How to Write an NZ-Style CV

As promised in my earlier post on finding a job in New Zealand, I would like to share with you how I wrote my CV to match what NZ employers are expecting. New Zealand government has created its own careers website where you can find valuable information to help job hunters. They have tips for creating a NZ-style CV and CVs and cover letter templates to help you start with. You can read the details from their website, so I won’t explain each points in details.

Format:

  1. Contact Details – Name, address, email, phone number and job title (optional and if only relevant e.g. you don’t want to put ‘Vice President’ in your CV, but it makes sense for a Software Tester, Nurse, Math Teacher, if you want to catch hiring manager’s attention).
  2. Personal Statement – This is an overview of your career. It should briefly answer questions about who you are, what you can offer, and what are your objectives in relation to the job you are applying for.
  3. Work History – This covers companies you’ve worked with, starting from the recent one. This should include the name of the company, period of your employment, job title, and a short description of your responsibilities and achievements.
  4. Skills and Credentials – Put relevant education, trainings, and certifications. This part answers the things you know and your personal achievements, e.g. if you are a scholar or you graduated with honors.

The one important point I learned when selling yourself in your CV is this – don’t just list your skills, instead, make sure to summarize your duties and achievements.

To give you a more concrete example, here is a section of my old CV and new CV.

Old CV

  • Developed a real-time reporting tool for traders
  • Part of the technology team responsible for maintaining internal bank applications
  • Spring, Hibernate, ActiveMQ, Google Protobuff, Git

 

New CV (NZ Style)

I am a senior developer in *your company* and part of a team which maintains and develops internal bank applications. One of these is a real-time risk reporting system which enables traders to manage financial risks by providing them timely data so they can respond to the fast changing market conditions. We used technologies such as Spring, Hibernate, <blah, blah, blah>.

My responsibilities also include

  • leading a team of software developers
  • requirements elicitation from users
  • providing third level support

Hope the difference is clear.

More Tips:

  • Keep it brief and straightforward (about 2-3 pages).
  • No need to include personal details like age, marital status, religion etc.
  • Focus on relevant work experience and skills.
  • Avoid spelling and grammar errors.

Oh, and don’t forget to include a cover letter. I didn’t write one, but it gives you a better chance to secure that interview. Make it special and tailor it for the job you are applying for. Give specific reasons why the job is appealing to you, why you think you have what it takes to be successful for the job, and what you can offer your prospective employer to achieve their goals. Be honest and try not to just copy-and-paste from Google. Imagine how the reader would feel when this is the case.

careers.govt.nz has a helpful guide on how to write a good cover letter. seek.co.nz has a very good example on writing good and bad cover letters.

Feel free to share your insights!

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