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If you think there are no jobs in Dunedin, then chances are your job searching skills are out of date. True, there may not be a  lot of jobs visible if you use traditional avenues for job searches, but there is actually plenty of work to be found: the trick lies in knowing where, and how, to look.

The art of the Social Job Search

The Social Job Search is fast becoming the most effective way of finding work, both here in Dunedin and other places too. It requires quite a different approach to traditional job hunting.

The Hidden Job Market

As mentioned in an earlier blog article; Finding a Job in the Invisible Job Market, Dunedin has a hidden job market. This does not mean that the best jobs are kept secret. It means that many businesses here advertise jobs or ask for expressions of interest on their web page, or through their business networks rather than broadcasting them publicly to a wide audience.

If you want to hear about these opportunities then you must master the art of social job searching.

Tip 1: Knowing the lay of the land

There are close to 11,000 businesses in Dunedin, which accounts for over 40% of the Otago region. There is a strong tertiary education presence within the city, and it is a major service centre for the Otago region of the South Island. But alongside the larger companies and industry giants there are a large contingent of SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises).

The Start-up: Innovative businesses and entrepreneurs

Dunedin is a breeding ground for new businesses, knowledge, innovation and technology.

Part of this is because many graduates from University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic choose to stay and work in Dunedin, because of the lifestyle it offers.

There are also a growing number of senior entrepreneurs – people who have made the leap from employment to enterprise in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s (or even older), who often believe strongly in person to person referrals and like to have timely conversations rather than conduct interviews.

Tip 2: Thinking outside the box

Not surprisingly, the city is also home to many entrepreneurs who have developed businesses that use technological expertise to create innovative solutions.  This also means they use creative and innovative ways to recruit.

An example is one local web design business who placed a recruiting notice for developers in the source code of their website, specifically because they believe a good developer will always check out the page source when browsing a potential employer’s website.

The reverse of this is placing yourself or your profile somewhere that tells a potential recruiter or influencer at a company that you are already on your way to being part of their culture. This could mean simply volunteering at a charitable event that they sponsor.

Tip 3: Circulate and make connections

Many of the smaller businesses in Dunedin are good at cross-pollinating with each other, and they do this a lot more than what larger, more traditional companies do. Whilst the bigger companies will belong to business and community groups like Rotary, The Chamber of Commerce and their own industry organisations, the SMEs have taken this even further.

They share office spaces, attend workshops, training and networking events, and meeting like-minded people, sharing  knowledge and ideas and making introductions from their own growing circles of contacts.

Getting yourself into the mix can put you in regular contact with people who are well versed in asking for and offering leads to fill a need. With perseverance in making a good impression, your name could be the one put forward next time someone is asked if they know anyone suitable for a role you would love.

Tip 4: Make your own luck

Finding opportunities can often come down to luck. But is this something you can control?

If luck in finding out about a great role is mainly about being in the right place at the right time, then yes: logically, to increase your luck, you really only need to be in the right places more often.

Putting your energy and focus on attending events, open days and other gatherings where you can start to get known for taking an interest or lending a hand, or just talking to people wherever you go will increase your exposure to random opportunities when they surface in a conversation.

Sue Graham is a professional career counsellor and career advice specialist based in Dunedin, Otago. If you would like to know more about the Social Job Search or need some help with finding your next role, Contact Sue here

More articles on creating luck as a job seeker strategy:

Intentional Serendipity – how to make your own luck as a job seeker

The positive mindset of the lucky – attracting opportunity and good fortune