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When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

Recruitment Industry

I find myself answering the questions “how long have you been in New Zealand?”, “what brought you to New Zealand?”, and “oh, this must be home for good then?” many times in one week. These questions ultimately lead to “what do you do here?”, “how did you get into recruitment?”, and “did you do that in the US?”

The last question is the one I want to focus on; the answer is no. Honestly, I didn’t even know what recruitment was when I was back home in little ol’ North Roylaton, Ohio. I was living in a small-ish suburb of Cleveland, Ohio where the population is 30,367. If there are recruitment agencies there, I don’t know about them.

So how did I end up here, in Auckland, with a career in Recruitment?

When was the first time you were asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” If you are anything like me, I imagine it was before you even turned five. I also imagine that, for most, this has changed many times over the years.

When I was no more than waist high, I always said that I wanted to be an artist; I loved to make things, draw, paint, and was always focused on the little details of everything around me. I excelled at the art projects in school (if you even can as a kid…), and as I got a little older, I started focussing on things that really interested me, such as design and painting. By the time high school rolled around, I was pretty good at using acrylic paint and oils, as well as picking up digital design quicker than most.

Then it was time to start thinking about college applications, and the serious questions started coming at me; “what do you want to do?”, “where do you want to go?”, “how are you going to make sure you have a strong application?” I was 15. I barely knew who I was as a teenager, let alone what I was going to be doing for the next 5 – 10 years.

My focus changed; I now started getting involved. I joined extracurricular clubs and activities to make sure that my application would stand out amongst the thousands of others trying to get into the same schools as me – I was even a member of Art League (insert ridiculous nerd jokes here)! Sometime in the mix, I decided that I wanted to expand my love for design and style and apply for Fashion Design degree programs.

Hard work paid off, and I was accepted as 1 of 75 students per year to begin my degree in Fashion Design at Kent State University. Four years later, after studying and working full time, a semester living and working in NYC and a beautiful portfolio that I slaved over, I had it! A piece of paper stating that I have a degree in Fashion Design and Marketing. What else did I have?

No job.

Well, I had a job, but not the one I wanted or thought I would have had. I searched for 18 months, had countless interviews, and was declined from every single one. Early 2009 was not a good time to be job seeking and I was seriously deflated after no success.

Then, I learned about a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand. I was ready for something new, to see the world, and begin my travels. I sold everything, worked hard to save money, and bought a plane ticket.

When I arrived in NZ, I still couldn’t find a fashion related job. I needed to work so I got an admin job that I could do easily. Through that job, I met a good friend who introduced me to the world of recruitment through a project admin role. I loved it. I was talking to people from all over the world, there was always a buzz of activity, it was challenging, and I really liked what I was doing. Who would have thought? Something not art or design related?

Nearly 5 years on, I now have a career in recruitment that I love. The industry itself is interesting, challenging, and ever changing. I specialised in Contact Centre recruitment for over 3 years. I was hooked on the pace and energy. Bonus – for the past year I have been in the Internal Recruitment & Training role which allows me to create, as well as implement, training for Madison. Creativity! Yes!

Whilst I see myself working in recruitment for the foreseeable future, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and guess what? I have finally figured out that it’s OK. I enjoy coming to work every day, I am challenged and always learning, I work with great people, and more than anything, I like what I do.

If you are thinking about a career change, what you want to do next, or what you want to be when you grow up, take a few minutes to think about what you LIKE doing. What you like doing is not always what you studied or what you were told by your parents/family/peers that you should do. Why not try something like recruitment? It’s a career made up of a multitude of skill sets and is strengthened by a varied background and life experience.

For me, recruitment is currently a career, but will it be my career in 10 years’ time? I have no idea. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. In fact, I envy Peter Pan and don’t ever really want to grow up, but I will make sure that if I have to, I am happy along the way. I think Peter Pan perfectly sums up my point when he says, “it is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness”

Touché.