Careers advice

Finding a job in a new city

Some important steps to follow.

One of the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic here in New Zealand is that the employment market has gotten more competitive.

In turn, that can mean you need to look further afield in your hunt for a job.

We understand that finding a job in a new city 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. Do your 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. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

6 ...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.