Kiwi CV’s & Cover Letters – Top Tips

Welcome to New Zealand!  Have you just arrived here or just returned after many years away?  Don’t know what employers or recruiters expect in a CV/cover letter?  Maybe you have already been told that your CV is unsuitable for the New Zealand market.  We have a few little tips and thoughts that may just make the difference in getting that great new Kiwi job….

Work Visa Status

The first thing you need to think about is the Kiwi employer.  You need to make it as easy as possible for them to understand your right to work here in New Zealand.  If you have a work permit, shout about it at the top of the page, because this means you can start working immediately without any delay, which is great news for you and the employer.   If you don’t have a visa, then you need to specify in your covering letter what you are doing about it, and how quickly you will expect to have your application approved if it has been lodged.  If you have received an approved ‘Expression of Interest’ from the Immigration Department, then you need to mention that in the covering letter.


Many people apply for positions while they are still overseas, and others have moved here but haven’t made their location clear on the CV.  So when an employer or recruiter looks at CVs from people with overseas work experience, it can’t be assumed that you are already here and available straight away.  So, when applying for positions, ensure that your current location is on your CV as well as your cover letter. 

Availability by Phone

It would also be helpful if you are easily reachable by phone, and if you are out and about this can be tricky without a mobile phone.  If you don’t have a mobile phone, it often adds to delays in contacting you, meaning that opportunities may be passed on to the next applicant.  To ensure you are accessible through the day, try and get a mobile phone from a friend or family member just while you are looking for work.  If you are able to do this, make sure this current mobile phone number is on your CV in a prominent place, instead of any overseas phone numbers that you may have previously mentioned.  This minor point is often overlooked.

Availability for Interview

Just because you have arrived in Auckland, it doesn’t mean that you will only consider roles in Auckland.  If you are interested in roles in other locations throughout New Zealand, make that clear in the cover letter.  You could also state that you are available for interview via skype.  Skype is free to register for, and adding a skype address can speed up an initial interview process. 

English Language Skills

When reading overseas CVs, employers and recruiters will not always understand the level of your English written/verbal skills as your CV may have been prepared by a third party.  If you have undergone an English Ability Test (IELTS), make sure you mention the score so readers will be aware of your level of understanding. 


If you have been advised by immigration about the equivalent qualification level of your education, then state this in brackets.  For example, if you have a bachelor degree in a subject, perhaps this is only the same as a diploma in that same subject in New Zealand, or maybe it is higher than our rating.  This comparison will help the reader to know what level your qualification is matched to by New Zealand standards.

Work Experience

Time is a major challenge for most employers and recruiters these days.  You need to make your information as easy to follow as possible.  So when listing your work experience, make the details as clear and logical as you can.  Look at the dates, are there any gaps?  If so, explain briefly what happened during that time.  Look at the companies, and make it clear what type of business they were, as many employers and recruiters may not be familiar with those companies here.

Another consideration is to write abbreviations in full so readers can understand what you are talking about. 

In Summary

You should now have all that you need to get started.  And don’t forget to ask a Kiwi friend to read through the document as they should be more objective about your background and possibly notice things that you may have missed.

The biggest challenge in writing a CV and cover letter for the Kiwi job market is trying to adapt it for each role.  There are many other techniques to this, which Kiwis will also find challenging. 

To overcome this challenge, you may benefit from approaching a CV writing professional, such as Tango Talent, to help you on your way.