How to Write a CV that New Zealand Employers will Notice

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Did you know that resume formats differ from country to country?

You imagine yourself working in New Zealand right now! A work that will fulfill your family’s dream, or a work that can be an opportunity to live there. And then you realize and asked yourself, “why is it that I still don’t land any NZ job interview after months of sending resumes on and offline? I’m already tired!”

Job hunting can be tiring, but the question is, did you modify your resume? Do you think it already sounds excellent for Kiwis?


Most employers may look at similar experiences, skills, or qualities on their applicants, but resume formats differ from country to country, culture to culture!

Philippines, Singapore, or Germany firms may want to have a photo on your resume, but the UK, US, and Australia don’t require. European countries, China, and Japan prefers the inclusion of personal details, but the UK and US don’t! The US, Germany, and Europe may like a formal writing type, but China prefers a persuasive style while Japan wants a handwritten!

So if you want to stand out and be noticed by your Kiwi employers, maybe it’s about time to revamp and carefully check your CV! Here are New Zealand CV format tips that will help you!


1. They call it a CV, not resume! 

First things first. If we usually call the document that we send on job applications here in the Philippines as resume, in New Zealand they call it CV or Curriculum Vitae. So the next time you write or speak to your employer, use CV instead!


2. How long should your New Zealand CV be? 

Kiwi employers like to see your skills and experiences as a whole. So you can take a couple of pages, but the recommended is 2-3 pages long only. Not more than that!


3. Keep it simple and relevant.

You don’t need to put heavy text on your CV because Kiwi employers prefer simple and relevant. Don’t let them know your whole story and ended up on the last queue!  Below are the musts that you can keep in mind:

  • Include your name, contact number, address, and email address on the headline. Make sure that your contact number and email are updated.
  • Put your most relevant experience and skills at the top. You don’t need to worry on keeping it chronological. You need to show your employer that you have skills and experience related to what you’re applying!
  • Keep your CV easy to read. Recruiters will only take 15-20 seconds to scan yours, so you better keep it simple. Use black and easy-to-read font in one size. Use short sentences and bullets. Avoid abbreviations, slang, or jargon.
  • Don’t include your photo or any distracting graphics. Inclusion of photos can affect their decision-making.
  • Don’t include your birthday, age, marital status, religion.


4. Let your skills stand out! Give examples.

Don’t just list your skills. Give examples! It’s like describing to your employer what you did, how the specific activity was carried out, and what’s the result.

There are three types of skills that your Kiwi employers want. See below and how you can give an example:

  • Personal Traits.  These are the qualities and attitudes essential in the workplace and developed from childhood and through life experiences;  like being patient, a problem-solver, or an excellent communicator.

How to put in the CV:

Communication – presented training for team members twice a year with an overall learning rate of 90%.

Problem-solver – provide system on how to ensure 100% product quality.

  • Transferable/functional skills. These are general skills that you can take to any workplace, mostly actions taken to perform a task like analysis, writing, and organize.

How to put in the CV:

Writing – creates procedures and work instructions that serve as a reference for the company.

Data analysis – provides a database of all small businesses in the country, including contact name and number that serves as a reference for the salesperson increasing their productivity by 20%.

  • Knowledge-based or technical skills. This is knowledge special to perform a particular task and acquired through studying or training. Several examples are accounting, teaching, computer programming, and Photoshop.

How to put in the CV:

Accounting – Able to work with business intelligence software like IBM Cognos.

Photoshop – improve travel photos to a vibrant mode increasing 50% views per month on the website.


Remember, you don’t need to copy the examples above exactly as long as you’re able to portray what your employer is looking!

And if you plan to apply on different roles with different skill requirements, you need to create a new one. Keep several versions that are always relevant to a particular job!

Main tip: Read the specific job post, then extract the necessary skills you think is needed. From there, you can quickly start your CV!


5. References are important. 

End your CV with a high note! Kiwi employers ask for references, so you need to put two referees. Just like in the Philippines, this adds to your credibility. It also provides peace of mind to your employers, especially if you’re confident that they’ll speak positively.

Here’s what you need to include and remember:

  • Name of the referee
  • Their job role and company
  • Contact Number, make sure to include the correct country code if it’s not a New Zealand Contact
  • Email address, and
  • Don’t include family members, even if they have employed you


Make sure that all your referees’ details are updated. You can also inform them that you make them as your referees. In such a way, they are ready and won’t be shocked when your employer called them.


6. Keep it in pdf format. 

You don’t want to see it by your Kiwi employer in a mess, with misaligned text on a browser or mobile. You want to see it in a clean-designed CV, just like what you see at the moment they opened it!

So the next time you send your CV electronically, make sure it’s in a pdf format! Don’t submit a .doc format because this version is just for yourself, for editing purposes.


7. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes! 

Nope, not literally on the shoe! But you need to keep yourself on your employer’s position. Right after writing your CV, imagine that you are the employer and ask:

  • Is this CV a well-written one? An organized, not too long but straightforward?
  • Are the skills appropriate and relevant in my job post?


Always double-check and make sure that if you are the employer, you will be interested in the applicant and you are confident that the applicant is ready for the interview!


8. Write a cover letter.

If you haven’t tried to write a cover letter in sending your applications, it’s about time to include this!

A cover letter is a one-page sales pitch about why you are ideal on the job. In writing a cover letter, you’ll just briefly introduce yourself, your primary skills and experience that creates an argument on why they should choose you.

Make sure that you use a formal tone and persuasive type that matches the job post.


Generally, what to put in your CV?

Below are general details that must be included in your CV, according to Careers at NZ:

  • Name and contact details
  • Skills
  • Relevant work, community or volunteer experience
  • Qualifications and Education
  • Referees


While below ‘can’ also be included:

  • Objective
  • Achievements
  • Interests
  • Job-specific information


Remember that ‘can’ doesn’t always mean necessary.


Ready to land your first NZ job now?

Now that you already know how to follow a New Zealand CV format, go and pull off your dream job! Remember that developing a proper New Zealand CV format and cover letter will always get you an interview!

Hope this helps!  Best of luck!