Haere mai! Are you moving to New Zealand, and ready to start your job hunt? When you make a big move to a new country, or even just to a new city, you’ll find there are ways of doing things that are unique to that environment. This applies here in New Zealand, and it will be beneficial for you to take the ‘Kiwi way’ into consideration when applying for jobs.
Here are some tips to adapting your CV, and your communications, which may make a difference to your success
- You don’t need to include a photo, but if you do choose to, make sure it looks professional.
- Leave out your race, nationality, gender, sex, marriage status, religion or age. This information shouldn’t be used to make hiring decisions and as such doesn’t need to be said.
- If you speak other languages, put it in there! Most people in New Zealand are monolingual so this can be a point in your favour.
- Speaking of languages, Māori is an official language of New Zealand. Why not start your cover letter with “Kia Ora” to show your interest in our culture.
- If you’re emailing your CV then your ‘cover letter’ doesn’t have to be an actual letter, it can be in the body of the email.
- Use the cover letter to add information to the CV, not duplicate it. This is the place to include important additional information such as your visa status, the type of employment you are you seeking (full time, part time etc) your arrival date in the country, your notice period etc. If you’re concerned you may be overqualified, recognise this and explain that you are just keen to get some NZ experience.
- If you are applying for a specific position, the cover letter is also a place to succinctly outline why you are a good match for the role.
- A good length for a CV is 1 or 2 double-sided pages, try not to make it longer.
- Formatting is important: I recommend Size 12, Arial or Calibri font, and formatted in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.
- If you include your High School qualifications in your CV, add in the NZ equivalent to make it easy for the reader. For those with A levels, I recommend including your grades but only if they are good!
Year 11 = NCEA level 1
Year 12 = NCEA level 2
Year 13 (final year of High School) = NCEA level 3.
- List any software and CRMs that you have used. Technology skills are always in demand and often seen as transferrable skills.
- It depends on which company you are applying to, but Kiwis tend to not be impressed by fancy words or long-winded explanations; keep it simple.
- Leave your referee details out of your CV. If you like, you can put “references available on request”, and if you have a written reference already then include that in the application.
- Keyboards in New Zealand aren’t designed for common use of diacritics so be forgiving if your name gets anglicised at first (sorry!).
- If you’re not sure the name of the person receiving your application just address “To whom it may concern”.
- Bear in mind that lot of Kiwi businesses are owner-operated, you may not be dealing with HR experts.
- Keep your CV current (including phone number, address, and suburb), and update your profiles on LinkedIn and SEEK.co.nz
To gain New Zealand experience, it is key to show flexibility. Until you have familiarised and established yourself within the New Zealand market you may not be able to walk straight into your dream job, or earn the salary you’ve been on previously—but something can be learnt from every opportunity.
Job hunting in New Zealand is not that different from in other parts of the world, but the little things can make a difference! Hopefully working through the items on this checklist will help you enter the New Zealand job market and move you further on your road to success.
Here’s an example of an NZ-formatted CV.