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Confidence boost from Work Connect helps Bijal find a job

Bijal D'souza and her partner came to New Zealand seeking a more relaxed pace of life in 2015.

For nearly 10 years Bijal had been working in marketing and communications in fast-paced Bombay. 

"My partner and I were at the stage where we wanted to have a bit more of a relaxed lifestyle and not be busy all the time," Bijal says. 

The move to New Zealand was also a chance for Bijal to upskill and update her expertise by doing a Master's degree in business administration.  

When her course finished at the end of 2016, she picked up a short-term contract, but the struggle to find a permanent marketing job affected her confidence, she says. 

One of her biggest challenges was physically approaching companies, which she didn't have to do in India. It meant getting out of her comfort zone.

"When migrants come to New Zealand, they really lose themselves because they are in an unfamiliar environment," Bijal says. 

Despite her work experience, if her skills didn't exactly match the job description, Bijal would tell herself, "I'm probably not the right candidate for that."

Tertiary Education Commission's Work Connect National Manager Gary Basham says Bijal's experience is typical of many clients we see on our Work Connect programme.

"The Work Connect programme helps our clients understand and build skills for New Zealand's job market, and as a consequence, it boosts their confidence to connect with employers," he says. 

Bijal learned about Work Connect in November 2017 when an email from her university popped into her inbox. She immediately signed up for the 10-hour programme. 

Work Connect showed her how to understand job descriptions better and how to write her CV to match them. "I could see exactly what I needed to do in terms of getting a job, such as reading the job description correctly and knowing how I want to build my career."

One of her biggest challenges, Bijal says, was physically approaching companies, which she didn't have to do in India. It meant getting out of her comfort zone. 

"As much as I'm an outgoing person, it's still quite a challenge to say, 'I want a job and I have these skills,' or 'I can do this for you."

The programme helped her to find her confidence again, she says. When she secured a job interview, her Work Connect consultant helped her prepare for it. 

Being called back for a second interview marked a turning point in Bijal's journey. "Even though I didn't get that job, I was OK with it. The fact that I actually got in the second time was like 'OK, I'm doing something correct in the interview session, so that's going in a positive way." 

Bijal has since found work in the sales and marketing team of an Auckland engineering company that manufactures road survey equipment. 

She has been able to bring her marketing knowledge to the job and is enjoying the chance to learn about the engineering industry - an industry she previously knew nothing about. 

"It's been a great journey," she says. 

Work Connect

Work Connect is a free 10-hour programme to help skilled migrants, partners of skilled migrants and international student graduates (Level 7 and above) prepare for the New Zealand job market. Work Connect is available in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. 

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