New Zealand

How I Landed A Job In New Zealand

July 31, 2015

Before graduating university, I heard horror stories:

“There are no jobs!”

“I’ve applied to hundreds of places but no one is getting back to me!”

“I swear, no one is hiring!”

I had friends that were unemployed for months after graduating college. So when I landed a job 8,000 miles away (before I even graduated), most people were pretty shocked. “How did you even find that job?”

That is the power of Google, my friend.

After deciding where in New Zealand I wanted to live (hours of Googling), I Googled “Public Relations Agency in Nelson, New Zealand.” This brought up a few different results. There were 6 agencies that came up. I emailed 4 of them. Three responded, two not hiring and one magical email from my current boss who said this was perfect timing because she was looking for help as she expanded the company. Eek!

We emailed back and forth for about a month, Skyped once, and then she hired me as a Junior Consultant for her company. This is basically my dream job because 1) I am in New Zealand, 2) I have a flexible schedule, 3) my boss is cool as hell, and 4) did I mention that I AM IN NEW ZEALAND!?!?

You may be thinking…“wow, that sounds too good to be true!” Well, I got really lucky. Or maybe it was just the fact that I work my ass off in college and have the skills to land a job like this. All the internships….all the student organizations….all the blood, sweat, and tears finally paid off. Ok it wasn’t that bad but it was extremely stressful.

If you want to work abroad in New Zealand, I recommend looking on Trade Me (New Zealand’s Craigslist). New Zealand has a list of skill shortages list which you can find here. They were offering a $3,000 sign-on bonus for engineers to help with the rebuilding of Christchurch after the earthquake in 2010 (hint, hint NDSU engineers!!!). As I mentioned in How to Get a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand, companies like BUNAC can get you access into job boards that have companies looking for temporary workers.

If you aren’t able to find a job in your field, there are other options that might not pay, but give you another resource in exchange. WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) allows you to work on an organic farm in exchange for accommodations and/or food. This is a great option if you want to travel long-term. is similar to WWOOFing but you don’t necessarily have to work on a farm. People from all over the world post what they need help with and what they are willing to exchange for your help. There are many opportunities such as tutoring, maintenance, building things, website management, taking care of animals, and much more. The exchange is typically free accommodations and food but you might be able to find some other options as well.

There are a lot of different options when it comes to working abroad. I encourage you to do a bit of your own Googling to see what sort of options there are in your field. Even if you have to take a farming or waitressing job for a few months, I think it’s totally worth it if you get to explore the world.

Have you worked abroad? If you could work abroad anywhere in the world, where would you choose? I’d love to hear from you – leave your comment below!


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  • Reply Katie Meehan November 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Haley! Love your blog and all the helpful info you’ve put together here.Congrats on finding your dream job in NZ :)

    You mentioned your job allows you a flexible schedule – does this mean they allowed you to work part time/fewer hours a week? Or what about it has been flexible? Do you feel you’re able to enjoy a healthy work-life balance?

    Also, how were you able to negotiate your salary? Do you feel like you’re making enough to live comfortably? Any info you can share would be great.


    • Reply Haley Johnson January 17, 2017 at 3:44 am

      Hi, Katie! Life has been crazy lately so I’m sorry for just now getting back to you.

      My job had different amounts of hours depending on the time of year (PR and marketing needs go down in the summer). In the NZ winter, spring, and fall I had 30-40 hours per week but in the summer it was 20-30 hours. If I wanted to have a long weekend to travel somewhere I was able to take an extra day or two off. Although this was mostly because I had a more professional job rather than one in hospitality. Not sure if you’d find the same flexibility working in a restaurant or hostel. In general though, I’d say jobs in NZ allow for a great work-life balance.

      I didn’t really negotiate my salary, I basically took what was offered because I felt it was fair for my experience. I was making enough to live ok (it wasn’t much more than the minimum wage in NZ, although I did get a small raise part way through the year) – my problem is with spending hehe. Hope that helps xx

  • Reply VaismanD September 4, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I also have small question about your job and working holiday visa that you got. As I remember working holiday visa allow you to work for the same employer not more than 3 months. So, did you work only 3 months or more?

    • Reply Haley Johnson September 5, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Last time I knew, the working holiday visa allowed you to work for the same employer for no more than six months. No one was enforcing it while I was there, so I ended up working ten months for the same employer.

  • Reply rebelpilots1111 August 28, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Congrats on getting the job abroad! I hope to do the same in your shoes down the road. My question for you is, how difficult was it to obtain the work visa? I ask since I’ve read up about working abroad and visas tend to be the main challenge to working abroad (among other things).

    • Reply Haley August 28, 2015 at 11:55 pm

      Thank you! Working abroad is an incredible experience, I hope you do it! Obtaining a New Zealand work visa was not hard at all. You can read about the process I went through here.

      I have heard some horror stories on visas for other countries, but very few about New Zealand or Australia. Applying for NZ’s was a piece of cake, definitely look into it. Good luck!

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