Job hunting tips for graduates

How to find work when you graduate is something you need to think about when you start your course.

A young woman wearing a graduation cap and gown looks to the sky as wind blows her hair

A bit of preparation can make your future dreams real

To find work when you graduate, it's important you show employers you have experience using the skills you've learnt in your course, and that your employability skills are a good fit for their organisation.

There are activities you can take part in throughout your time studying that will boost these skills and improve your job hunting chances.

Preparing for job hunting while studying

There are a number of ways you can prepare for your future job while studying. 

Sign up with your course provider's career hub

When you first start your course, make sure you check out the career hub on your university or technical institute's website. As well as tips on job hunting, you'll find information on career expos, networking events and graduate jobs. Some hubs also allow your details to be viewed by employers looking to hire staff, such as Auckland University's MyCDES website, where you can save your CV and plan career development activities.

This is also a good time to talk to your course provider's career experts if you're not sure what your career prospects are when you graduate.

Part-time work

Find part-time work that gives you experience or transferable skills related to the career you're studying towards. To get started, sign up to your course provider's job seeking site, job vacancy websites or try Student Job Search.

Internships

Internships are a great way for you to get paid or unpaid work experience, and make connections with employers. During an internship you may be expected to do usual business tasks, or you might be taken on to conduct research or solve a problem for the business. Internships can be during semester time or the summer break.

An example is the Callaghan Innovation Research and Development Experience Grants. These grants fund students to undertake research and development activities in science, technology, engineering, design or business over the summer break.

You can find internships:

  • on your course provider's career hub or internship website
  • on an internship or recruitment website. 

Networking events

Make employers aware of you before you leave university by attending career events. These can be:

  • career expos and job fairs
  • competitions where you design a new product or solve a problem for an industry such as WorldSkills New Zealand
  • employer showcases where employers talk about career paths in their industry
  • networking events where you can meet future employers.

Unpaid work and activities

During your course there will be activities you can take part in such as mentoring new students, volunteering for student organisations like the union, or playing in sports teams.

Doing activities outside your course and work shows employers you can multi-task and work well with other people, which will give you an advantage when applying for jobs.

Getting ready to graduate

Start your job hunting months before you graduate to beat the competition for graduate roles:

  • make a CV using our CV Builder tool
  • check out graduate CV templates on your course provider's career hub
  • go to job seeking workshops and graduate recruitment events run by your course provider
  • apply for graduate programmes or internships
  • sign up with recruitment agencies and job vacancy websites
  • get job vacancy alerts sent to your email
  • create a LinkedIn profile.

Graduate programmes

Every year organisations, businesses and government departments recruit groups of graduates for internships or on-the-job training. After the training suitable graduates may get permanent jobs.

Programmes are usually advertised at the start of each year, and intakes may happen from October until March. Competition is strong, so apply early.

Updated 19 Oct 2017