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Finding work in New Zealand

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From the work culture to CV format, working in New Zealand may be slightly different to your home country, but finding and getting along in a job is easy to do with a little support and guidance.

Work culture

New Zealand workers tend to have a ‘can-do’ attitude and pride themselves on their ability to stay positive in the workplace. Kiwis are generally hard workers and enjoy finding solutions to problems. Most people in New Zealand also like to make sure their work/life balance is in order, though, so they focus during work hours and then leave on time to enjoy their beautiful country in the evenings. In some parts of the country, the normal work days runs from 8am-4pm to maximise personal time. Because New Zealand is a small country with a small population, many companies have fewer employees than you might be used to. This can be an advantage, because it allows your voice to be heard, gives you the ability to gain experience by working closely with higher level colleagues, and can consequently allow you to move up in your career much more quickly.

Resume/CV Format

The first step to finding a job in New Zealand is to create a resume, or curriculum vitae, commonly abbreviated to CV. You may already have a CV that you’ve used in your home country, but the New Zealand style could be different. Here are a few tips to ensure your CV is appropriate for New Zealand job hunting:

  • List only the jobs you’ve done that are relevant to the role
  • Give examples of the skills you’ve used and gained from past experiences
  • Give descriptions and details of your previous companies, as Kiwis might be unfamiliar with the employers in your home country
  • Be positive about yourself but do not brag
  • It is also useful to list your legal work status on your CV so employers know whether or not they might have to assist you in getting a work visa.

It is important to tailor your CV for each job application, as roles vary and so do the skills you want to present. You will also want to write a cover letter for each job application to help explain why you think the experience listed on your CV qualifies you for the role, and also to show your enthusiasm and a bit of your personality.

Qualifications

Qualifications, i.e. diplomas and degrees, are often an important part of your job applications. Certain types of employment will require specific skill levels and you will need to prove you have the appropriate education. New Zealand rates qualifications on a scale from 0-10 and some of the most common ratings are:

  • A diploma is a 5 or 6
  • A bachelor’s degree is a 7
  • A doctoral degree is a 10

It is important to bring either your original qualification document(s) with you to New Zealand, or use certified copies.

In some cases you may need your qualifications assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This does require a fee. Check their Website and with your prospective employer for details. Some fields, such as dental, medical, and accounting, also require you to register your occupation with their boards. For example, chiropractors must register with the chiropractic board.

 Good to know:

A very good level of English is usually required to work in New Zealand. However, New Zealanders are pragmatic people and in some fields of work they may be able to see your potential regardless of your language skills.

Job-hunting in New Zealand

There are a many ways to find a job in New Zealand. Internet job listing sites are a good place to start. Seek and Indeed both have New Zealand versions, and TradeMe is the main Kiwi classified site for everything, including job postings. LinkedIn is getting to be an increasingly good place for job ads, as well as company information.

You may consider researching all of the companies in New Zealand that specialise in your field and contacting them directly to discuss opportunities, even if they haven’t posted that they are hiring. It is also worth checking to see if you know anyone who is already employed at a company you’d like to work so they might help to introduce you. Alternatively, if you currently work for an international company, you might want to explore an inter-company transfer option to New Zealand.

New Zealand also has quite a few recruitment agencies that assist in matching companies and prospective employers. It is worth registering with a few of these so that you can have someone familiar with the work culture helping you with this journey. The registration process typically involves you getting in touch with them and sending through your CV and a letter of introduction. You will then have an in-person meeting, or at least a phone call, and you may eventually need to do some competency tests for things like typing and commonly used office computer software programmes. Adecco, Hays and Parker Bridge are some popular agencies that you might consider.

If you are starting your search from within the country, you may use print newspapers and their online versions to look for opportunities. The New Zealand Herald, The Dominion Post, and The Press are some popular national papers. If you are staying in a hostel when you first arrive, the staff and other travelers may be able to provide job leads. If you need immediate work in Auckland or Wellington, you can register with The Temp Centre, a temporary work agency that uses a lot of working holiday visa holders to provide hospitality help at local events. The pay is typically little more than minimum wage, but it’s always good to get money in where you can. If you plan to do this type of work, be sure to bring along black trousers and shoes in your luggage, otherwise you’ll be spending your savings or your first few hours of wages on these items.

 Important:

The first thing to do upon arrival is apply for a tax identification number from New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD). This will make sure you are taxed appropriately determine eligibility for government programmes. To apply for an IRD, visit the Inland Revenue website.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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See also

If you are setting up a business, then you might want to do it in New Zealand. Kiwis have a special entrepreneurial spirit that the country cultivates.
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and considered the country’s creative hub. It’s a major economic centre with ample opportunities for expats.
Auckland is New Zealand’s most international city, and is considered its economic capital. Global companies provide numerous job opportunities for expats.
Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island and is rebuilding following the 2011 earthquake, with lots of job opportunities for expats.
Internships are a great way to gain work experience and training. In New Zealand, all internships, even unpaid, require you to have a visa.

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