By Ricky Matthew
AUCKLAND – In the rapidly changing realm of career progress, the importance of networking has reached unprecedented heights. For job seekers entering the employment market for the first time and highly qualified employees who are keen to steer their career path towards jobs that exactly match their skills – the magic bullet may well be the secret art of networking.
According to an employment strategist and course leader of the Advanced Career Planning Workshop, www.trabaho.nz, Mel Fernandez, “networking involves engaging with individuals during career workshops, community events, or business meetings with the purpose of sharing information and cultivating both professional and social connections.
“Even volunteer work or freelancing can be a stepping stone to that dream job,” he added. “Using this strategy will help you tap the hidden job market – finding jobs that are not advertised.”
For immigrants and migrants, this practice holds even greater value, serving as a bridge between their aspirations and opportunities in their new homeland. The Migrant Career Support Trust (MCST), founded by Garry Gupta in 2019, has been championing career planning through its career workshops, assisting hundreds of migrants in their pursuit of professional growth.”We conduct group workshops that focus on both hard skills and soft skills for job hunting. These workshops cover everything from crafting impressive CVs, mastering interview techniques, to the often-overlooked art of networking, said Gupta.”
“We conduct group workshops that focus on both hard skills and soft skills for job hunting. These workshops cover everything from crafting impressive CVs, mastering interview techniques, to the often-overlooked art of networking.”
Monika Tylova, a trainer/project manager, who talked about networking at a MCST ‘Job Seekers Boot Camp’ recently, highlighted the role networking played in her own journey. “Networking is the number one thing for migrants to do in order to first of all integrate into the local community and find local people who can help them secure jobs,” Tylova asserted.
“Talk to people in your community, finding people who have similar jobs to yours, talk to HR at events, if you have an IT background find out what IT people do in New Zealand and what the NZ job market is looking for and some adapt to make yourself employable in New Zealand.
“It’s not just about finding employment but also about understanding the culture and the people you’ll be working with. This understanding enhances your chances of finding the right job.”
Tylova’s personal experience attests to the effectiveness of networking. “I found my first job through networking activity,” she shared. “It’s how I discovered the opportunities available and connected with professionals who shared insights on adapting my skills to the local market.”
Tylova used to work as a police office in Europe for over 10 years. Over here she is employed as a project manager in a training organization.
In an era where personal connections and understanding local dynamics are vital for career progression, initiatives like MCST shine as beacons of empowerment.
Through the resounding success stories of migrants who have transcended professional barriers using effective networking, the narrative is clear: networking isn’t just an option; it’s an indispensable tool for carving out a prosperous career path in a new land.
Garry Gupta, the driving force behind MCST, shared insights into the journey of his organization. “We started in 2019 and we have completed four years this June,” said Gupta.
The trust helps migrants succeed in mainstream careers, helps mothers go back into the work stream, and helps well qualified professionals find work that match their skills. “There is no agency that helps with career path and bridges this gap,” noted Gupta.
Since its inception, MCST has made a substantial impact. Gupta proudly stated that “over the past 3-4 years, we have supported around 500-600 people through our workshops. We’ve seen transformational changes in individuals’ lives, as they gain the skills and confidence needed to excel in the job market.”
However, MCST doesn’t stop at group workshops alone; the organisation also caters to those who prefer one-on-one support, recognizing that group dynamics might not suit everyone. Gupta explained, “We also offer a 1-to-1 program called the Career Clinic, where migrants can work with certified career counsellors to address their individual concerns. This is particularly important for individuals who may be hesitant to open up in a group setting.”