Job Searching in New Zealand

Finding a job will probably be one of the most important stepping stone on your pathway to New Zealand, but looking for employment in a new country can be a daunting task.

New Zealand's job market is different. It is small, mostly hidden and heavily network based.

Being a migrant adds a whole different layer to your job search journey, making your job search even more complex than what you are used to.

Job searching in New Zealand is not as simple as just sending out your CV. To be successful in your job hunt you have to understand what makes the New Zealand job market unique, and learn how to apply your overseas skills in the best possible manner.

To give you a first glance at job searching in New Zealand, we have touched on some of the key aspects and answer some of the questions we get asked by migrants.  Our regional checker tool gives you a brief introduction to opportunities and industries in each of New Zealand's 15 regions.

Essential Job Search Tips

Our Job Search Coaches on key aspects of job hunting in New Zealand.

Self Assessment

Are you ready to start applying for jobs?

Our Job Search Coaches name the four key components of you should have in place when you arrive in New Zealand.

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Writing your Cover Letter

Cover letters are often your first point of contact with employers. You want to get them interested in reading your CV and in interviewing you.

Find out what makes a great standout cover letter.

The Hidden Job Market

Only 30% of jobs in New Zealand are advertised.

Find out how you can access the remaining 70% of job openings by navigating New Zealand's Hidden Job Market.

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Writing your CV

Your CV is your most important marketing tool.

New Zealand employers only take 30 seconds to decide whether you will be invited for a job interview.

Using LinkedIn for Job Search

Almost 70% of NZ recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to source top talent. LinkedIn is their first go-to platform.

It is important that you use your full potential when setting up your profile on LinkedIn.

Remote Volunteering

Volunteering can be a useful option for networking, making friends and even landing employment.

Remote volunteering might be an option for you before you even arrive in New Zealand.

Is Social Media Affecting your Job Search?

NZ employers usually check out your social media profiles, to find out more about you.

Social media will affect your employability. Learn how you can make social media work in your favour.

Networking the NZ Way

New Zealand's job market is heavily network based.

Job Search Coach Anna Fyfe shares her insider view on networking in New Zealand.

5 Worst Things to Say During an Interview

Avoid these common interview mistakes.

Job Search Coach Mark Beltran explains the top 5 worst interview responses.

Online Networking in NZ

Thanks to social media, it's easier than ever to connect with like-minded professionals and industry experts — many of whom you may have never met otherwise.

Read about the etiquette of online networking in NZ.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Job Search Coaches answer questions specific to job search success for migrants.

What kind of employees are NZ employers looking for?

New Zealand employers are typically small firms with no more than 20 employees and they need people who can make a positive contribution to their organisations.

8 things New Zealand employers particularly look for.

How can I find accredited employers?

Essentially, accredited employers have completed an accreditation process with Immigration New Zealand. This means that a job offer from an accredited employer will make the visa process a lot easier for you.

Find out how you can find an accredited employer.

Will recruiters help me find a job?

Most of the time recruiters will reply:

"Unfortunately we are not able to consider your application as long as you do not possess a valid work permit or working visa."

It is important to note that recruiters work for employers. As long as a migrant does not have the right to work in New Zealand, you will not be an ideal candidate for them to present to their client.

What are the main job search challenges I will be facing?

Finding a job in a new country is daunting!

Most migrants will face the Catch 22 Dilemma when looking for a job.

There are a number of further challenges your will have to overcome.

Can you guarantee that I will get a job offer?

No professional adviser can guarantee or promise you a job offer in New Zealand. That would be totally unprofessional.

Ultimately your job hunt success in New Zealand will depend on a combination of factors, including your personal involvement, but working with our Job Search Coaches will improve your chances significantly. Our success rate is exceptional!

How does the Covid-19 pandemic affect my job searching in New Zealand?

The main difference lies in the fact that New Zealand's borders are still mainly closed to keep the virus out of our country.

However, there are a number of exceptions and we had some considerable success with enabling our clients to enter the country and finding employment.

Find out whether you might qualify for our Accelerate Program.

Regional Checker Tool

Our regional checker tool gives you a brief introduction to employment opportunities and industries in each of New Zealand's 15 main regions.
Regional information is sourced from and credited to NZ Now.

Northland

Known as ‘the winterless North’ for its subtropical climate, Northland’s expanses of white sandy beaches, great fishing and scenic locations like the Bay of Islands all combine to make it a popular place to live.

Employment and Industries:

Northland’s main industries are tourism, pastoral farming, wood processing and marine engineering. Some of the world’s most exclusive superyachts have been built in Whangarei.

The deep water harbour at Whangarei is home to the Marsden Point Oil Refinery. Other industries around the region include cement manufacture, wood products and dairy processing.

Around two thirds of the region’s land area is used for pastoral farming, while tourism activity in Northland is higher than the national average

Auckland

Over 1.7 million people live in Auckland - over a third of New Zealand’s population. It’s the region of choice for over half of new migrants. They’re drawn here by Auckland’s job opportunities, good climate, stunning natural environment with beautiful harbours, beaches, and parks and its vibrant, cosmopolitan centre.


Employment and Industries:

Auckland is the nation’s economic powerhouse, accounting for 38% of New Zealand’s economic output (GDP) and 36% of New Zealand’s paid employment.

The industries that employ the most people In the Auckland region are business services (such as legal and accounting, marketing and management services), food and beverage manufacturing, health, hospitality, telecommunication services, building construction, machinery, and motor vehicle wholesaling.

Auckland's labour market has a high skills base, with more than 36% of employment in knowledge-intensive industries and 47.4% employed in high-skilled and medium-to-high skilled jobs. Auckland also accounts for half of New Zealand's technology workforce.

Waikato

One of the richest agricultural and pastoral areas of the world, the Waikato is home to New Zealand’s famous dairy and thoroughbred horse racing industries and base for many agri-businesses and research institutes.


Employment and Industries:

Dairying and agricultural bio-technology drive the Waikato’s economy, supported by thoroughbred horse breeding and training, forestry and coal mining.

Fonterra, the world leading dairy products supplier, is based here and Hamilton hosts the National Agricultural Fieldays, the largest agricultural tradeshow in the Southern Hemisphere.

Many of New Zealand’s leading agri-science research facilities are based in the Waikato and R&D is a key contributor to the economy. The electric fence and aerial top dressing are just two of the innovations to come from the region.

Education is another important sector, including a major University, a teacher’s college, technical institute hospital and nurse training.

Bay of Plenty

This is a beautiful part of New Zealand and combines some of our best beaches and our most fertile land with one of our highest annual tallies of sunshine hours. It has three main urban centres, all within about an hour’s drive of each other.


Employment and Industries:

Much of the region’s output is based on primary production and processing of fruit, meat and dairy products.

Kiwifruit is the region’s largest horticultural export with avocados becoming more important recently. The Port of Tauranga is a major economic force and one of New Zealand’s prime export gateways, and the region is also home to some world-leading boat design and construction firms.

Forestry is a major employer - the region’s Kaingaroa Forest is the largest hand-planted forest on Earth. Its output is shipped to the world from Tauranga port.

Rotorua was an early highlight for many tourists because of its geothermal steam vents, mud pools, geysers and hot springs. Today its sense of being a centre of Māori culture makes an essential part of any tourist itinerary.

Gisborne

The first city in the world to see the sun, this easternmost tip of the country is famous for its beautiful coastline, densely forested mountain parks, surfing and fishing, and is also a centre for wine and agriculture.


Employment and Industries:

With high, hot sunshine hours and fertile clay loam soils Gisborne district is an ideal environment for winemaking. The region is noted for its Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Malbec wines. Other local industries include agriculture, horticulture, farming, forestry and fishing.

Gisborne city functions as a service town for the district. Its port, a sheltered river port, hosts ships loading logs for export as well as smaller fishing vessels.

Hawkes Bay

The North Island’s fruit-bowl, the region also has extensive vineyards thanks to consistently hot and dry summers and autumns.

Napier, built in a distinctive art deco style, adjoins Hastings, the region’s agricultural service hub.


Employment and Industries:

Hawke's Bay is renowned for its primary sector industries. Cherries and apples, the original staples of the local economy are important: so are those classic New Zealand pastoral activities of sheep and beef farming. Grapes grow well throughout the region, and most famous are the wines developed in the Gimblett Gravels area. The Cabernets and Merlots produced there consistently outperform French competitors in blind taste tests.

The region also produces table vegetables, including organic produce. Food and beverage processing, forestry and manufacturing are significant industries.

Tourism is increasingly important in the region. Built around the region’s climate, iconic buildings, and wineries, Hawke's Bay hosts many concerts, conferences, sporting events and farmers' markets.

Taranaki

Dominated by Mount Taranaki, an almost perfect volcanic cone from which the region takes its name, Taranaki is noted for dairying, and its petro-chemical and engineering industries.


Employment and Industries:

Key industries in the area are agriculture and oil and gas – known locally as white gold and black gold. Dairy farming dominates the land, and the second-largest milk treatment factory in the southern hemisphere is located in the town of Hawera.

The country’s only operating oil and gas reserves are both onshore and just offshore in the Taranaki bight. Supporting these sectors is a thriving and innovative engineering sector and their strength also fuel thriving professional and hospitality sectors.

Whanganui - Manawatu

Palmerston North is a key university city, noted for its agricultural faculty, in a rich farming district. To the west, Whanganui lies at the mouth of the Whanganui river.


Employment and Industries:

The mainstays of the local economy are education, associated agricultural research, defence plus agriculture itself, mainly dairy farming, cropping, vegetables, sheep and beef. Due to its strategic location in the lower North Island, Palmerston North is also increasingly an important hub for logistics and distribution.

Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city, built on dramatic hills surrounding one of the southern hemisphere’s largest deep water ports. In 2017, Wellington was ranked No.1 city in the world to live in a global Deutsche Bank study.


Employment and Industries:

As the capital, Wellington is home to many national institutions and government agencies.

In recent years Wellington has developed thriving digital technology and film industries with files such as The Hobbit, King Kong, Lord of the Rings and Avatar being produced here.

Tertiary education and research are other important contributors to the local economy.

Marlborough

The region is famous for its fjord-like Marlborough Sounds and its vineyards thrive in one of our sunniest spots.


Employment and Industries:

Aquaculture, specifically green-lipped mussel farming, is an important economic activity. Farming (mainly sheep) is also important but the region’s signature crop is grapes.

In little more than 30 years, Marlborough’s wine industry has led an extraordinary expansion in the production of, and global regard for, New Zealand wines. Marlborough produces well over half of New Zealand’s export wines, and the region is known internationally for the consistent quality and distinctive style of its sauvignon blanc.

Tourism is increasingly important. Alongside its wineries and the playground of the Sounds, visitors are drawn to the excellent whale watching available off the Kaikoura coast to the east.

Nelson - Tasman

Nelson-Tasman often tops New Zealand’s sunshine hours. It also boasts golden beaches and productive tourism, wine, horticulture and fishing industries.


Employment and Industries:

The region’s economy has four main drivers - horticulture, fishing, forestry, and tourism.

Nelson’s port is the largest deep-sea fishing port in Australasia.

Horticulture includes apples, pears, kiwifruit, and hops. Viticulture and winemaking are developing strongly, with craft beer brewing becoming increasingly popular.

West Coast

The West Coast is famous for dramatic scenery, high rainfall, National Parks and characterful locals. Tourism, Mining and Agriculture are the major earners here.


Employment and Industries:

Tourists (including many eco-tourists) flock to the region for its glaciers, ‘pancake rocks’, wild and unspoiled beauty and native birds.

Commercial fishing in the area is rewarding but challenging; the Tasman sea is often rough. Gold has been productive not just in the rush years of the 1860s but on a smaller scale since then. There is limited logging of native timber literally on a tree by tree basis, and the West Coast has always produced excellent coal.

More recently dairy farming has also expanded, as previously marginal land has become economically viable.

Canterbury

Canterbury's largest city, Christchurch is a city of opportunity – where change and innovation have been embraced, creating a strong economy and a vibrant place to live.


Employment and Industries:

Canterbury has a thriving economy, with strong performance from key sectors including construction, hi-tech manufacturing, technology, agribusiness and tourism.

Christchurch is also New Zealand’s second largest region for technology businesses and boasts some of Australasia’s most innovative and successful software, hardware and electronics companies.

Canterbury is a world-renowned food growing region, producing amongst other things, meat products, seafood, dairy food and wine for domestic consumption and export. Non-food products are also important such as seeds and forage crops. The region is also a hub for agribusiness research and agritech innovations, undertaken by the private sector and by globally-recognised research institutes.

Otago

Otago offers a distinct South Island lifestyle and an alternative to more heavily populated northern areas.

Featuring stunning scenery, Otago offers mountains, vast plains, dramatic rivers, and remote beaches. Dunedin, the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ has an internationally recognised university that hosts New Zealand’s principal medical school.


Employment and Industries:

Education is a driving force for Dunedin’s economy. Otago University’s reputation draws students - ‘scarfies’ - from around the country and overseas. The university also includes New Zealand’s principal medical school and the only school of dentistry. Forestry and farming are important in the wider Dunedin region.

Inland, agriculture, horticulture, viticulture (central Otago produces some of the country’s best pinot noir) and tourism are among the big employers. The tourist towns of Queenstown (which has an international airport) and Wanaka are among New Zealand’s fastest growing centres.

Southland

Southland is New Zealand’s most southerly region and includes the World Heritage ranked Fiordland National Park. Southland's location is such that views of Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights are common.


Employment and Industries:

Mainstays of the region’s economy are agriculture, led by dairy farming - Edendale is the world’s largest raw milk processing plant - and sheep. The aluminium smelter at Bluff is another major employer.

Tourism is important. Fiordland National Park attracts around a quarter of the tourist dollars spent in New Zealand annually. Forestry is also significant as well as fishing. The Southern Institute of Technology offers zero-fees tuition for many of its courses which is making education increasingly important.

Ready to find a great job
in a great city?

Job search is not just about CV's. New Zealand's job market is highly network based, and our Job Search Professionals know it inside and out.

Find out how we can help maximise your potential by completing our Free Assessment.