After five years as a construction industry project manager, 40-year-old Jeff Morgan took a look at his long-term goals and decided it was time to take the next step up the career ladder.
"I was happy where I was, but wanted to advance and there weren't opportunities with the company I was with," Morgan says.
"I wasn't motivated just by having money coming in, I wanted a bit more of a challenge and now is a great time to look for work in Auckland."
His first attempt while in a full-time job took three months. Unfortunately, the job he went on to wasn't what was expected and he found himself unemployed soon after.
Having had his CV updated by an HR professional well in advance, and being clear about the roles he wanted to apply for, he managed to land another job in just five days.
"I think the issue is getting the right job and for that you need to be true to yourself and think long and hard about what you do and if you don't enjoy in the role you're in, find the job that fits you best," he says.
He says recruitment agents can be difficult to navigate because many are using ads for jobs that don't exist or wanting to get you on their books so you don't sign on to others.
"I haven't had to look for many jobs and that took me by surprise. I ended up having six companies going hammer and tongs to sign me up," Morgan says. " You can look online all day for a job but really it's good to talk to someone face-to-face and communicate what you're after, so when you find the right recruitment company that helps you figure out what you want from a job and employer, it can be worth it."
He ended up with Hays Recruitment, who recently released a list of tips to help jobseekers secure a new role this year, which included having a strong story, consistent brand and providing proof you can add value.
Their top advice is to be honest with yourself to decide whether your skills and experience match those required for the job. And if they don't, to think about up-skilling yourself to be ready for a similar job next time it comes up.
"Part of that is to explain to your recruitment officer or partner what you hate and what you love about your job," Morgan says.
"It can be more about getting rid of the things you don't like, rather than focusing on finding something you love doing."
His new job is now 90 per cent office-bound and 10 per cent on-site, which he likes more than his previous role, which had only 20 per cent of his time spent in the office.
Hays also advises to regularly update online profiles and your CV to reflect the progression of your skills, as well as provide evidence of quantifiable achievements and results to give hiring managers the proof you can produce results.
"I went to see a professional HR person to update my CV and he helped me word and structure my CV, so it was ready to go when I needed it," Morgan says. "I made it results focused, saying 'I have done this and I have achieved that', which I would recommend doing."
Another tip from Hays is to "know your story" or your unique selling proposition, which differentiates you from the other job-seekers.
"I'm shocking at selling myself and always go off-topic in interviews, even though there are plenty of online strategies to help," Morgan says. "At the end of the day, if you have good rapport with the person interviewing you, that's the best indicator it will work well. It's good to practise mock questions, but it's like buying a house - if something tells you it's not right, it's not right."
Recruitment agents also focus on who you don't want to work with, so it's a good idea to figure that out, too.
"For me, I'd prefer not to work for the biggest company, because I feel they pay less and your job is more limited in role because there are more people," says Morgan.
Being aware of your "brand" extends to your online presence - from the blogs you write to status updates and the people and organisations you follow.
Hays, who are globally the most followed recruitment company on LinkedIn, believes hiring managers are researching candidates online more than ever, so make sure your updates, tweets and shares are aligned with your area of expertise.
And if you're having trouble finding the right role, you may want to consider temporary or contract roles, which are becoming the "new normal" in workplaces.
"If you are new to the industry or don't quite have the experience necessary to get into the role you want, it's not a bad idea to consider a contract or temporary role to boost your career," Morgan says.
I haven't had to look for many jobs and that took me by surprise. I ended up having six companies going hammer and tongs to sign me up
He lives in South Auckland and one of the biggest tips he has for job seekers is not to under-estimate commute times.
"I put it down on my priority list, but if I did it again, it would be near the top given how bad traffic is in Auckland. I know friends who choose jobs by how close they are to their ferry ride. It has to be a major consideration. "
He says he's ultimately glad he made the move, even though it wasn't easy going from a cosy position to the unknown after his new job didn't work out, but he urges jobseekers to spend time being true to themselves in deciding where they would like to end up.
"If I stayed where I was I would have been on the same wheel, running and running," Morgan says. "Thinking about my future stopped me from being so burnt out and highlighted it was the right time for change."