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Overseas Candidates: Avoid These Four Key Mistakes When Applying for a Job in New Zealand

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​In my role with RobLawMax, I often speak with Construction and Engineering candidates from overseas who are looking to relocate to New Zealand. As somebody who has made the move myself, I know exactly why they’re interested. With our fantastic blend of natural beauty and urban convenience, and a relaxed lifestyle to boot, New Zealand is a prime location for those looking to leave the hustle and bustle behind.

That said, it’s not as easy as just deciding you want to come here and calling every recruiter in sight to try and make that happen! For me, a huge part of my role is the initial screening and contact process with candidates, and as such I see first-hand some of the mistakes that people make when putting themselves forward for roles. Here are a few of the major ones we often see, as well as how you can avoid them and put yourself in a better position to secure a role in New Zealand. 

Not Sending Through a New Zealand-ready CV

The CV is often our first impression of candidate, so it needs to be in order if you want to start off on the right foot. You could be a great candidate, perfect for the role, but if your CV doesn’t illustrate this then you’re unlikely to be successful. 

One issue here is that expectations of what a CV should look like differ depending on what part of the world you’re in. For example, I’m from Germany, and in Germany CVs are much shorter – mostly consisting of job title, company, and dates worked at the company. In New Zealand, employers want the CV to give more of an insight into the specific responsibilities of each role you’ve had, which can make for a very different kind of document!

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Making Contact in the Wrong Way

There are a few mistakes that people make when getting in touch with us that do their applications a huge disservice. Firstly, if you’re going to directly contact one of our recruiters, don’t just send them a blank email or LinkedIn message with your CV! Treat the first contact you send to us as a cover letter; introduce yourself and outline what you’re looking for, and you have a much better chance at being successful.

Secondly, don’t apply for every job on our website – it will only show us that you’re happy to apply for things that aren’t relevant! Pick one or two job listings that are the most appropriate and tailor your applications to the roles you’re applying for.

If you’ve taken these steps, then it’s likely that your application will catch our eye and we’ll get in touch with you to set up a Skype interview. Another big mistake people make is to not treat this like a “real” interview. While it might not be truly face to face, it certainly is a real interview, which means that you need to be prepared! Having no idea about the role, about RobLawMax and what we do, and about your eligibility to work in New Zealand, won’t look good – so be sure to educate yourself before the interview.

Not Realising How Different New Zealand Is

New Zealand is an incredible country that has many, many wonderful benefits. That said, it’s rare that someone moves over here with the singular goal of progressing their career. While we are in the midst of a serious boom in the Construction and Engineering sectors, New Zealand is a relatively small country of just four million people, and generally has less to offer in terms of salaries and scope than other, larger markets. There’s no doubt that the main benefit is lifestyle – and what a lifestyle it is! – so make sure you’re moving for the right reasons and be open-minded to what the country has to offer.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you may need to take one step back to take two steps forward. New Zealand-specific experience is a key detail for many employers, and while you might find yourself needing to prove yourself at first, this does pay off in the long run.

Naturally, there are also the regular growing pains that you might experience with moving to a new country and getting used to the differences. Moving here myself from Germany, one of the big things I needed to adjust to was the laid back attitude and the slower pace of life. While the relaxed atmosphere is generally a positive, it can also mean that people take a little longer to get back to you. 

Not Being Willing to Travel to New Zealand for Face-to-Face Interviews

This is the number one reason that we see rejections. As mentioned, we’ll always conduct initial Skype interviews with you, but the expectation is that you will come to New Zealand for face-to-face interviews if there is serious interest. We know that this is easier said than done and that it’s an expensive undertaking, but around 95% of those who don’t take this step are rejected, so it really is critically important if you’re looking to land a job here.

At RobLawMax we would never ask you to take on the expense of making that trip for nothing, either. We would only ask you to come to New Zealand if we were confident that you would be going home with an offer. One recent candidate booked flights within two weeks of us speaking to him, had three interviews over here, and got on the plane home with two separate job offers.

At RobLawMax we have a policy of being straightforward with people who apply with us – if we can’t help you, we won’t waste your time! Recruitment agencies can be a great benefit to you if you’re looking to live and work in New Zealand, as they can represent you over here and communicate with potential employers. As our connections are often directly with Hiring Managers, you’re often more likely to secure an interview this way. However, while it’s tempting, it’s not a good idea to apply with every agency over here. Being overseas, you want to doubly make sure you’re in control of what roles you’re being put forward for; you could find yourself being put forward to the same company multiple different recruiters, which could actually dilute your chances of getting a role.

Instead, do your research, and find one or two that you trust. If you’re looking to take your Construction and Engineering career to New Zealand, then we hope that’s us! Feel free to get in touch with me or the team to find out more about the opportunities we have on offer.