7 things international students should know about applying for jobs in NZ

09 February 2017

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1. It’s going to take time to find the right job

That means you need to plan well and start early. Attend our workshops - these will help you identify the steps you need to take to reach your short and long term goals. There are regular employment-related workshops available for international students and graduates, as well as one-on-one sessions with Career Development Consultants.

2. Know your visa rules and regulations

Employers are often unsure of what restrictions you may face around working in NZ. You need to know the benefits and restrictions of your particular visa, and be able to discuss this. This will make you to feel more confident and prepared when applying for jobs.

3. Develop your communication skills

Use every possible opportunity to strengthen your command of spoken and written English. Consider joining a conversational English class, a University club or Toast Masters.

4. Develop your networks

Research suggests a large proportion of vacancies are not advertised online or on job postings boards. Attend networking events and speak on an informal basis with people employed in your area of interest.

5. Learn how to write effective job applications

Understand the concept of the CV as a marketing document and tailor CVs and cover letters to specific roles. It is easy to fall into the trap of highlighting qualifications at the beginning of the CV regardless of whether or not these are relevant to the position. This can result in the application being rejected straight off.  In the cover letter it is important to use language which demonstrates an understanding of NZ workplace culture. Having a native English speaker check the job application is a must.

6. Get involved in voluntary work

NZ work experience is important even if it’s not directly related to the job you are applying for. Voluntary work is useful in terms of expanding your job search networks and gaining insights into NZ workplace culture. It can also provide you with a local referee.

7. Demonstrate that you know about NZ culture

In job interviews it is important to be seen as a ‘cultural fit’. This can include protocol such as using first names rather than titles and being aware that there is no hierarchy ‘ladder’ in many NZ workplaces. Particularly in small companies, employees are often expected to carry out a range of responsibilities, some of which will not be in their job description or will be outside their comfort zone. As most companies in NZ are small, it’s important to be flexible and not too attached to job titles.

Above all, be patient and don’t give up. Just remember that these things take time and the sooner you start the more successful you will be. Login to MyCDES to check out the range of CDES workshops and resources that can help you.