QOne of our registered users sent us
the following query for our Ask the Expert "Your Career"
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?
AWe thought the best approach to
answer this question was to create a 'keeping up with
opportunities' methodology. It's designed for those times 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 indeed a good start, but
by no means the only way. There are many things you can start doing
methodically which will help you keep up with opportunities and
find your next best role.
We'd suggest three key approaches:
- Leverage and extend
all networks available to you.
- Be smart in your use of key online job
- Identify and talk to the right
We believe you should always tap into all your relevant and
appropriate networks even if you're not actively looking. You may
find a nugget of information just by keeping in touch. The internet
option is also a great one as it enables you to keep constant tabs
on what's out there from the privacy of your own home.
Using agencies is appropriate once you've made up your mind to
move on. If you're not quite there yet, you might want to leave it
for a while. Recruitment agencies can be trusted to keep things
confidential, but New Zealand is a very small place. If
you're not ready for your employer to find out, even by accident,
you might want to wait.
1. 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 a way that is time and energy
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, 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 exist, 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
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.
To those of you who find networking difficult, and most people
do to some extent, we've put together some quick tips for
networking in the take-away box at the end.
2. Be smart in your use of key online job search sites
As a couple of women who really value the power of the internet,
Sarah and I simply can't look past the options that the internet
provides career seekers. We believe that a web strategy must form a
part of your methodology for keeping up with opportunities. The
question of course is which ones to use and how to use them without
wasting too much time?
There are quite a few online job search sites. After some
surfing, I decided to take a detailed look at two of them for our
readers' benefit. The way I narrowed them down was simply to ask
myself, 'If I were looking for a job now, which sites would I
The two sites I chose were:
This search site requires little introduction. I compared it to
others like search4jobs
and found it to be far superior in terms of the volume of jobs
advertised. It seems popular both directly with employers and
indirectly with 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 a quick CV template,
a guide to writing a successful CV, salary negotiation and job
interview tips. It also has a free
psychometric test that looks at your preferences for work and
working environment and compares them with your capabilities.
The CV example seemed to be quite straightforward and easy to
use, so that's a big plus. The psychometric test (which we both
did) was pretty generic. If you're very uncertain about where
you're headed it might be useful to take it just in terms of
getting your head around the many careers available to you out
there. But if you're quite clear on the direction you're heading
in, then I wouldn't bother.
Volume. Lots and lots of jobs on the site. Spending some time at
Seek is helpful just to get a feel for what jobs there are in your
industry/profession of choice. From my limited digging, there
seemed to be everything from partnership opportunities in inner
Auckland law firms to water treatment technician trainees in
The free career resources are mostly helpful and are well worth
having a look at if you've never done this before.
Volume, again! It is extremely wide in terms of the jobs
advertised, and even when I tried to pinpoint it to strategic HR
jobs in inner Auckland it still kept coming up with jobs like
training and accreditation specialist.
I also found the site a bit confusing in terms of navigation. I
ended up getting 'lost' in it a couple of times.
Having said all that, I don't think you can look past Seek if
you're series about keeping up with opportunities. But you will
need to put plenty of time aside to do it!
Now, this one's different. Basically, it's a site for people who
aren't looking but still want to keep abreast of opportunities.
There are no jobs advertised on the site. You can give them as much
or as little information about your preferences for a job and your
idea of an ideal employer as you wish. You're not required to give
your name, just a contact cell phone number or an e-mail.
The way it works is that employers can search anonymous profiles
and if they short list you, quietagent contacts you on the
employer's behalf to see if you're interested. It is global so
employers from all over the world can search your anonymous
It's exciting and perfect for those of you who want to find out
about opportunities without actually looking. It's extremely
confidential and from what I saw there's virtually no chance of
your employer ever finding out. You're in control of the process
and can block certain employers from ever contacting you. And for
all us very busy women, it's relatively non-time consuming and easy
They tell you up front that it might take many months before you
get contacted. With no job listings it's hard to tell if your area
is even one they're looking for. So if you're more in a hurry, it
might be a bit frustrating.
I believe that these two sites really complement each other.
You'll be best served by registering with both to ensure you're
keeping up with employment opportunities through the internet.
3. Identify and 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. It's good to know
that 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 local authorities, IT, or fast moving
consumer goods. So the question is which ones should you
A quick four step research effort on your behalf will save you
time in the long term:
- Monitor which agencies advertise the kind of roles or
industries you're interested in, in the daily newspapers.
- Monitor which agencies advertise the kind of role you're
interested in on the main internet job sites.
- 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 website 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
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 wanting to see what's 'out there'.
Your Feedback and Advice
That's our take on things. We've tried to be thorough and cover
the key options. But we know you'll have your own stories to tell,
including the ways you've found to be the most effective in finding
a great role. They may be completely different to what we've
Please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
with your story and advice, and perhaps we can turn advice on
finding a great role into a constant on Professionelle with regular
input from you!
© Professionelle Ltd 2007