If I remember correctly, unemployment was at an all-time low when I came to New Zealand in 2004.
At the time, the employment section in the Bay of Plenty Times on Wednesday's and Saturday's was several pages long and there were plenty of interesting roles to apply for.
With some relevant skills and experience, it was easy enough to get an interview.
The website stats.govt.nz tells me that New Zealand's unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent that year was below the OECD average of 6.9 per cent.
New Zealand's rate was the second-lowest among 27 OECD nations, where rates ranged from 3.7 per cent in Korea to 18.8 per cent in Poland.
Remuneration wasn't great for most jobs here in Tauranga, I guess some things never change, but jobs weren't hard to find. It took me less than three months to find a job I really wanted while working in retail in the meantime.
How things have changed in eight years' time.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />
In March this year, the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 per cent, a figure also supplied by Statistics New Zealand.
HR professionals and business managers tell me that it's not unusual to have hundreds of people applying for the same position.
Then I read in the paper yesterday that New Zealand Customs is warning job seekers to be aware of a Nigerian scam targeting Kiwis applying for jobs online.
There was also a story on students who benefit from learning a foreign language because it improves global job opportunities.
Learning is always a good thing but it is true that not all courses offer job opportunities.
Just ask my friend who studied marine science at the BOP Polytechnic a few years back because he was keen to do something different. He is now driving trucks again, trying to pay back his student loan.
He hates it and gets paid just above minimum wage but the fact is that he is good at it, and at least he's employed.
A few other friends have been made redundant recently and they are now frantically looking for work. Others are looking at changing careers, but are worried about the timing.
I'm talking about highly skilled, experienced and loyal people but they are finding it incredibly hard out there.
Some of them have moved over the ditch in search for better pay and more opportunities.
With interest, I am following the series in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that covers a five-week career makeover, written by James Fuller in collaboration with Jason Stockdale, senior recruiting consultant at the Right Staff.
It is invaluable for anyone looking for work in the Bay, as it holds lots of information on who is hiring, where to look and how to present yourself in the best possible way.
On Saturday, James will cover presentation and preparation for interviews.
In five weeks' time, it also shows an analysis of three career makeover candidates.
First there is Kunal Narsey, who is looking for jobs in IT.
Then there is Karolyn Timarkos who would be happy with a good position with a small business doing graphic design, marketing, communications, management or customer service and administration.
The third jobseeker is Christine Atkinson who has earned her stripes in account management and territory management and sales.
All three of them are searching online and use social media to let the world know they are job hunting.
Karolyn has even set up the website www.iwantagoodjob.com
The jobseekers we are profiling for five weeks all say it's a challenge that most of the recruitment process is electronic.
They say it is harder to make an impression and talk to the decision-maker or to get any feedback from your CV or interviews.
I don't see how an application email is different from an application letter.
Sure you can make an impression using the digital channels as well, and what stops you from picking up the after a few weeks if you haven't had a reply?
In my experience, success is in the follow up.
By being profiled in the Bay of Plenty Times for five weeks in a row, and with the expertise of Jason Stockdale, I'm convinced all three of these motivated people will land themselves a fantastic new job soon.
Which leaves me with wishing them the very best of luck to nail it.