Workshop for Skilled Employment—was an immense success, with 30+ members in attendance. The workshop was held on Saturday morning, the 28th of September, at the Te Manawa Museum in downtown Palmerston North. The guest speakers were Tina Rush (Branch Manager, EQUIP Recruitment), Joy Chen (Chairperson, SIGIE), Alex Chisholm (Structural Engineer, GHD), Jim McKenna (Operations Manager, Isles Construction), and Shabbir Shah (Consultant Instrument Engineer). A special treat for those in attendance was listening to the insightful speech rendered by the guest of honor, Mayor Grant Smith.
Tina’s presentation was the first, which covered the basics of what to include in a CV and cover letter. For instance, the CV should not exceed four pages in length, list both hard and soft skills, and include two to three referees. Guests learned that many employers use ATS Software, which sifts through resumes and only pushes the relevant resumes through to a live person for review. It is important to make the CV both software and human-friendly. The cover letter should not exceed one page and should be signed ‘Yours Faithfully’ or ‘Yours Sincerely’.
The second presenter in the lineup was Joy, who shared information on settling in New Zealand. She explained the Settlement Curve with a visual graph showing the typical flow of emotions starting from the first arrival in New Zealand until the full settlement is reached. Joy also spoke about cultural differences and how to overcome them. She used the acronym SOFT: Stop judging, Observe differences and learn, Find commonalities, and Trust and respect others. She emphasized that it is important to make friends because you never know who is going to present you with an opportunity. Her tips for employment are be brave, persistent, and respectful, and keep networking, learning, and sharing.
The third presenter was Alex, who shared his insight on the interview process. He shared that the best way to stand out to an employer is to physically walk in the office and say hello. This allows the potential employer to put a face with a name, giving you the advantage over a pile of submitted resumes. It is also helpful to include samples of prior work (if allowed by the previous employer) to support claims made on your CV. Also, only apply to positions that pertain to you. It is not recommended to apply to every available position as a method to secure a seat.
Jim, the fourth presenter, concurred with much of the information that was presented by Alex and added a few tidbits. He stated that you never get a second chance at a first impression, emphasizing the importance of making a good first impression. He also stated that getting a job is not always about what you know, but about who you know—connections are everything. His closing statement was that while setbacks do happen, perseverance is the key.
Jim, the fourth presenter, concurred with much of the information that was presented by Alex and added a few tidbits. He stated that you never get a second chance at a first impression, emphasizing the importance of making a good first impression. He also stated that getting a job is not always about what you know, but about who you know—connections are everything. His
closing statement was that while setbacks do happen, perseverance is the key.
Shabbir Shah was the final presenter. He comically shared his personal experiences with email job rejections (we all get them—so we laughed with him) and his experience with rejection even after rounds of successful interviews. He stressed that it is important to find positive takeaways from negative experiences. In order to have a successful job hunt, you need to be completely focused and determined.
Once the presentations concluded, Mayor Grant Smith took the floor and provided the members with valuable words of wisdom. Perseverance and ambition are of utmost importance. In order to be successful, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Always do your due diligence. If you’re nervous—slow down. And lastly, make business cards for yourself and sell yourself to whoever you meet.
The second part of the workshop included group breakout sessions to discuss the challenges that guests have personally faced since their arrival in New Zealand. Those challenges were summed up and the whole group together discussed. After the discussion, solutions were considered to help guests see how they can overcome each of the challenges.
The last activity of the workshop included mock interviews. Guests split into small groups and the presenters helped guests practice their interviewing skills through roleplay. It was a great opportunity for those who have either never been interviewed before or needed to brush up on what to expect during the interview process. Ari, President of NSM, concluded the workshop with a summary of the day’s main takeaways and guests thanked her and her wonderful team for organizing such a great event.