Take a voyage of discovery to find a great career

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Getting involved in a range of projects can land you an ace job like Amanda Wood, whose role as head of product at Trade Me motors keeps her on her toes.

Say yes to as much as possible and doors will open - video


Hi guys today we're here at the Auckland office of Trade Me and we're going to find about the world of work with Amanda Wood.

I help the team figure out what we should build so that we can make our buyers and sellers happy in what they're doing.

When you were thinking about your choice of career in the future what else did you consider apart from qualifications and money?

So my three brothers are doctors, and I always thought I was going to be a lawyer.

I started doing a joint law and arts degree. I was also working part time at a web agency and I started to realise I was more interested in that.

I actually changed my degree to an arts degree and finished that while I was working at the agency and then got a job there and just really progressed through work experience.

What is your three tips for those who are looking for a job or haven't quite decided what career path they want to go down?

I think be curious and try and explore different things you might be interested in.

Just keep working at it, look for those opportunities, say yes to as much as possible and doors will open from there.


Take a voyage of discovery to find a great career

Amanda Wood’s motto of saying YES to as much as possible then finding doors open, has certainly rung true for her.

“I’ve had a go at quite a lot of projects, like starting an online store in the early 2000s, writing and directing a set of one-act plays, and project managing a multimedia gallery at the Auckland Museum.”

It’s this diverse experience that contributed to Amanda getting her current role as head of product at Trade Me Motors.

Project management is integral to the role as she works with Trade Me’s IT team developing apps, calculators and other online tools to help customers with their motor purchase and sale decisions.

Keeping customers happy requires excellent people skills

“It’s about helping the team figure out what they should build so we can keep our buyers and sellers happy. What we create must enable our customers to achieve their goals of conveniently selling or buying vehicles – and at a great price!

“There’s often a healthy tension between my role and that of the IT team,” she says, coming to terms with the reality of what can be done with the available resources versus what she’d like to achieve for customers.

“But we work it through and come to compromises, which always involves prioritising our customers’ most urgent requirements.”

Get work experience to help you discover jobs you never knew about

Though Amanda started out doing a joint law and arts degree with the aim of becoming a lawyer, she says it was putting her hand up for work experience at a web agency that got her thinking outside law.

“I really didn’t have that much of an idea outside traditional careers, but while working at a web agency I started to realise I was getting more interested in that and changed my degree to an arts degree, and my career progressed from there.”

Find career possibilities with the help of good mentors

On reflection, Amanda thinks that getting her present position was really the result of ‘a voyage of discovery’. There is value, she says, in being proactive and exploring possibilities by asking people who do jobs you’re interested in about how they got there.

“Be curious and try and explore different things that you might be interested in. Look for those opportunities.”

And find good mentors as they can often help you reach your goals.

“The best mentors I've had have pushed me out of my comfort zone – they've been honest and upfront, helped me grow, and encouraged me to really go after what I want.”

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Updated 23 Jan 2019