A 62-year-old mechanic holds the record for the number of job applications filed by one person through the Work and Income branch in Glen Eden, West Auckland.

The mechanic, too modest to be named in print, applied for 291 jobs in seven months after his 32-year career with an Auckland Toyota dealer ended last November.

"I used to go to Winz every morning, or if I had a job interview I'd go to Winz after that," the man says.

At first he made appointments to see his case manager, but that changed.

"The lady at reception said to me one day, 'Just walk in'. If they were busy with a client I used to wait and they used to know I was there - I used to get in without an appointment."

Every day, he looked through a jobs folder and staff would email off his applications for jobs that looked possible. "I used to come in and wait around - I didn't have a cellphone or a computer," he says. "They got to know me."

He kept a record of the employers and if he didn't hear anything in two days, he rang them.

And one day it paid off when a nearby workshop advertised a job. A Work and Income staffer sent in his CV and rang to say he was with her in the office. The workshop asked if he could be there in 15 minutes.

"Whoah - I was gone!" the man says. "I had to wait two days for them to make up their mind. I was told I could start on Monday."

His story shows that, even in this email era, phoning and face-to-face contact are still vital jobhunting tools.

Peter Hargraves, a Kiwi currently recruiting for the construction industry in Qatar, emailed in response to an earlier article in this series: "Relying on any one form of application is not sound, and nothing beats researching your target company to locate the relevant hiring manager and calling in to 'drop off a CV'."

"I run a team of top in-house recruiters and we check hundreds of applicants every week, and strongly support any manager who decides to interview a 'drop-in' and make a job offer," he says.

Tom O'Neil of cv.co.nz advises people never to go to a human resources person except in response to a specific advertisement.

"You need to find the person that can make the decision, so for a sales rep job contact the sales manager," he says.

"If you are a racing car engineer, the HR person is going to say, 'No job'. But the manufacturing manager will say, 'You worked in Formula One - we'd love to have you!"'

The mechanic's story also shows how to use Work and Income.

Many choose not to. A 22-year-old graphic designer says he "didn't want to go on the dole because I might not look as hard for a job if I was getting money". A 41-year-old manager said she had "dealt with them many years ago and didn't find it to be a positive experience".

But Jacqui Barratt of Salt Recruitment says: "Don't be too proud to use it. The last thing you want is to be under financial pressure."

The agency offers extra financial support for people made redundant between the election last November and the end of next year through the ReStart scheme (see menu).

Kay Brereton of the Wellington People's Centre advises people to apply for ReStart as soon as they are made redundant, before applying for the dole.

"If you apply for the benefit and ReStart at the same time, your ReStart waits until your benefit stand-down is over," she says. That's one or two weeks depending on your previous income.

"So it's better to apply for ReStart first and get it straight away."

Almost all applicants for the dole have to attend a jobseeking seminar. One former manager who attended says he has "never been so talked down to in my life".

But the agency launched a new service called Jobs+Plus in May, contracted out to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, specifically for people like that manager - in scheme manager Leah Gates' words, "the new class of unemployed, skilled people who have been in employment for 10, 20 and 30 years".

Work and Income is putting more effort into asking employers to list job vacancies with it. Yesterday it listed 1376 vacancies, compared with 1275 on nzherald.co.nz/jobs, 6635 on Trade Me Jobs and 10,193 on Seek. It also has a range of subsidies for employers to re-employ redundant workers.

Work and Income, 0800 559 009; Jobs+Plus (Auckland only), 0800 JOBSPLUS (0800 562 775).

SUBSIDY MENU
LIVING COSTS

Unemployment benefit: From $127 for single people under 20 living with parents to $317 for couples.

Top-ups: Accommodation supplement up to $225 a week depending on children, costs and region; family assistance starts at $86 for one child under 16; childcare subsidy up to $181 a week depending on hours and costs; disability allowance up to $56 depending on costs; community services card to reduce health costs.

ReStart: Up to $100 extra accommodation supplement, plus extra family assistance for 16 weeks if you apply within 20 working days after redundancy.

TRAINING

Training incentive allowance: Up to $3862 a year for courses below level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework, including course fees, transport and childcare.

JOB SEARCH

Transition to work grant: Up to $1500 a year for job search costs and interviews, eg clothing, travel (up to $300); tools and clothing required for work; relocation costs; and living costs until first pay day.

SEASONAL WORK

Up to $760 in six months for hours lost because of bad weather if you have gone off a benefit in the last 26 weeks to do seasonal horticultural work.

FOR EMPLOYERS
Skills investment: Up to $16,900 for training costs and/or wage subsidy to employ someone who is "disadvantaged in the local labour market" and needs better skills.

Job support (disability): Up to $16,900 for costs of employing someone with a disability, eg workplace modifications, job coaching, mentoring, special equipment, wage subsidy, transport, parking.

Taskforce Green: Up to $7280 for six months, plus a supervision subsidy, to employ someone who is "disadvantaged in the local labour market" on a project of benefit to the community or the environment where participants can develop work habits and job skills.

Job Ops: $5000 subsidy to employ someone under 25 for six months for at least 30 hours a week in an entry-level job with no prerequisite skills or experience.

Community Max: Subsidy of up to $13,437 per person for non-profit groups to employ people under 25 for at least 30 hours a week for six months.

Job support (9-day fortnight): $1625 per worker for six months in places employing at least 50 people, on condition that hours are cut by up to 10 hours a fortnight and no one is made redundant in the six months. Subsidy can cover up to 10 times the workers who would otherwise have been made redundant.