30 November 2016

5 tips on how to get a job in New Zealand after graduation

Cherry Huang
Chinese graduate
Last updated: 21 January 2022

An international graduate in New Zealand shares her top job hunting tips.

1. Experience matters

International students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while studying in New Zealand. Check your visa status and if you are eligible to work while study, make sure you make full use of this right to gain local experience. Don’t confine your job hunting to paid jobs, volunteer experience is also a great way to broaden your horizons and make friends, and makes a great addition to your CV to show the whole you to the employer. If you are struggling to find a major-related job, try volunteering as it may open a door to many exciting opportunities and be an added plus to your CV. I would recommend student job search and the university’s career hub to kick start your job search as a student. Seek.co.nz and gradconnection are better for professional job hunting after graduation.

2. Customize your CV and cover letter

A CV and cover letter should reflect who you are and why you are the best person for the role. First impressions count - make sure your CV is up to date and tailored to suit before you send it out. At the very beginning of my job hunting, I sent out heaps of CVs every day but never heard anything back – I thought one CV fitted all and all I needed to do was to keep applying - that is wrong! 

Read through the job description prior to your application and make sure your CV hits the attributes/skills the job requires. I was struggling when it came to updating my CV and cover letter so I found that the CV checking service being offered by Vic’s career office helped me a lot. If you need CV/career advice don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get locals to check your CV for you to ensure that every sentence makes sense. 

3. Attitude is everything

Show your passion, enthusiasm and willingness to learn all the time. If you don’t have the skills or experience, attitude could be the thing to get you a job. Your can-do attitude could make you a strong candidate. 

4. Keep networking

Networks get you jobs. Most of the jobs require you to be a team player, everyone has their networks, but not everyone is good at networking. Your class, your workplace and your social media platforms are good options for networking. Catch up with your friends, classmates and colleagues when you can – don’t be a stranger. 

5. Keep trying - hard work pays off

Job hunting can be tough but don’t give up, hard work pays off. As an international student, you may be eligible for a post-study work visa upon graduation. Remember to apply for this work visa within three months from the date you complete your degree. 

Immigration New Zealand

Information on staying to work after study
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About the contributors
Cherry Huang
Chinese graduate

Cherry Huang studied at Victoria University, Wellington. After graduating she worked at Education New Zealand as an intern.