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4 ways to stand out from the crowd as a Māori or Pasifika graduate

Graduating is a massive accomplishment, and you should feel proud for all the effort and dedication put into your studies. But now that you’re a graduate the challenge is standing out from the crowd. Each year hundreds of graduates will start job-hunting and everyone's competing for the same amount of jobs. So really the question is, what makes you stand out as a Māori/Pasifika graduate?. Read on to learn more.

1. Language 

Being Māori/Pasifika means you have one great advantage over everyone else and that is your language. Te Reo Māori and the many different Pasifika languages (Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Niuean etc) allow for connectivity with their community and this is an advantage for any employer looking to bring more diversity into the workplace. Being able to connect organisations with wider communities, represent the organisation to your own people (by ensuring proper cultural protocol/awareness is met by the employer and its clients) and being more inclusive in the workplace will be positive consequences of using your language to stand out from everyone else.

2. Contacts/References

The old saying ‘It’s not what you know, but who’ is extremely relevant in this context. Most students when studying will neglect extracurricular activities and/or opportunities to network with employers as they prioritise studying instead. Unfortunately, this ends up resulting in a qualified graduate with no contacts to endorse you as a viable job candidate. However, if you have read some of our content on GradMahi you will be familiar with past advice about being involved in activities outside your studies. Now is the time to take advantage of your contacts, and subtly give notice that you are looking for job opportunities. Furthermore, when you go for a job interview, having credible references will raise you above other candidates. Reach out to your church group, Iwi/Hapu, sports-team, youth crews and family members to see who might be able to put in a good word for you.

3. Relevant experience

By the time graduation has come around you should already have some viable job experience in the industry you want to work in. Journalism prospects should have been writing for a local publication already, law and business firms hire final year students as assistants which will give valuable experience in those professions, and there are always chances to build on skills needed in your particular job field. All relevant experience should be included on your resume as this will build on your profile and help to make you a unique prospect to employers. 

4. Showcase your passions

What makes graduates unique is their different passions. Perhaps you want to make positive changes in your community? Or maybe you are a creative person who is passionate about the arts? A dedicated and passionate person who has different interests shows variety in what they do, and it shows through their personality when someone is dedicated to their craft. Do you play an instrument? Do you do Kapa Haka or Mau Rakau (Māori martial arts)? Let your passions shine through and see if you can bring your passions into working in your desired industry.

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on ways for you to be a standout as a Māori/Pasifika graduate. Remember that it is your responsibility to make employers want to hire you so put in the hard work and may you find success in whichever job role you find yourself in. Feel free to create a student profile to keep up to date with the latest internships and graduate opportunities that are relevant to you.