Massey University CareerplaNZ

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

Archive for March, 2009

FAIRly obvious

Posted by John Ross on March 31, 2009

A very brief post today, as work away from home beckons for me.  However, I thought that this might be of interest and use to the NZ/Australian graduate job seeker:

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Sector savvy

Posted by John Ross on March 19, 2009

What gives someone the edge when they’re job seeking?  Well, a number of things but – in this post at least – I’ll be stressing the need to be sector-aware.

Potential employers will, of course, be interested in how convincingly you can write – and talk about:

  • Why you want the job – and what you know about it
  • The relevant skills; knowledge and experience that you have
  • Evidence of what you can bring to the role
  • How you can ‘hit the ground running’ and ‘add value’

However, they’ll also be interested in what you know of the sector they’re in; what you’ve done to find out about it and what you feel is its appeal to you.  I’d argue that this sector knowledge can also help you to decide what to do and where to apply – for example, are you concerned about joining a sector that may be in decline?  What are the trends in the sectors that interest you?

All in all, it’s crucial that you keep up with news and developments in sectors you’re interested in. A great way of doing so is through the use of RSS feeds from news sites such as

Then, not to be overlooked are professional organisations.  For an outline of some of these see:

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Get social – network!

Posted by John Ross on March 11, 2009

Most current job-search articles will stress the importance of being ‘creative’ when looking for work.  Rather than hoping to find ‘the job of your dreams’ advertised through the traditional channels, it’s vital to identify more obscure and/or specialist vacancy sources; build networks of contacts and apply ‘speculatively’ to some of the organisations that you’d like to work for (where they do not explicitly ask you not to, of course!) 

Within all of this, one of the most marked trends of late has been the growth of on-line social networking sites such as Facebook.  This phenomenon is detailed in a recent article ‘When job seekers invade Facebook’ in the McKinsey Quarterly.  In this article, the authors note that ‘the increasing popularity of on-line social networking is changing not only the way people manage their careers but social networking itself’.  Gone are the days – if they ever existed – when such sites were simply quick ways of discovering what friends were up to, and letting them know of your plans and activities.  Now, they are increasingly used by organisations when looking to ‘headhunt’ potential recruits – or indeed to search for details of people who’ve applied to work for them, and – in some instances to ‘monitor’ existing staff! 

In addition, there are groups for people working in the same organisation and – for some job seekers – social networking sites are a way of finding and approaching potential contacts for their networks.  If you’re thinking of joining the latter, a word of caution!  As with all of your networking endeavours, not everyone will welcome your approach.  Think carefully about who you’re contacting and why?  They’ll be more likely to be willing to help those who show an interest in them – what makes them good at their job; the skills, knowledge and experience that they have etc.  Also, people who are clear about what they want; know something about the role they’re exploring and who can talk convincingly about their own relevant skills etc.  I’d avoid like the plague asking for a job straight-up.  Instead, seek information in the first instance.  More on this later though…

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Balancing act

Posted by John Ross on March 6, 2009

Recently, I used a post in this blog to publicise a series of ‘Ways of Wellness’ workshops that colleagues in Massey University’s Student Counselling Service are facilitating this year on our Manawatu campus.  Well, the first of these took place yesterday and addressed the topic ‘Balancing and Managing Life whilst studying’.

 

I thought that I’d use today’s post to outline the issues discussed in this session.

 

To begin, we looked at some of the reasons why participants had decided to study at the tertiary level, and at what they hoped to gain by doing so.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, responses included to achieve a university education; qualification and – within this – good grades.  In addition, answers included the development of self-confidence; a pool of great friends and a good social life; status and the enhancement of chances to earn good money and to get a great job.

 

Laudable goals but what did students think barriers might be?  Here, responses included the difficulty of managing study stress and financial concerns.  Furthermore, they included a lack of confidence and a concern that the choice of papers and programme might be wrong for the student.  Then, the fact that self-directed learning is hard and that the individual may be trying to balance study with a social and family life; other responsibilities and with work. 

 

As mechanisms for overcoming barriers such as these, the following suggestions were made:    

 

n      Keeping a perspective (and being keenly aware of where your thoughts take you)

n      Accepting there will be challenges

n      Build up informal and formal network structures of people within and outside of the

                university who are supportive of your choice to study

n      Be flexible

n      Dealing with ambiguity/uncertainty

n      Not giving up

n      Self-efficacy

n      Ask for help, and be aware of where appropriate help might come from – do so early too!

n      Staying passionate

n      Keeping focus

n      Getting over set-backs

n      Willingness to surmount obstacles

n      Courage

 

It was emphasised that – ultimately – students have a responsibility

 

n      For themselves

n      For their study

n      For what is created in their life

n      For the outcome

n      For being and staying in control

n      For their choices and consequences of these

n      For understanding the academic culture; deadlines; the need to be selective in the material read etc.

 

You can find out more about further ‘Ways of Wellness’ workshops here, and access a range of counselling resources here. 

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Grab that TV remote

Posted by John Ross on March 4, 2009

It could be worth marking this date in your diary…

TV2 launches it’s new season of ‘Just the Job’ on Saturday 7th March.  Screening at 9.30 am, each episode is designed to offer an insight into a range of possible career paths.  Aimed at the high school student audience in particular, each episode sees students try out different future career possibilities and some of the pros and cons of each job are outlined Career Services’ career consultant.

Career Services Rapuara staff also offer tips in each episode and those from season one can be accessed here.

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