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Chanelle Haffenden’s innovative job search


Unemployed for two-and-a-half years and with no luck finding a job using traditional methods, Aucklander Chanelle got creative in her search for employment – and boy did it pay off!

Being out of a job is tough. Aside from the obvious issue of being completely skint, there are also the psychological and mental ramifications of having nothing to do all day. So after two-and-a-half years out of the job market, and with no luck finding work using Trade Me or Seek, Aucklander Chanelle Haffenden decided enough was enough and got creative in her search for employment. Using her last $2 from her benefit for the week, Chanelle bought a large piece of paper, wrote “Please give me a job” on it, and stood out on a busy Manukau intersection.

Her initial embarrassment turned to delight – within three hours she’d had nine potential employers stop and talk to her, and got six or seven job offers. And it didn’t stop there – once her story got out on social media, Chanelle got an offer she couldn’t refuse. After seeing a picture of Chanelle and her sign on Instagram, James Crow and Tommy Holden from ice cream company Nice Blocks got in touch the next day, and she had a job by lunchtime. That was six months ago, and today the 22-year-old is well and truly thriving in her customer service role.

Chanelle reckons it was her willpower and creativity that scored her the job. “They probably thought, ‘this chick’s working hard to find a job – she’s just determined’,” she says.

The Nice Blocks gig was far from her only option, so what was it that drew Chanelle to the Fairtrade certified company?  “[James] was just so lovely on the phone and he told me they paid living wages,” she says. “I would have taken the minimum wage or less, so just to hear that I was being paid $18.80 and that I was going to be trained was great.”

Now that she’s excelling at her new role, Chanelle is keen to help out people in a similar position to the one she was in at the beginning of the year. On Thursday, July 3rd, she’ll be taking part in the annual Lifewise Big Sleepout, where along with other influential Aucklanders, she’ll brave the chilly weather and rain by ‘sleeping rough’ for a night. The event aims to raise awareness and funds to help solve homelessness in Auckland. With just a sleeping bag, pillow, sheet and a piece of cardboard, participants will get a taste of what life is like for the Auckland homeless population, half of whom are under the age of 24.

Chanelle is giving hope to young people struggling from unemployment. “Don’t give up – put yourself out there,” she says. “It’s so hard to find a job these days, don’t stop at the first no. You may have to go through a hundred – it’s about being creative.” She reckons any dream is achievable, as long as you work hard. “You just have to find a plan and work out how to achieve it. Nothing is too hard if you’re determined.”

Check out a feature on Chanelle from Campbell Live back in February.


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