Finding work when jobs are scarce

Are you finding it difficult to get a full-time job, or find holiday work between school terms? You're not alone. It’s a tough time to get work, so here are some tips to help.

Write or update your CV

Collect the information you need for your CV and start writing or updating it. Use our skills and CV advice pages for help with this.

Find out about jobs

Research jobs in your work area and others that interest you, and check the entry requirements.

Tips on looking for work when competition for jobs is high

A woman looks for jobs in a newspaper

It's a good idea to take a methodical approach to job hunting

It can take time to get work, but these tips may help you find a job faster:

  • Take job hunting seriously. It should be an active and planned campaign, not something you do casually in between surfing or seeing friends.
  • Be prepared to take on part-time work as this can lead to more work if you prove yourself in the role.
  • Consider working more than one job. For example, you could work two days a week picking apples, four nights in a bar, and one day in a bookshop.
  • Know your transferable skills – the skills that are useful in many jobs and workplaces.
  • Make sure your contact methods are appropriate for job hunting and regularly check your texts, voice messages, LinkedIn and Facebook pages.
  • Keep your CV up to date and be ready for job interviews. Spend some time practicing answering interview questions, and doing your research on a potential employer.

Approach employers directly

Many jobs are not advertised so it is wise to look beyond job ads when looking for work. This is especially important when jobs are scarce, as competition for advertised vacancies increases.

Contacting employers and finding vacancies before they're advertised will improve your chances.

Look for holiday or seasonal jobs

A fruit picker filling up a bin of apples

Over the holidays you may be able to find seasonal work such as fruit picking

Even when jobs are scarce, employers may need extra staff during busy periods. For example:

  • Retailers need more staff during the lead up to Christmas.
  • Orchards need fruit pickers in the summer.
  • Tourism and events organisations often require temporary help.

Holiday or seasonal jobs can help you with your career. Think about which ones could help you pick up the skills you need to get a job you really want. If you're a student, look for jobs that relate to your area of study.

Developing a good work record at your holiday job could lead to a permanent role.

Try these ideas for getting holiday and seasonal work experience:

  • Grocery stores, warehouses, restaurants and retail stores in the lead up to Christmas and the January sales.
  • Parks and local and regional councils that hold events during the holidays.
  • Summer festival organisers.
  • Horticultural and agricultural industries that are busy during the summer.

Try doing some volunteer work

Although you won’t be paid for it, volunteer work may lead to paid work by helping you to develop your skills, build a work history and get references.

  • Volunteer to work in industries where you’ll develop key skills.
  • Talk to your teacher or careers adviser. There may be opportunities at the business where you did work experience.
  • Volunteer to lead or help supervise holiday programmes at the local YWCA, YMCA, city council or district council.

Find out more

Careers New Zealand website

Other websites

Updated 20 Jan 2017