your path to work
ready to start work? here's what you need to know.
decide what you want to do
The work that’s right for you will depend on lots of things, like what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what you want to do. When you’re choosing a career, you might think about:
- The environment. Do you want to be outside, or in a workshop or office?
- The kind of work you like. Do you prefer working with your hands, or at a computer?
- The people. Do you like working alone, or in a team?
Careers New Zealand has plenty of useful advice about finding your career path. It has job profiles that explain what different jobs are like, how much they pay, and what qualifications you need to get them.
Skill matcher is a free online tool that asks what you’re good at and suggests some jobs you might like, some in areas you may not have considered.
get the right training and experience
Before you choose a career path, it’s a good idea to find out what training or qualifications you’ll need to get your first job.
Careers New Zealand's jobs database explains what training you need to do different jobs.
School isn’t the only place you can get an education. You can work towards great qualifications in the workplace, at private training establishments, or in polytechnics.
write a cv
A CV is a document that shows off what’s great about you- your skills and qualifications, and the work you’ve already done. When you apply for a job, it’s the first thing an employer will look at, so you need to make it shine!
Luckily, the School Leaver’s Toolkit has lots of advice about writing a good CV, and Careers New Zealand has a free tool to help you build one.
write a cover letter
In a cover letter, you explain to an employer why you’re the best person for a job at their organisation. Along with your CV, it’s the first impression you’ll make on an employer, and an easy way to make sure you stand out.
Careers New Zealand explains what a cover letter should include, and has some templates you can use to write one.
get ready for your interview
If an employer is thinking about giving you a job, they’ll want to meet you in person at an interview. This helps them learn more about you and decide if you’ll be a good fit for their organisation.
There are lots of things you can do to make sure your interview goes well, like:
- looking smart;
- doing some research into the job you’re applying for, and
- thinking about questions you might get asked before you go.
If you’re enrolled in youth service, your youth coach can help you get prepared, and set up a mock interview to give you some practice.
make yourself stand out with part-time work or volunteering
Working and volunteering part-time are great ways to:
- try out different jobs and see if you like them,
- learn useful skills like dealing with customers or using a till, and
- discover what’s expected of you in the workplace.
Employers love to see that you’ve worked or volunteered before, even if just for a few hours a week. It shows that you’re a mature, reliable person who wants to do well and makes things happen.
Many communities have databases that list the jobs that need volunteers. Have a look online and see if there’s a match for you!
check your social media
However you apply for a job, most employers will search for your name online- so make sure they won’t find anything you wouldn’t want them to see. Do some easy things to make sure your online presence is as impressive as you are:
- Check your privacy settings on social media. Make all your personal profiles as private as you can.
- Search for yourself online, and think about whether an employer would like what you see. Hide anything that might let you down.
- Make sure your email address uses your name, so it’s clear it belongs to you.
- Listen to your voicemail message. Check it’s polite, professional and uses your name.