Finding job leads

A lot of jobs aren't advertised online on the main sites so keep an eye out for job leads through friends and family, on business websites and local newspapers.

Finding your own leads

Employers like people who are motivated. By seeking out job opportunities you show employers that you are motivated and keen to work.

Make a list of people you can contact to find job leads and tell them you're looking for work.

  • Follow every lead

    Once you have a lead you need to follow this up. Where possible, usually this is best done with a phone call or a visit, but there may be times when you need to email or write a letter to introduce yourself.

    It's a good idea to visit if you're likely to be able to talk to the person who hires staff. A visit can be your best option to get labouring, factory, shop and hotel type positions.

    A phone call makes more sense if the person you want to see is in a lot of meetings (eg office manager), or is hard to get to physically.

    If you end up emailing or writing to introduce yourself, still use both a covering letter and CV. You may want to put your covering letter into the body of the email (taking out the address details from the top) and just attach the CV. This means there's more chance the person getting it will read something about you and will take the extra step to open the CV attachment.

  • Before you call or visit

    • think about what sort of job you want and what your skills and experience are
    • plan what you want to say and be ready for questions (have your CV handy). It may turn into a short interview
    • if you're phoning, make sure you're calling from somewhere quiet, and if you're visiting, wear clean, suitable clothes.


    • introduce yourself and ask for the name and title of the person who does the hiring, or the manager you want to work for. Try to find out in advance who this person is
    • ask to speak to that person, address them by their name and introduce yourself
    • if you meet in person, look them in the eye and shake hands firmly
    • use your contacts (for instance 'Fano who works for you suggested I call')
    • say briefly why you're calling or visiting and give basic information about your skills
    • ask if they have time to talk now - or if you can make an appointment
    • ask if they have any work coming up or if they can give you any leads
    • thank them and ask if you can call again.

    Leave them a copy of your CV - or if you've phoned, follow up with a letter and your CV. In the back of this booklet you'll find a job leads diary. Write a note in your job leads diary with an action point as to when you'll make contact again.

    Example phone call:

    Before making a phone call or visit, you may wish to write a script to help you prepare. For example, a phone call might go something like this...

    1. Hello my name is Chris Leota. Would you please tell me who hires your bakery staff and put me through to them?
    2. Hello Mary, my name is Chris Leota. Jeff Gordon from Fine Foods suggested I call you.

      I've had several years' experience as a bakery assistant and I'd like to meet with you and talk about possible job opportunities with your company.

      Would you mind if I come in and talk with you anyway in case you have an unexpected vacancy?

      Are you aware of anyone else who may need staff at the moment? Do you have a contact name there? Would you mind if I said you suggested calling them?

      I'd like to check back with you in a week or two just to see if anything has come up. In the meantime I'll email you my CV.

      Thanks very much for your time Mary.

  • Afterwards - following up

    It can be tricky to know how often to follow-up once you've registered your interest.

    If you've applied for an advertised job, find out what the timeframe is and call back if you haven't heard anything a week after the application deadline.

    If you don't get an interview or the job, see if you can get some feedback as to why not, and what you can do differently next time. Tell the person that you'd be interested in another role if it came up.

    If you're following up a job lead, you need to find a balance between letting the employer know you're still keen and available and not annoying them with too much contact. This will be different in various situations - think about it, talk to friends and family. We can also help you with this.