Navigating the job hunt in New Zealand as a foreigner

Find some tips and guidance on how to find a job in New Zealand as a migrant worker from personal experience of a once temporary visa holder, and now permanent resident.

Moving to a new country can be an exciting adventure, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Having experienced the journey myself, starting in New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa, I understand the struggles that come with finding a job and transitioning to an employer-supported work visa. If you're currently facing a tough and discouraging job hunt, don't lose hope! In this blog post, I want to share my personal experience as a a temporary worker and how it ultimately led me to another work visa. So here are some tips from a once-temporary worker, now permanent resident perspective:

1. Remember, you’re not alone!

First and foremost, understand that many migrants in New Zealand have faced similar challenges when looking for employment. The process can be competitive, and it's not uncommon to face rejection before finding the right opportunity. I've previously written a blog post about managing your mental health in New Zealand, and it's important to stay positive and remain focused on your goals.

2. Get to know the local job market

You must familiarize yourself with the New Zealand job market. Research industries that align with your skills and qualifications, and identify sectors with high demand for your expertise. Stay updated on immigration policy changes, job portals, professional networking sites, and industry-specific platforms. Immigration New Zealand has a Green List where you can see all the occupations that are in shortage and would have direct pathways to work visas and eventually residence visas.

3. Tailor your resume and cover letter

Ensure that your resume and cover letter are tailored specifically for the New Zealand job market. Highlight your relevant skills and experiences, emphasizing any achievements or qualifications that set you apart. Here are some resources to help you create a New Zealand-style resume. Additionally, meticulously proofread your documents and ask a friend to double-check them to avoid any grammar or spelling mistakes that could create a negative impression.

4. Network, network, network!

Reach out to your friends, family, and/or colleagues who live in New Zealand. See if they know of any job openings or can introduce you to relevant contacts. Remember, New Zealand is a country of just 5 million people, so it's highly likely that someone you know will have connections to job opportunities. Utilise online platforms like our job listings, LinkedIn, Seek, and Indeed to search for jobs and connect with recruiters. Create a compelling online job profile, optimise it with relevant keywords, and showcase your skills and experiences. Attend industry events and meetups to expand your network and gain insights into potential job opportunities.

5. Customise your job search approach

Instead of solely relying on online job portals, explore other avenues as well. Reach out directly to companies you're interested in working for, even if they don't have any advertised vacancies. Many organisations appreciate proactive individuals and may consider creating a position for the right candidate.

6. Invest in upskilling

Consider investing time in acquiring new skills or improving your existing ones. Take advantage of online courses, webinars, or workshops to enhance your qualifications. Read more about finding jobs in New Zealand. This way, even if you find yourself not working in your usual industry, you can demonstrate your commitment to self-improvement and showcase your adaptability.

7. Remain resilient and adaptable

The job market can be unpredictable, and setbacks are a part of the process. Don't let rejections discourage you. Instead, take them as opportunities to learn and grow. Stay open-minded, be willing to explore different industries or roles, and adapt your approach based on feedback and market trends.

I understand that it can be overwhelming, but the effort is worth it. If you persist and stay determined, you'll eventually find the job you're looking for.

Reflecting on my personal experience, I've come to realise the tremendous benefits of seeking assistance from Licensed Immigration Advisers and recruiters during the process of transitioning to a new country. I personally regret not taking advantage of the resources available through companies like Trinity Employment Services when I initially arrived. Had I asked for help earlier, knowing the expertise of our recruitment and immigration teams now, I believe my journey could have been much smoother and caused fewer heartaches.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and find yourself struggling with the complexities of the job hunt or the immigration process, don't hesitate to seek assistance from professionals who can provide personalised guidance. At Trinity Employment Services, we understand the challenges you may be facing, and we're here to help.

We have recruiters who might be able to assist in finding a job for you. We have Licensed Immigration Advisers who are well-versed in immigration laws and regulations and can provide invaluable support in planning out your visa options, determining visa eligibility criteria, and navigating the visa application processes. We can offer tailored solutions based on your unique circumstances and goals, easing the stress and uncertainty that often accompanies the immigration process.

Good luck with your job hunt and future endeavours in New Zealand!


- Angeli Lagonoy, Licensed Immigration Adviser at Trinity