After living in Australia for a year I decided to hop over the Tasman and see what New Zealand had to offer. After an extensive job and house search in Auckland I was able to score a job with STA Travel and a lovely townhouse near to work.
With this blog post I was to share my job and house search in New Zealand and tips and tricks for landing the perfect situation for you.
Choose a direction
Moving to a new country can be daunting, especially if you don’t yet have a set plan in mind. Many people, myself included, travel to new Zealand on a working holiday visa which allows you to work and travel for up to 23 months.
During this time, you can work for a total of 12 months with as many employers as you wish. Whilst some will work a number of short-term jobs in different parts of the country, others will seek work that may boost their career and CV.
It is great to decide your direction early on and act accordingly. If you are looking for short-term work, head to the backpacker hostels and areas to ask around. Word of mouth is a great tool to use and you may find a helpful receptionist who knows of a job going.
Handing out CVs in coffee shops or bars is also a good way to gain attention and be memorable over a sea of travellers. If a place seems interested in you, ask for a rough time of when you can expect a call from them. If this deadline passes by it is always worth going into the place again to jog their memory. Never assume that they will stick to promises, with so many people passing through with CVs it can be hard for employers to remember everyone! I have worked part time jobs where there is a stack of CVs under the desk which rarely get looked at. It is the ones who come back and get their face recognised that are remembered.
If you are interested in a more long-term job these are in good supply in New Zealand. Although Covid-19 may change this, the job market in New Zealand is healthy with great opportunities to progress. Use recruiters in your field and job boards to search for suitable roles. I decided I wanted to work in travel so applied online for all my roles. I also signed up with a recruiter just in case I didn’t have any luck with the travel industry. Luckily, after a few weeks I started to get call backs
Research how best to present yourself in the job market there
Applying for a job is different for every country in the world. For example, when I was applying for roles in Australia, I learnt that it is preferred to attach a photo of yourself to your CV. This is rare in the UK but complying to small things like this will make your changes a lot higher.
A quick google of [insert country] CV will give you some tips on how to organise your CV to that country.
It is also a good idea to omit any jobs that do not really suit the role you’re going for. For example, if you are applying to work in a bar, that time you worked in a hostel in Thailand will be great experience. For a job in engineering, it might not be so appropriate.
New Zealand uses a few different job boards to advertise jobs. I used mainly Indeed.NZ and Seek. Both are good for giving you a wide basis of roles all over the country.
Research where you want to be based
When I moved to New Zealand, I had no idea where I wanted to be. I hadn’t really researched the country and only knew of the main cities. Don’t be like me! Give it a good deal of thought when you first decided to move to New Zealand and if you have a place in mind, move down there! You are much more likely to get a job in Queenstown if you are already there than applying remotely.
I applied for jobs all over the country but only got call backs for jobs based in Auckland. Since I was staying there at the time, I ended up staying in the city for the rest of the year. Although I enjoyed living in Auckland, after travelling the country, I felt I missed out on the laid-back Wellington lifestyle and backpacker haven of Queenstown.
Give yourself time
When I lived in Sydney, I found a job and an apartment within a week. This was most likely a bit of a fluke and I was very lucky. In New Zealand it took me just over a month to be offered a job with a start date two weeks from the offer. This lead to me taking up the offer of work in the hostel I was staying at to stay afloat. It took me a while to feel safe financially again after spending some much time without an income.
Come with the expectation that it may take a few weeks to find work, especially if you are looking for something more long-term.
Be aware of the Working Visa
Once you are settled into life in New Zealand and enjoying your new lifestyle and work, it is good to know about the opportunities open to you to extend this experience. Your working holiday visa is valid for 23 months, but you can only work for up to 12 months of this time.
If you and your employer would like you to stay working for longer than this, it is a good idea to investigate the working holiday visa. You company does not have to sponsor you, but they do need to prove that you can do the job better than a native Kiwi. Your job will need to advertise on job boards for a select amount of time and you will to be asked to attend interviews potentially. After this is over though, you will have another year on your visa to work and this can be extended for another few years until the option of citizenship becomes available.
The work visa process is a lot easier than that of Australia and your company does not have to pay to keep you. It is therefore a viable option for you if you find yourself in a role you’d like for longer than a year.
Research the area
This is a given, but it is great to do some extensive research of the area you are planning to settle in. Where is the nearest supermarket and other conveniences? If you want to socialise, are there any bars or pubs nearby. If you like heading outside for exercise or a walk is there a park or green space nearby?
This is unique to every person so make sure you choose the suburb or place depending on your requirements. When I got my job in Mount Wellington, Auckland, I chose to base myself in Point England. This was a 20-minute bus ride away and my house was a 10-minute walk to the beach with an amazing sidewalk along the estuary. Shops and a direct link to the city centre were another 10 minutes’ walk away so for me this area suited me perfectly.
The draw backs were the lack of social life in the area and the higher level of crime. However, when making my decision I weighed everything up and found that this area best suited me and my lifestyle. I perhaps didn’t socialise as much as I would have if I had lived in the city, but I enjoyed coming back to a quiet and relaxing neighbourhood.
Use Trademe and Facebook
These were my two best friends when searching for a home in New Zealand. Facebook moves quickly and posts are updated by house mates looking for a new roommate everyday. All you have to do is send a message to the advertiser and arrange a viewing. This is especially good for those wanting a short-term property.
Trade Me also had many listings and was more frequented by professionals, single lodgings and long-term rentals. I found my house on this website and was expected to stay in the property for the long-term which I did. It was advertised by the main rent holder and not the landlord itself although this varies from listing to listing.
Always make sure you tell someone where you are going for a house viewing just to be safe.
Show yourself in the best light possible
When contacting a listing or making your way to a viewing remember that this is your opportunity to impress each other.
Presenting yourself as a reliable, tidy, and friendly tenant will make your potential new housemates warm to you a lot quicker. In return they should hopefully make a good impression and be willing to talk a little about themselves as they show you around the house.
Try not to be late and make as much conversation as you can to see if both you and renter will be right for each other, just like a blind date!
Be aware of deposits
This is a given with most rentals and depends on the listing. Some will ask for a key deposit and others will ask for two weeks rent up front. Make sure you have budgeted for this as it can be over $1000 NZD depending on the property. Also make sure you are aware of what you can claim back when you leave the agreement and be sure to get it back.
I know a few people who forgot they gave a $600 deposit at the beginning of a tenancy and never got it back because they never chased it!
Check your contracts
Again, every tenancy is different, but if there is a contract make sure to read it. It is also good to get someone in the household to write up a contract so everyone is clear on what is expected of them. Since my home was rented by the main tenants and I rented the room from them, they could dictate how much I paid.
When we had a housemate leave a few months into my tenancy, my rent went up which would not usually happen if I just had a contract for the room.
I hope these tips help you secure your ideal home and job in New Zealand and help you to not make the blunders or mistakes I made! If you go with a plan and some motivation I am sure that you will succeed in making your dream a reality!