Careers advice

Where to find great writing jobs in NZ

Get paid to put pen to paper.

Last updated: 21 March 2024

Writing is one of those universal skills that’s valued in many professions, even if it’s not the main thrust of the role you were hired for. But what if you’re looking for a job where it is the core of what you do?

Well, despite the rise in natural language processing tools like ChatGPT, there are still many avenues if you want a writing job. Here, we’ll run through just some of the options open to you, so you can put your wordsmithery to use in writing your fairytale career.

Options for writing careers in Aotearoa New Zealand

1. Copywriting jobs

Got the chops to craft eye-grabbing, punchy and memorable copy? Copywriting jobs might be the career choice for you. Businesses of all shapes and sizes hire copywriting staff to help them reach and engage with their target audiences. This could be through writing blogs, creating eye-ball friendly advert headlines or even creating scripts for videos and podcasts.

If you know there’s a particular industry you really want to work in – for example, you’re dead set on writing about fashion – you could look for content production or copywriting roles for a specific company. However, if variety is more your thing, you might want to look at copywriting agencies. Agency writers can turn their hands to writing on just about everything, meaning that no two days are the same. It’s worth knowing, however, that agency writing jobs can be high pressure environments, where you also have to deal with client relationships and constant deadlines. It’s a great way to hone your skills, but be prepared for a fast-paced workplace.

As a copywriter, you'll work closely with product managers and other marketing professionals to craft a compelling narrative.

2. Technical writing jobs

Technical writers aim to take complex information, commonly about high-tech products, and strip out all of the jargon and confusing terminology to make it understable to the people who need to use it. Think how-to guides, instruction manuals and troubleshooting documents.

For technical writers, the emphasis is on clarity and understandability rather than being clever or attention grabbing with their copy. This stuff isn’t going to be plastered on billboards or served up as digital ads, it’s going to be carefully and methodically studied by people who just want to use their new product or service effectively.

3. Journalism jobs

All of the journalism we consume on a daily basis involves writing. This is obvious when we’re reading something on the likes of RNZ, The Spinoff or Stuff, but there are scripts that need to be written for daily and nightly news and current affairs programs too, all of which require skilled writers.

Journalism can be a hugely rewarding career, and again provides heaps of opportunities for specialisation. If you go into news journalism, you’ll be providing valuable public service by keeping the country up-to-date with the stories that impact them. Or, alternatively, you could choose to follow your passion to write for publications focussing on everything from music to art to wildlife and beyond.

Of course, as with any desirable career, there’s a fair amount of competition for good journalism jobs, so you may have to ‘do your time’ writing about topics you’re less passionate about before you land the dream role. But the skills, experience and connections you’ll build up along the way will be invaluable.

Journalists play a cruical role in communicating the big stories to their audiences.

4. Screenwriting jobs

Many writers dream of having their work immortalised on the screen, and more still (who maybe won’t admit it) have the first draft of a screenplay saved somewhere on an old memory stick.

However, this is very different to actually holding ambitions of applying for and securing a screenwriting job. This is a highly competitive industry, and one you’re unlikely to crack in the short-term. However, screenplays are written, and thus there are screenwriters out there somewhere. So, if this is your dream, then go for it!

A few useful tips when it comes to positioning yourself for screenwriting jobs include:

  • Study your craft: think of shows where you really admire the writing, and study the screenplays. What is it that you like? How are the writers achieving their desired impacts on the audience? What makes it memorable?
  • Developing a portfolio: you’re going to need a lot more than one script if you’re serious about getting into screenwriting. Take your time to develop several ideas (and see them through to completion).
  • Network: look to build connections not only with other writers, so you can learn from each other, but also with others in the film and TV industry who might help you get your foot in the door.
  • Get into the industry: so many successful screenwriters started off taking other jobs in the film industry, even if they’re nothing to do with writing. Immersing yourself in this world is the best way to start to understand what’s likely to get noticed and what will probably fly under the radar. It will also help you to start to build up those all important connections.
  • Take part in competitions: these take place both nationally and internationally, and are a great way to get your scripts in front of other people. Even if you don’t win, you may receive some useful feedback that will help you improve your work.
Keen to write your next career chapter?
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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.