How do I find work?
Start by doing some research into which industries and sectors are important here in Southland, and which ones are needing skilled people.
The Southland Jobs Portal is a great place to start. It pulls together vacant roles from multiple websites to display all current job vacancies in Southland in one place.
Applying for jobs
In New Zealand, you generally need a CV and cover letter when applying for jobs. New Zealand employers prefer a certain style of curriculum vitae (CV) from job seekers. If you are from overseas, this may be different from the style that you are used to. For example, it is not a good idea to list every job or course that you have ever done. It is better to give examples of how you have used your skills in the past, rather than just listing them without evidence. It is important to present yourself positively as a potential employee, but also not to appear boastful about your achievements.
Write a cover letter and include it with your CV whenever you apply for a job. This is a one-page sales pitch about why you think you are ideal for the job. A cover letter briefly introduces you, explains your main skills and experience, and makes an argument for why you are the right person for the specific job. You need to use a formal and persuasive style when writing a cover letter. Prepare a tailored letter that matches the job description for every job you apply for.
In order to start your job, you will need to have:
- Citizenship or residency of New Zealand or Australia, OR a work visa
- IRD number
- Bank account number
Before you start work, your employer will give you an employment contract. An employment contact helps the employee and employer to know what is expected from them and what they’re entitled to. This will state your agreed wage and must be signed by both the employer and the employee. If you are unsure about signing your employment contract or just want a second opinion, contact a local employment lawyer or the Community Law Centre.
Increasing your success in the Southland job market
New Zealand (especially Southland) is a small place. It is often said when looking for a job it’s "who you know, rather than what you know" so it is important to build relationships and connections with people in your sector. Employers often rely on word of mouth and recommendations from other employers when they are looking to hire new staff.
In New Zealand, 80% of job vacancies are never advertised, so it's important to ask around and use your existing relationship networks when looking for work.
Avoid sending your CV to every employer in the region in the hope that someone will give you a job. It will not assist your chances of finding suitable work but rather undermine how serious you are finding the right job.
Provide a covering letter which goes with your tailored CV, addressed to the person managing the hiring process, this often the office or human resources manager.
Keep your CV down to two pages and focus on your technical skills, transferable skills, relevant qualifications and experience. Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for and be as specific as possible. Sell yourself, your success in the roles you have held in employment and your skills, not your degree.
Southland is a laid back country and things may move at a slower pace than you may expect. You may not get an immediate response to your application, timeframes may be extended more than once and your messages may not be returned. Don’t make a pest of yourself but proactively stay on top of things and try to be patient.
Sometimes you may not get a lot of notice for an interview. If you get an interview, make sure you have done your research on the company and position you have applied for. It’s better to know too much than not enough.