Careers advice

Relocating for a job in NZ: what you need to consider

Thinking about moving for a job? There’s a lot to consider before you book the removal van.

Relocating for a job is common in New Zealand. There are radically different opportunities available in centres like Auckland or Christchurch compared with the regions, and there are many reasons you might be considering a change of scene.

But one thing all successful relocations have in common is planning. Moving for a job is a big call, and a little bit of preparation goes a long way to getting it right first time.

Let’s have a look at the important considerations, and how to talk about relocation in your CV and cover letter.

Relocating for a job: checklist

1. Is this role really for you?

Even if you weren’t relocating, this is an important question to ask yourself before moving companies. However, it takes on even more significance when there’s a move at stake.

The best way to answer it is to consider why you’re changing jobs in the first place. Does this new role fill in the blanks of what’s currently missing, or at least is it a solid step in the right direction? Answering ‘yes’ to those questions is important, as it can be a lot more complicated to think again if you’ve already made the move and things haven’t worked out.

2. Is the company stable?

Even if the job looks like a dream, it’s a big red flag if the company has a rapid staff turnover, or has recently let a bunch of people go. If you can, do some digging on review sites, or speak to contacts who might have inside info on the organisation and its financial stability.

3. How will the move impact those around you?

Generally, relocating for a job is a lot easier for a young, single person compared to someone with family commitments like children or older parents. However, no matter which of these categories you fall into, we highly recommend you talk with your friends and family about the possible move. Even if they don’t have any massive concerns, getting a second opinion from someone who knows you well can help you notice things about the relocation you might have missed.

Of course, if you do have a partner and/or kids, you’ll need to discuss:

  • What job opportunities exist for them?
  • Have they been working towards a position for a while that they’d lose out on if you moved?
  • How disruptive the move might be for schooling, and how good are the schools on offer?
  • How good is the overall quality of life for everyone in your potential destination?
  • Potential moving dates.

Just bear in mind that while you may have been considering relocation for a while, if you haven’t mentioned it before, it will likely come as a shock. So it’s important everyone tries to understand each others’ views, and no one feels they’re being pushed into something. A list of pros and cons is always a good idea for weighing up your options!

How would moving impact your family?

4. Will your salary cover the costs of living?

A lot of what you’re answering here builds towards the overall question of ‘is relocating for a job worth it?’. One of the most important parts of working this out is establishing if your potential salary will cover the costs of living.

It’s all very well if the new job comes with an extra $10,000 a year in your pay packet, but what does this translate to in real terms? Employment hubs like Wellington and Auckland have the country’s highest rental costs, but wherever you’re looking at, you need to have a solid understanding of the price of essentials like groceries, fuel and household bills.

5. Have you done a recce?

We advise against committing to a relocation if you’ve never visited the area before. While online research is great, it’s hard to know if you’d be happy living in a location you’ve never visited.

A quick trip gives you a chance to scope out important amenities like supermarkets, transport links and recreation facilities, as well as properties you might end up living in! It also means you won’t fall victim to catfishing by local councils who know how to market their district online.

How to mention relocation in a job application

On your Trade Me Jobs Profile, it’s easy to indicate the areas of New Zealand you’re searching for work in. Make sure you keep this section up to date with where you’re open to working, so employers know you’re serious about being willing to relocate.

We also recommend addressing the relocation directly, but briefly, in your cover letter. You can do this easily by expanding the part of the cover letter where you’d normally talk about why the role and industry appeals to you, to include what draws you to the region. For example, “I’ve been eyeing a move to Christchurch for some time, but have been holding out for the right role”.

We advise mentioning relocation briefly in your cover letter.

Organising a job interview when you don’t live locally

If you get through to the interview stage, the employer will have worked out from your cover letter that you aren’t just down the road.

There’s a good chance they’ll simply set up a phone or video interview, many companies got used to interviewing remotely during Level 4 lockdown, but some may be keen to meet face-to-face. In these cases, you’ll need to work with them to figure out logistics and timeframes.

Hopefully, the job ad will make it clear if the company is willing to pay the costs of your interview travel. If it doesn’t, this is a legitimate question to ask – just be prepared that they might say no. In this case, it’s up to you to weigh the costs of travel vs. how much you want the job.

Do most companies pay for relocation?

If you’re successful, the company might offer what’s known as a job relocation package. Basically, this means they’ll help you cover the expense of moving. Generally, these packages cover all or some of these costs:

  • Transport: the cost of getting to your new location. This often also includes a moving truck for your clobber.
  • Temporary accommodation: this could be a rental or a hotel, usually for the period where you’re searching for a new house.
  • Storage units: during the same time, you’ll likely need somewhere to store your belongings.
  • A house-finding trip: before you move, the company might pay for you to travel to their location to hunt for a property.
  • Home buying/selling: think real estate commissions and other costs associated with purchasing or selling a home.

Before you get too excited, a job relocation package isn’t guaranteed. In fact, we’d advise not asking about it until late in the hiring process – perhaps in a second interview, or as part of your salary negotiations. Making a big deal about it too early on could be off-putting to the employer, so wait until they’re realised how essential you are to their team.