.  You’ll want to contact them later if they haven’t been in touch with you – say after two or three weeks.


What else should you do to prepare though?  Well, start by asking yourself:


·        What skills do I have and which would I like to use/develop further in a job?

·        Where did I develop these skills – try to think of examples from different aspects of your life?

·        How can I match my skills to jobs and employers?


You might be surprised at the consistency shown by employers and roles over skills sought.  Yes, there may well be ‘technical’ skills or competencies that are highly specific to the role.  Chances are though, that there will be ‘soft’ skills that a wide range of roles seem to require.  Increasingly, graduates will be expected to be able to evidence skills and traits that include:


Self-confidence                                 Self-awareness


Action planning                                  Coping with uncertainty


Networking                                         Negotiation


Decision making                               Political awareness


Self-promotion                                   Exploring/creating opportunities


Careers Fairs and Expos involve two-way interaction.  Employers may well be interested in you but you’ll also be expected to show interest in them.  They’ll expect you to come up to them and to talk to them – confidently and professionally.  As a result, it’ll pay dividends if you know who’ll be attending and which employers – in particular – you want to meet with.


Check out the websites of participating employers – career services can also be a great source of information on additional ways of researching employers and sectors.  Delegates are impressed by Fair/Expo visitors who know something about their organisation; who ask intelligent questions of them; who are dressed smartly and who can talk confidently (but not arrogantly) about their skills, interests and experience.  


Your attendance – and active participation – can be an invaluable way to explore job roles; sectors and employers.  They are also a chance to build networks; to ‘market’ yourself; to work towards finding your ideal career and to decide upon where best to concentrate your efforts.  You’ll be able to develop and practice your information seeking skills and – ultimately – will enhance your self-confidence.


Not surprisingly, you’ll only have a limited time in which to speak to individual employers – most careers fairs and expos will be busy places.  That’s why it’s a good idea to target the employers of most interest to you.  Try to determine the information that you need and what you want them to know about you.  Where possible, prepare your questions in advance – about the sector; the organisation; its recruitment plans and practices; the roles that it employs people to do; what it looks for in applicants etc.  Find out who you should apply to and when.  Again, career services can help with ideas on questions to ask.  Good luck!


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All’s Fair…

Posted by John Ross on February 24, 2009

In job search – particularly at the present time – creativity is the key.  Many, many job opportunities will never make it into the press or into the cyber-space of internet vacancy sites.  Networking with an ever-developing list of contacts will be vital but what about careers fairs and expos?

Even in the gloomy times of today, these events will still take place.  They may be smaller than we’ve seen for a while, and may be used to profile a reduced number and range of jobs, but they’re still well worth considering.   A good place to start will be any that are organised by NZ university career services.  If you’re a student or recent graduate of one of these universities, any Fairs and Expos planned are likely to be being publicised now – through the ‘NZ Universities Career Hub’ system.

You’ll see that the vast majority take place in the first six months of the calendar year and that some are general (open to any discipline) and that others are sector-specific (e.g. business and finance; engineering etc).  Most will be targeted at final-year students and recent graduates and will be profiling opportunities for full-time work.  That being said, students from other years should consider attending – there may well be details of internships and vacation work on offer.

One event worth a specific note is the Virtual Career Fair that’s taking place on-line from 23rd March until 9th April this year.  This is “an annual online careers event where tertiary students and graduates, and graduate employers can connect from anywhere in Australia and New Zealand”.  You’ll find much more detailed information on this event by visiting its site now but, in short, it will offer:

  • a searchable database of employers and employer profiles and a job search facility
  • direct web links to exhibitors’ recruitment websites and application areas
  • real-time online chat rooms which provide a forum for exhibitors and students to speak directly to one another – students can even access the VCF chat timetable and select sessions of interest via Facebook!
  • the VCF Pod Centre, which contains downloadable podcasts with employer interviews and video clips
  • resources to support students’ job search activities
  • interactive facilities for students, such as the very popular Interview Quiz and daily Mini-Surveys
  • participation prizes which are awarded to students to encourage active involvement.

The usefulness of Careers Fairs and Expos for you will, to a large extent, depend upon what you’re looking for.  However, how prepared you are to make the most of them will also have a key part to play.  More on this in a later blog post.

Posted in Career, Choosing a course, Distance Education, Distance Learning, Happiness, Massey University, New Zealand, Student, Studying, Tertiary Education, Thinking of study, Uncategorized, University, work | Leave a Comment »

Redundancy then?

Posted by John Ross on February 23, 2009

It is a fact of life that redundancy will be a reality for many people in the months to come.  Being ready for this worst-case scenario will have a major impact on your ability to bounce back and to do so quickly.  I’ll avoid going over the old ground of previous posts to this blog, but I will stress the centrality of keeping yourself as employable as possible.  Although it’s unlikely to feel like it at the time, redundancy can offer a ‘window’ to work on this – to focus on what you want; what you can offer; who you are and what you need.

There’s no doubt about it, redundancy is stressful.  It’s a natural and human reaction to think ‘why me, what did I do wrong and what am I going to do now?’  Indeed, many have equated redundancy with bereavement – shock, disbelief, anger, fantasy, depression and guilt are common psychological reactions that precede acknowledgement and acceptance.

Chances are however, that your redundancy is not a reflection of you as a person nor of any lack of motivation or ability on your part.  It’s also natural and human to rush into decisions and to take the first new job that comes along – after all, you’re likely to need the income and may well be feeling the rawness of a sense of loss of identity.  It’s highly unlikely that this will be the best approach though – negativity is anathema to effective job search after all. 

Instead, take a realistic view of how long you can be out of the workforce for.  In addressing this, you’re likely to look first at your finances.  How much do you have – and need – to cover your bills; debts and other commitments?  Is what is left sufficient to allow you to life – if so, for how long?  Is anything left over for spending on any retraining that might be sought or needed?  Support can help with this – be in from friends and family; on-line budgeting services; financial advisers or any assistance offered through your previous employer. 

Many people who have experienced redundancy in the past stress the value of establishing a routine, not least for self-motivation reasons.  Needless to say, it’s likely that this routine will include time spent on job-search activities, re-training and suchlike.  This, in turn, may also require realism and creativity.  If you’re not finding relevant advertised vacancies, how comfortable are you with building, accessing and networking with a range of appropriate contacts?  Do you have the time – and money – to take on voluntary work…this can be a great way to develop your skills base; to be seen to be using your time constructively and to enhance your contacts list?  Equally, are you open to freelance or short-contract work?  Is it possible in your role?

Finally, I guess I’d say that it’s vital to stay in ‘work mode’.  As hard as it may be, it’ll pay dividends to remain focused on the type of work you’re seeking and on the many things you have to offer your future employer.

Posted in Career, Distance Education, Distance Learning, New Zealand, Student, Studying, Tertiary Education, Thinking of study, Uncategorized, University, work | Leave a Comment »

Questions, questions

Posted by John Ross on February 19, 2009

The focus of today’s post is on some of the questions you should ask yourself when looking at career choice.  In writing this I do realise that in today’s job market getting a job – any job – may well be your number one priority.  However, if you can its worth spending time on considering your answers to the questions that follow:

What size of organisation do you want to work for – small, medium or large?  Whilst it’s tempting for the new graduate to look first (and possibly only) at traditional graduate recruitment programmes, the truth is that most NZ graduates will work for small organisations – the vast bulk of the nation’s employers.  In a small organisation your contributions will explicitly show and count.  You may have a higher level of influence – and earlier – than you would if you worked in a large enterprise where there’s a possibility that you’ll feel like ‘a small cog in a big machine’.  On the other hand, bigger employers may – and it is a may – offer greater job security; scope for promotion; career development opportunities and ‘fringe’ benefits.

What sector(s) appeal to you?  How much do you know about them and about the opportunities that they have?  If you’re attracted to a sector that’s contracting, how easy might it be for you to move into a different one?

A final decision on this should be made from as informed a position as possible.  For example, do you have – or could you attain – the qualifications needed?  Do you have – or could you attain – any relevant work experience required? Is it possible to find work experience or work shadowing that would give you a taste of the role?  How easy might it be to find people working in the role that you could contact for information – they’re likely to be able to offer you a realistic view of the job? 

Last, but of course not least, what job could you do?  No-one but you can make this decision but it is vital that you talk to people – friends; family; colleagues; careers professionals; relevant professional bodies; human resources departments; other contacts etc.

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It’s all in the balance

Posted by John Ross on February 17, 2009

In previous posts – and I’m sure in ones to come(!) – I’ve stressed to readers who are tertiary students the importance of balance.  Not so much being steady on your feet (although that can help!) but maintaining a sense of balance in your life. This can become increasingly difficult as the demands of university study unfold. Tertiary study has its own rhythm and cycle – attending lectures, completing readings, finishing assignments, studying for tests and exams.


It is easy to overlook the basic factors which provide balance in our lives. When one of these factors is ignored or forgotten, we may become out of balance and our bodies let us know this has occurred. We may become unmotivated – stressed – depressed – anxious – exhausted – lose our appetites or over-eat – become run down or sick – feel anti-social – not be able to sleep or sleep too much and be unable to study or work.


We need to remember that we are a complex mix of academic, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional dimensions. Each of these dimensions needs to be acknowledged and nurtured to maintain an adequate equilibrium for effective functioning.


This year, for the first time, we’re trialling a series of workshops on Massey University’s Manawatu campus that can help with this.  These are our ‘Ways of Wellness’ (WOW) workshops and will run on Thursday lunchtimes at 12.00 – 12.50 in the Student Life Seminar Room (Next to SSLB).


WOW workshops are aimed at helping you develop the knowledge and skills so that you feel and perform at your best, manage life’s normal ups and downs, and maximise the quality of your life and your time at university.


They will be facilitated by staff from Student Counselling and Career Services. For an overview of the workshops please register on-line for – and attend – the first of them, namely ‘Balancing and managing life whilst studying’ as this will include a preview of the entire WOW series.  You can do so – and find out more – by going to:

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Date with an agency

Posted by John Ross on February 16, 2009

Its commonplace, in today’s job market, to see stress placed on the need to be ‘creative’ in job seeking.  For many, this will include making use of recruitment consultancies and agencies.  To what extent can they help though?  Chances are you’ll know stories of people who have registered with such organisations, expected to be invited to job interviews then heard nothing.  Indeed, that may have happened to you!

Worth highlighting from the outset, is that the agents’ clients are employers rather than those who are looking for work.  It is the employers – not the job seekers who pay the agency.  Primarily, agencies will ‘screen’ job applicants to assist the employer to avoid having to handle perhaps hundreds of telephone calls; emails and letters from job seekers themselves.

As a result, job search through agencies takes work in itself.

First and foremost in this is the need for job seekers to have a pretty clear idea of where they want to go and of the type(s) of work that they’re looking for.  In other words, it’s vital to avoid a ‘scattergun’ approach.  By this I mean sending out high numbers of ‘speculative’ applications to potential employers; registering with as many agencies as you can find and being vague about what you want; what you can offer and why you’re approaching the organisation concerned.  After all, agencies will assume that you’re pretty clear about what you’re looking for and meeting this ‘test’ helps the agency to refer you to clients most likely to be interested in your particular mix of skills; qualifications and possibly experience.

As with any job application, in approaches to agencies you’ll need to clarify your relevant skills in the covering letter and in your CV.  Remember always that they are your marketing tools rather than historical documents.

Many job seekers find that agencies are of most help to those seeking work for those with experience rather than a first job.  In other words, it’s worth bearing in mind that whilst you may not be suitable for today’s job you could be for tomorrow’s.

To identify agencies that might be of use to you, look at the press.  It’s common for agencies to publicise some of their opportunities there and this should give you some idea of the sort of positions they specialise in. You’ll also find a vast range listed in Yellow Pages.  Don’t overlook the fact that friends and family may be able to recommend agencies to you as well.  Most reputable agencies in New Zealand are members of:

·        The Recruitment and Consulting Services Association

When you register with an agency the onus will be on you to be proactive.  You’ll need to keep in touch with them – without badgering them – and to update them on your progress in job search.

Finally, if you are an international student it is crucial to note that no agency can guarantee you a job.  Also, that if an agency finds work for you there is no guarantee that it’s one that is suitable for a work visa if a work visa is what you need and are seeking.  As always, contact The New Zealand Immigration Service directly for advice.


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Come to NZ

Posted by John Ross on February 12, 2009

It’s an article in the New Zealand Herald that’s the topic of today’s post.  This highlights, under the heading ‘Recession gives NZ education windfall’, a rise in international students coming to the country.  Many are studying at the tertiary level and the country’s tertiary sector aims to ensure that it offers these students – as Massey University does – a warm and welcoming environment and an intellectual climate in which students are encouraged to excel.


There are a number of great sources of advice on studying in New Zealand.  These include:


·        New Zealand Educated

·        Immigration New Zealand

·        New Zealand Qualifications Authority

·        The Ministry of Education


Here at Massey University we have over 4,000 international students at any one time.  You can find out more about what we offer here.

Posted in Career, Choosing a course, Distance Education, Distance Learning, Massey University, New Zealand, Student, Studying, Tertiary Education, Thinking of study, University | Leave a Comment »

Are you a Massey University extramural student?

Posted by John Ross on February 11, 2009

When I started this blog – in the dim and distance past – I told you that I’d shamelessly plug my employer, Massey University, from time to time.  Shameless plug is a little strong though, I guess.  What I really mean is that I’ll showcase things that the university is doing – or planning – that emphasise it’s reputation as a great place to work and study.

Ask New Zealanders what’s distinctive about Massey and many will say our extramural (i.e. distance) students.  I’d agree but would argue that we’re also distinguished by the support services that we offer students (well I would, wouldn’t I – I’m one of these services!)  As an example, take a look at the next scheduled round of Extramural Regional Seminars.  These are offered by the team at Student Learning & Development Services, Massey Manawatu campus.  They are free workshops designed to help our existing extramural students to develop and maintain effective writing and study skills. Topics covered include time management, reading and note-taking, the principles of academic writing, and making the most of WebCT, as well as information on using the resources of the library.  No registration is necessary for these workshops but they are open only to existing extramural students at Massey. 

You can find out more, and access the schedule of visits, here.

Posted in Career, Distance Education, Distance Learning, Massey University, New Zealand, Student, Studying, Tertiary Education, Uncategorized, University | Leave a Comment »