A step-by-step guide to finding a job in New Zealand

How you look for work in New Zealand may be quite different from what you are used to. This guide will help you through the process of looking for work and applying for jobs.

Step 1: Find out about jobs in New Zealand

Will your job be the same in New Zealand?

Talk to someone who is doing the job you want to do. They may be able to help you:

  • work out what type of job you could get in New Zealand with your skills and qualifications
  • set up some interviews with people working in your area of interest, who can help you find more information about jobs
  • learn more about the job in New Zealand, and put you in touch with potential employers.

What job opportunities are available?

Job opportunities vary by region. You'll need to do some research to find out what jobs are available where. You could do this by looking at job vacancy listings, contacting recruitment agencies, or exploring our job profiles.

Where would you like to live?

Besides researching whether your job is available in a certain region, think about whether:

  • you want to live in the country, a small town, or a city
  • the activities you like to do are available in the areas where you are looking for work.

Step 2: Write or update your CV

Woman working at a laptop

A New Zealand-style CV should be two to three pages at most

Gather information for your CV

  • Make a list of your skills.
  • Give examples of how and when you used these skills.
  • Make sure you have copies of any awards and certificates you have received.

Write your CV

  • A CV should be short – two to three pages at most.
  • Write about your work experience. This is often more valued than qualifications.
  • Include contact details of former employers who can act as referees, or make sure you can supply these if asked.


  • Get an English speaker to check your CV. They can check that the wording and style is right.
  • Use our CV Builder tool to create your own New Zealand-style CV.

Step 3: Search and apply for suitable jobs

Searching for job vacancies

  • Talk to family, friends and neighbours – you never know who may have a job lead.
  • Sign up to job vacancy websites.
  • Contact employers directly.
  • Sign up with a recruitment company – there is no charge for this.

Applying for jobs

  • Keep a list of jobs you have applied for.
  • Always send out a cover letter, which explains why you would be a good person for the job, with your CV. Get an English speaker to check your cover letter for errors.

Step 4: Prepare and practise for job interviews

Think about what kind of questions an employer might ask you.

  • Write down your answers to possible questions.
  • Practise answering interview questions with friends.

Think about what questions you can ask employers.

  • Look at the employer's website to learn about their organisation. You can refer to this knowledge in your interview.
  • Write down the questions to take to your interview.

Step 5: Attend job interviews

Woman shakes hand of interviewer at a job interview

Be sure to dress neatly and arrive early for job interviews

You won't be offered an interview for every job that you apply for, so don't worry. If you are offered an interview, well done! Here are some tips to help you make a good impression.

  • Arrive early for the interview.
  • Have a notepad with your list of questions for the employer. You may also want to take notes in the interview.
  • Have an idea about what salary you would like. Make sure this is realistic for the job.
  • Dress neatly and in clothing that would be appropriate for the job.

Step 6: Get a job offer

It may take several months of job hunting before you get a job offer. When you are offered a job, your employer will usually make a verbal offer first. They will then send you an employment agreement, which will outline the details of your employment.

Before you sign your employment agreement, take time to look over the details, and get advice if you need it.

What kind of information will my employment agreement contain?

Your agreement will explain:

  • your wage or salary
  • work hours
  • details of your leave allowance, including sick leave, annual (holiday) leave and parental leave
  • performance reviews.

Before you sign:

  • read through the agreement – get someone you trust to check it over
  • ask your employer about anything in the agreement that you are unsure about
  • ask to have the details explained in your first language if you have trouble understanding the agreement.

Step 7: Begin working

Well done! You have a job. Here are some tips to prepare you for your first day:

  • Find out who you'll be reporting to and if anyone has been assigned to be your workplace buddy to help you settle into the job.
  • See how long it takes to travel from your house to your new workplace so that you can get there on time.
  • Take a notebook with you to write down things you need to remember.
  • Ask if you don't understand something.

Updated 4 Nov 2020