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How to Keep Up with Career Opportunities

By Galia Barhava-Monteith

“Something I’d love to see are some recommendations on the best ways for professional women who are looking to move on from their current role to find great new roles. Obviously, word of mouth / your own contacts are often the best way, but what if you really just want to see what’s out there?”

At Professionelle, we thought the best approach to this question was to create a ‘keeping up with opportunities’ methodology. It’s designed for when you’re not in a desperate hurry to find your next great role. We believe that’s the best time to start looking.

Word of mouth and your own contacts are a good start, but by no means the only way. There are many methodical things you can start doing that will help you keep up with opportunities and find your next best role.

We suggest 3 key approaches.

Leverage and Extend all Networks Available to You

If you’re a professional working woman in New Zealand, chances are you’ll have many networks you can tap into. The trick is recognising them and using them in time and energy efficient way. So, ask yourself:

  • Do I keep in contact with clients I enjoyed working with?
  • Do I keep in contact with professional service providers I enjoyed working with?
  • Do I keep in contact with old colleagues who’ve moved on?
  • Have I participated in the alumni networking opportunities organised by my university?
  • Do I attend or keep in contact with my profession’s associations? Examples include HR
    Institute of New Zealand, Corporate Lawyers Association…and the list goes on.
  • Am I leveraging past networks, associations, workplace alumni functions I have access
    to? Think about your high school reunions, previous workplace alumni and so on.

Once you’ve been through this exercise, the chances are you’ll come up with at least ten names of individuals and associations that you can aim to become more actively engaged with.

You could then prioritise them in terms of how likely each is to help you find a great job. I personally don’t believe in doing that, as I’ve found exciting opportunities can come from the most unexpected places. My approach has always been to network with people I enjoy meeting and to attend interesting events and talks. But, of course, it’s your call.

If you’re really serious about finding out what different opportunities are out there, make it a point to attend one networking opportunity at least fortnightly. A network opportunity can be a two day conference with your profession’s association or a quick coffee with a former colleague. In both cases, make sure you ask about trends in the industry/organisation and the opportunities that exist ‘out there’. I believe in being up-front and saying that at the moment you’re happy where you are, but you’d like to keep tabs on opportunities and will consider moving on for the right one.

Finally, there are more and more new networking opportunities for professional women, so try new networking events every now and again, even ones you might not normally think of attending. It’s always good to extend your networks; you never know where great opportunities may come from.

Use Key Online Job Search Sites Smartly

We believe that a web strategy must form a part of your methodology for keeping up with opportunities. The question of course is which to choose and how to use them without wasting too much time? For the first edition of this article, I looked at two in detail, but one has since disappeared. This is an ever changing landscape!

For example, Seek (www.seek.co.nz) is a popular job search site with employers and recruiters. It has extensive search facilities and it allows you to search for a specific job in a specific location.
The site also has lots of additional career resources such as guides to writing a successful CV, salary negotiation and job interview tips.  The precise offer varies from time to time.

Currently, in 2017, the site offers the option to create a profile that will, discreetly, bring opportunities to you. This can be ideal when you need to keep your job hunting under wraps. And for all us very busy women, it’s relatively non-time consuming and easy to use.

Talk to the Right Recruitment Agencies

If you’re getting to the point where you feel you need professional and personal input into your future career prospects, it’s time to talk to one or more recruitment agencies.

Many people make the assumption that you approach recruitment agencies only when you’re applying for a job, but most recruitment agencies will meet with you and talk you through the opportunities that exist in your market even if you’re not applying to them for a particular role. Most also keep a database of potential candidates and will give you a call if a good role is available. Not all roles that recruitment agencies fill actually get advertised.

However, recruitment agencies tend to ‘specialise’ in particular fields of employment such as IT, or fast moving consumer goods. The question is: which ones should you contact?  A quick three step research effort on your behalf will save you time in the long term.

  1. Monitor the daily newspapers for agencies that advertise the kind of roles or industries you’re interested in.
  2. Monitor which agencies advertise the kind of role you’re interested in on the main
    internet job sites.
  3. Ask your networks which recruitment agencies they recommend; word of mouth is
    often the best indication of quality.

Once you’ve got a list of about three to five agencies, carefully study their websites and see which one strikes you as the most professional and up-to-date.

Before you approach the recruiters, find out which consultants are the most appropriate to your field of work or industry of interest. Some advertisements in the paper will have the name of the consultant who’s handling them. Good recruitment websites should also list their consultants’ names and areas of specialty.

We recommend that you approach a specific consultant. The best start is to call them and introduce yourself. You might want to say you’ve identified him or her as a specialist in the area of interest to you. Ask if you can meet to have a chat about opportunities in the market place. Of course, don’t forget to stress the need for confidentiality if you’re quite happy where you are and just want to see what’s ‘out there’.

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If you would like to find out more about Professionelle and how we might benefit you or your organisation, please contact our Director, Jayne Chater on info@professionelle.co.nz or 021 779 967.