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Lilly Peng

First SIGIE Event Experience

The first SIGIE event I attended was ‘International Student Academic and Industry Night’ held at the Univeristy of Auckland. The theme was ‘Settling into New Zealand’. At that time, I had graduated but did not have a job in engineering fields.


Seeking for Networking Opportunities

Towards the end of ‘Settling into New Zealand’ event, I noticed that there were a couple of engineers seating behind me. I approached them and found out that one of them works for a company which designs bulk material handling and processing equipment. I was genuinely interested in the company and shared with him my experiences including a relevant project I did during my study. At the end, we exchanged contact. I followed up with him after the event. Couple months later, he provided me with an opportunity for a site visit to their in-house manufacturing facility.

The factory tour did not land me a job, but I gained a better understanding of the industry, which I am interested in, by interacting with the professionals who work in that field.


Seeking for Informational Interview Opportunities

When I was looking for internships, I prepared some questions based on ‘informational interview’ techniques to approached prospective employers at the Career Expos, not only at the ones for STEM but also the ones for other faculties.

At a Career Expo for Business School, I had a chat with a representative from a large transportation and logistics company. He invited me to their office for an interview, then I got recommended for a marketing graduate position. Although the offer did not progress further, I felt encouraged and recognised.


Where I ended up

About 4 months after I attended SIGIE’s event, ‘Settling into New Zealand’, I was offered my current role. I started working on industrial projects that I am deeply interested in.

In the job searching process, I had feelings of insecurity and even frustrations while being on a temporary visa. Connecting with other immigrant engineers is a good way to find a sense of belonging and to boost confidence. I realize that I am not along in this journey of settling into NZ as an immigrant.

Hon Wei Ng

Let Go of Expectations

Because I had a master’s degree, I thought I could skip entry-level jobs. I started researching the job market here in New Zealand around 1 month before my arrival. With a much smaller but more mature economy, New Zealand does not have a large manufacturing and chemical industry, unlike Malaysia. My background does not fit the New Zealand job market very well. Learning about the job search culture, assessing my strengths and weaknesses became an invaluable exercise.


Learn About Job Search Culture

One of my first events here is volunteering with SIGIE. Understanding the word-of-mouth nature of job search was my first lesson. “Being there is a winning first step”.


Getting to know myself

With a fresh outlook and a new approach to job search. I started to present myself as an adaptable, jack-of-all-trades project engineer. The journey of self-assessment and self-discovery has been invaluable for my success and my personal growth.


Support networks

A number of professional bodies and job search support is available. SIGIE members has been vital to keeping me active and positive.

Where I ended up

After an interesting offer for project management role. I ended up landing a research assistant position in a research organisation in Palmerston North, working on a research topic I am deeply interested in. Finding a job was a long journey, but I learned a lot along the way. When applying for jobs, it is important not to give up when you do not hear back. Sometimes you just need to take a break from applying, and sometimes you need to change your strategy and expectations. I hope that my experience will help other immigrant engineers succeed on their journey!

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