Researching companies and the job market

Business man reads a resume in interview

Careers, Internships & Employment recommends that you use one or more directories to identify, locate and research potential employers. We also recommend that you research job markets locally, nationally and internationally.

Careers, Internships & Employment also has other directories available in hardcopy in the Careers Resource Area at level 1 in the Geography building.

Disclaimer: The University of Canterbury is not responsible for the content, reliability or activities of any external linked site, and nor does it necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Any questions should be directed to the administrators of the specific site.

To learn more about the job market:

  • Read websites, such as those listed below, to understand regional, national and international employment and economic trends.
  • Regularly review business sections of major daily newspapers, The Press (available at Careers, Internships & Employment) The Dominion Post and The New Zealand Herald.
  • Read business publications, such as the National Business Review.
  • Look at economic information (trends and forecasts) on bank websites.
  • Review recruitment company websites for market insights, reports and publications.
  • Consider labour market information in light of other aspects of your career decision making process.


  • Look at Opportunity Canterbury.
  • Read the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) website to learn more about the Christchurch Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and key sectors in the Canterbury region.

New Zealand

  • Careers New Zealand has labour market information and trends of work in New Zealand.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment- Labour market reports contains a wide variety of labour market information reports, publications and tools. This includes Occupation Outlook information.
  • New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) is an independent economic consulting and forecasting organisation. It contains public discussion documents, speeches, presentations and resources, including definitions of economic and labour market terminology.
  • The Graduate Longitudinal Study NZ aims to determine the ongoing impact of a tertiary education on graduates’ lives.
  • Statistics New Zealand has a range of up-to-date statistics about New Zealand's labour market and employment situation.
  • The Treasury is the New Zealand Government’s lead advisor on economic and financial issues who help manage the financial affairs of the Crown. It contains an overview of the New Zealand economy.


  • Job Outlook is a careers and labour market research information site to help you decide on your future career.
  • Department of Education, Employment and Workplace relations has a Labour Market Information Portal(LMIP) which provides up to date labour market information, including by occupation and industry.

The ‘hidden’ job market refers to jobs which are not advertised. Activating the ‘hidden’ job market is particularly important if you are seeking work in an environment where many organisations are relatively small or in highly competitive sectors.

You may be familiar with the hidden job market, having successfully gained holiday or part-time work through networking and/or directly approaching an employer.

Strategies and activities that can assist you in accessing the hidden job market include networking, informational interviews, directly approaching employers and building a job information database.

Networking involves identifying the people and organisations that could be helpful to you and developing mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Your aim is to:

  • Obtain more information about sectors and employers that interest you.
  • Decide where best to concentrate your efforts.
  • Uncover job leads and key contacts.

Sell yourself

Your are embarking on a marketing exercise. The 'product' you are marketing is yourself.

Your success will depend on identifying the appropriate market for your skills; understanding the specifications and preferences of the employer or industry; presenting your attributes and how these will benefit the employer; your communication and interpersonal skills; being committed to convincing the employer; and 'closing the sale’'.

You are:

  • Finding out about areas of interest, advising people of your range of skills and letting people know that you are looking for work.
  • Asking to be part of their network of contacts, to use their knowledge and information.
  • Using the 'multiplier' principle – that is, the more people who know you are looking for work, the greater the chance of opportunities arising.
  • Asking the people in your network to help you in your job search, NOT asking them to hire you.
  • Eliciting feedback and assistance so that you can continually modify your skills and techniques of job search.

The purpose of an informational interview is to research a field of work of interest to you – not to ask for a job. It is a way to gain information on employment trends, skills required by employers, as well as confirm whether it is an area of work you are interested in pursuing or not.

This means approaching employers directly for work, whether in person, by telephone or by sending a cover letter with a CV. This is a legitimate method of finding work in most areas of the labour market.

Accurate targeting is crucial in this approach, so the amount of time you spend researching the company and who to target within it, will be much greater than the amount of time you spend making the contact.

As with networking, clarity about what you have to offer, plus a businesslike approach, are essential to making a good first impression.

The first step is to start building your contact list. You want names, contact details and possible openings or positions.

Create a job search diary

Write down: every contact you find, how you heard of that person and what you could talk to them about; communications you have with that person (by phone, in person); actions you will take as a result of your communication; actions that person is going to take on your behalf (passing on your CV to their superior). Diary all important dates. Check your diary every day to see what has happened and what your next step is.

Contact sources

Everyone is a potential contact – just start asking! Large numbers of graduates obtain work through friends, family, colleagues, past graduates and other contacts. Build up contacts in your field of interest through part-time, voluntary, vacation work and work experience.

Join relevant professional associations and societies and attend professional gatherings. Attend relevant seminars, forums, talks, exhibitions and conferences. Use social media, such as LinkedIn.

Speak with Academic staff who may have industry contacts and information about previous employers of graduates. Build connections through your leisure interests and further study.

When you make contact

Be explicit about why the job, organisation or industry appeals. In a cold call exercise have your CV prepared, and be able to indicate to the employer your interest in the organisation and the type of position you want, or type of enterprise you are considering starting. Use positive language. 

Get the name of a contact rather than just their title. For example, if you are writing to the human resources manager phone the receptionist to find out their name.

Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant

on the CareerHub website