Tips for creating a New Zealand-style CV

You may already have a CV, but its style, length and content may be quite different from CVs in New Zealand. These tips will help you write your CV in a style that New Zealand employers prefer.

1. Keep it short

Your current CV may include information about every job or course you've ever done but, in New Zealand, CVs are usually only two to three pages long. Employers mainly want to know if you can do the job.

Your CV should include:

  • your contact details
  • work experience that is relevant to the job you want
  • your skills that are relevant to the job.

You can use our CV templates or our CV-writing tool, CV Builder, to help you write your own CV.

People suggested that my CV was not what New Zealand employers would look at. In India we prepare a CV in a different way – we give all our experience right from day one. Here, nobody likes to read a story!

Darshan Desai

Darshan Desai

From India

2. Give examples of your skills

When writing about your skills, don't just list them – make sure that you give examples of how you've used each skill.

Identify what you did, the setting in which the activity was carried out, and what happened as a result.

For example:

Customer service skills - managed a busy bookstore and twice achieved a 95% grading during the annual mystery shopper survey.

For more examples, see our page about describing transferable skills in your CV. Transferable skills are skills that you have that are useful in many types of jobs. For example, communication or being able to work well under pressure.

3. Make sure your CV is up to date

If you want an employer to contact you, you need to keep your CV up to date with your latest address and telephone number.

  • Include the phone number that you are most easily contacted on, whether it's a landline or cellphone number.
  • Check that you have a suitable answerphone message.
  • Include an email address on your CV. If you don't have an email address, set one up.

4. Include referee contact details

Most New Zealand employers will ask for two referees who they can contact to ask about your work. Make sure that the contact details for your referees are current, and check this by contacting them yourself. Tell them about your plans and ask them to read your CV – you may get some good advice from them.

Some New Zealand employers prefer you to have New Zealand work experience. If you are having trouble finding work, consider taking an entry-level job or doing voluntary work. This can also be a source of referees.

5. Put yourself in the employer's place

Once you've written your CV it's important to ask yourself these three key questions:

  1. When an employer scans my CV, will they think "This CV looks interesting"?
    Employers have to sort and reduce a pile of CVs to shortlists of two or three people. They will respond better to a clear, well laid-out CV than a long, disorganised one.
  2. When an employer reads my CV fully, will they think "This person has skills we need"?
    Employers are looking for someone who matches the job description. Adjust and target your CV to highlight things that fit the job you are applying for.
  3. When an employer is shortlisting CVs will they think "This person is worth meeting"?
    Employers are thinking about what you can offer them. Give people a sense of who you are and what you do best.

6. Get it checked

It is important to get someone else to check your CV to see that it makes sense, is well formatted and has no spelling or grammatical mistakes.

7. Write a cover letter

When you send your CV to an employer, make sure you include a cover letter. Your cover letter should:

  • explain why you want the job
  • explain what you can offer the employer
  • highlight skills, qualifications and experience that you have that match the job.

Updated 4 Nov 2020