5 areas to focus on if you are new to the New Zealand IT Industry
Moving to New Zealand
It’s not always easy finding a new job, let alone settling in to a new country and trying to find that elusive new position at the same time. In the current world we live in, moving away from your place of birth and permanently settling in a new country is, for a large number of us, a reality. It was for me back in 2004 when, with my soon to be Kiwi wife, I settled in New Zealand with a few Cisco certifications and a 5 year old IT career working for a UK IT service provider. Since that time I have learnt a few lessons and gained numerous insights about the IT/Technology industry in New Zealand. I have also been a hiring manager for some time and have seen my fair share of CVs/resumes. I would like to pass on to those of you who are either; new to the New Zealand IT industry or thinking of moving to New Zealand some of those insights/lessons so that you too can begin to enjoy this fast paced industry that truly punches well above its weight on a global scale. So for those who are not fortunate enough to have a job already before arriving in New Zealand, or who are straight out of University, here are my 5 areas to focus on when trying to land your first IT job:
Before you go to a new restaurant or holiday destination you conduct extensive research on sites such as TripAdvisor or Metro Eats to see where the best place will be based on recommendations and feedback. The same should apply for any job you want to find or company in which you want to work. Using sites such as www.glassdoor.com that has reviews on companies as well as job listing, or other social media sites such as twitter, LinkedIn or general Google search can be helpful. If you want some New Zealand specific information on the IT industry I recommend you refer to sites such as http://www.tin100.com/ or http://www.cio.co.nz. These sites are detailed in terms of larger organisations within New Zealand and what projects they are conducting in the IT/Technology space as well as information on their current IT set up and IT leader. Such information will be invaluable when interviewing with these organisations.
There are also a number of IT websites dedicated to IT/technology within New Zealand such as CIO.co.nz and Computerworld. Both provide valuable information on IT news, whitepapers, events, as well as all things “Digital”. You can also subscribe to these sites so you never miss the latest news. There is another site that lists the fastest growing companies in New Zealand as part of the Deloitte Fast 50, some of which are technology related but it is worth checking out.
There is only really 2 main job boards in New Zealand: www.Seek.co.nz and www.trademe.co.nz/jobs, that said Linkedin is growing in popularity in New Zealand, you should then sign up to receive job alerts in your areas of interest for these job boards. Additionally seek and trademe give you an insight tin to who is currently hiring. That said I have found www.workhere.co.nz/ to be useful as it gives some very good information on working in New Zealand – well worth checking out if you are thinking of moving to New Zealand. The site also has links to external Government sites such as http://skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz/ as well as a highly informative list of FAQs. New Zealand is regionally diverse, with Auckland having the bulk of the international/National IT/technology sector companies/roles (e.g. banks, media, software, airlines, dairy, Local Government) and Wellington concentrating on Government IT roles with other notable New Zealand companies such as TradeMe and Xero.
2. Networking (a.k.a the Hustle)
The biggest realisation I had early on was that I had to get to know more people in the IT/technology industry. When you are new to a particular industry you need to know what is happening and the IT Industry in New Zealand is no exception. The industry in New Zealand feels very small where most people know each other. Another good networking opportunity is to get to know the recruitment companies, especially the ones that specialise in IT such as Potentia, RecruitIT, Comspek, Halo or Davidson. That said there are many more generalist recruitment agencies in New Zealand such as Robert Walters, Randstad and Global Attract. All of these recruitment agencies provide valuable information around what is going on in the IT industry and who is hiring. There often events organised such as the larger conferences (Microsoft Ignite or AWS Summit) which provide excellent networking opportunities. Some smaller events are also great to go along to such as AFQY (you can find this group on LinkedIn), or you can find other events to attend through http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/. For those graduating from Universities with IT related degrees looking for work in New Zealand, try using organisations such as http://www.summeroftech.co.nz/ who can link you up with potential employers through intern programmes, which will give you vital work experience.
Get your LinkedIn profile up to date, with all your certifications and technical skills listed. Publishing posts through LinkedIn will also help you stand out. Recruiters and HR professionals are increasingly using social media to look for potential candidates for new positions they wish to fill, so it is vital that your profile has the correct phrases/words for the roles you are interested in. LinkedIn can also be a networking tool as well as a place where you can communicate directly with people in your network and follow those companies you may wish to work for. Remember anything on social media is out there for potential employers to search for, so make sure it is professional and any posts/tweets are ideally related to IT/Technology or give a positive side to who you are. Even here in New Zealand there may be a large number of people going for one role so you need to positively stand out from the crowd. Being active on social media can be a good way of showing that you have a little bit extra to offer a potential employer.
As with your social presence, ensure you have an updated CV/resume. If you are going for a technical role ensure all technical skills/experiences are highly visible, ideally on the first page. Your CV should start with a bang, setting out what you can offer an organisation. It should then detail all current and previous positions, including responsibilities in each as well any achievements (with actual figures such as budget size or sales targets reached), to back up the “bang”.
5. Personal Branding
Now, more than ever, your personal brand (don’t understand what Personal Branding is check out another one of my posts) is critical to how you view yourself and how others see you. In the digital era of where a plethora of on-line media platforms exists, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, forums, blogs, smart phones and so on it is critical you try to manage/craft your on-line presence to ensure that it fits with your personal brand and how you wish to be seen by the world, your friends, colleagues or even potential employers. According to Thomas Smale in his article, 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand he states that “Your personal brand is how you appear to the world” and Seth Godin in his article, Personal branding: The good, the bad and the undeniable states that, “A personal brand is rapidly becoming an essential ingredient to a successful 21st Century career”.
In many cases, particularly for Millennials where they will already have some sort of personal branding out in the world as they would have been using Facebook or YouTube since their early teens. At the time of using, they will not have thought about the future impact of their current on-line presence and how it can be searched for or viewed by employers/partners. So unless you had a personal branding plan at an early age, it is not really about creating but more crafting or managing that brand because in most cases, you already exist on-line. Having a great personal brand will help you when networking and building up those relationships here in New Zealand, as you will find out, it really is a case of who you know that can help you get that job you are after.
Go out there and hustle
Hopefully the above 5 areas will help you focus on some particular areas to assist you in finding your first IT role in New Zealand. Furthermore, there are a few roles that are currently hot right now; anyone with demonstrable experience in Hybrid Cloud (certifications even better), Data Analytics (Data Scientists, Data Engineers) and Dev Ops as well as any Software Developers (.net or Java) are in high demand. Of course “Going Digital” is front of mind for most progressive New Zealand organisations, so any experience with AI, machine learning, data analytics, social media or cloud will be highly sought after.
If there are any other tips you have to help others find a suitable job in New Zealand please leave a comment below…………
Also, please check out the presentation I gave to a group of IT professionals who had recently migrated to New Zealand: click here