Careers advice

Finding a job in a new city

Some important steps to follow.

Looking for a job in a new city can be an exciting prospect. You get the novelty of starting a new role, with the added bonus of a new area of our beautiful country to explore. 

However, there’s no denying that finding a job in a new city can be more complicated than in an area you’re familiar with. You don’t know the lie of the land, you may have left most of your professional network behind, and you’re still getting used to how things work in your new locale.

We understand this process can be daunting, so we’ve pulled together some top tips to help you navigate this situation, and hopefully improve your chances of landing a role you love.

Moving to a new city without a job: some steps to follow

First of all, some good news. Applying for jobs in a new city isn’t like learning an entirely new language. Many of the normal rules of job applications still apply, so we’d recommend you start out by re-familiarising yourself with the standard steps in applying for a job in New Zealand.

With that out of the way, now we can look at some of the specifics:

1. Talk it over properly

Even if you think that moving to a new city to find a job is a great plan, your family might have other ideas. One of the most common reasons why relocating for work fails is when the rest of the family hasn’t bought into the move, and end up being dissatisfied.

In Point Three, we talk about how to research employment opportunities in a new city, and (for couples) this should apply to both of you. It’s no good moving to an employment hub for one of your sectors, only to find there’s nothing at all that the other person wants to do. It needs to be a compromise.

Equally, if you have kids, you need to ensure that you’re happy with the calibre of the schooling opportunities present for them, and that it’s somewhere you’ll be happy for them to grow up in

2. Consider your finances

Another crucial element of your planning should involve looking at how moving to a new city would work with your budget. You need to consider things like:

  • The costs of moving.
  • The costs of property rental/purchase in your current location vs. where you’re considering moving.
  • Any differences in the costs of living expenses between the two locations.

3. Do your job research

If you’re moving solely for the purpose of employment, it’s worth doing your homework on where you should go. So, what’s the best city in New Zealand for jobs and opportunities?

Well, it’s not as simple as that.  It should come as no surprise that certain regions are better for certain sectors – we can guarantee that you’ll find more software developer roles in Wellington than you will in Te Anau, for example, but perhaps there will be fewer openings for walking tour guides. So when you’re researching which city to move to in order to give you the best chance of landing a role in your sector, you need to take this into account.

Top tip: if you’re not sure how to start this research process, one way is by searching the job you’re looking for on Trade Me Jobs, and then looking at the number of listings that come up for each region (or district). 

For example, if you search “plumber” with the ‘Location’ field set to “All Locations”, you’ll be taken to a results page for all our current plumbing jobs in New Zealand. You can then use the dropdown ‘Location’ menu to compare how many listings there are for each area.

Think about what you want to do, and where's the best place to do it.

4. Send the right signals to employers

So much of recruiting is online these days, so you need to let employers know that you’re looking for opportunities in a new region(s). 

One of the simplest ways to do this is by updating the information in your Trade Me Jobs Profile. As well as updating your “Preferred Location” in the “Your Next Role” section of the profile, make sure your uploaded CV also indicates that you’re open to opportunities outside of where you’ve recently been based. 

To make it more obvious that you’re looking to relocate, you could even add a line into the “Summary” section of your profile that makes it clear to employers that you’d consider their offer, even if it involves relocation.

5. Update your CV and cover letter

Both your CV and cover letter should include your physical postal address. If you’ve already moved to a new city without a job, all you need to do is update the address on both of these documents so that it shows you’re local and ready to come in for a job interview.

If you’re still living where you’ve been for a while, but are looking to move away, it’s important to add a line into your cover letter that signals to the reader that you’re prepared to relocate.

6. Be prepared to travel for a job interview

While we now live in a world of Zoom calls and Google Hangouts, some businesses will want to play things old school and invite candidates in for in-person job interviews. 

The obvious downside of this is the cost (and hassle) involved, especially if you’re looking at covering some serious distance in order to make it to the job interview. 

However, if the job looks like a good fit for you, it’s worth it. Of course, if you’re not sure this is the right role, you don’t have to go and can politely make your excuses.

If it's a job you really want, be prepared to travel for it.

5. Talk to your network

New Zealand isn’t the biggest of countries, so there’s a good chance you already know someone, or your mum’s colleague’s dog knows someone, in the town or city you’re moving to.

Even if they’re not working in the same field as you’re hoping to find a job in, it’s worth reaching out to them and trying to meet up for a chat. You never know, their flatmate, friend or partner could be in charge of recruitment in a company you’d love to work for. 

Equally, if you know someone who used to work in the area, the more insights and information you can gather about your options and who you should be talking to, the better.

8 ...and grow that network

As well as engaging with your existing contacts, it never hurts to increase your professional network. 

This could involve:

  • Attending designated networking events.
  • Doing some research of the companies you’d like to work for, and finding out the key players.
  • Asking for professional introductions from people you already know.