How to Write a Good CV

Creating a NZ-style CV

You may already have a CV, but its style, length and content may be quite different from CVs in New Zealand. If you haven't done a CV before, this is the place to start. These will help you write your CV in a style that New Zealand employers prefer.

1. Keep it short

You may be used to having a CV that includes information about every job or course you’ve ever done. But in New Zealand, CVs are generally short – two to three pages long. Employers want to know about how suitable you are for their vacancy, not all that you have ever done.

Your CV should include:

  • your contact details
  • work experience that is relevant to the job you want
  • key skills you have learned or developed that would be useful for the position

2. Give examples of your skills

Writing about skills may be different from what you are used to. Don’t just list your skills – make sure that you give an example 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.

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

To get more examples of this, see our page about putting 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.


  • If you don’t have a phone at home, think about getting a cellphone so that employers can contact you.
  • Put your email address on your CV. If you don’t have an email address, you can set up a free account with providers such as Yahoo or Gmail.

4. Get it checked

Sometimes CVs are difficult to translate clearly. Get an English speaker to read your CV and check it for errors.

5. Sell yourself

  • Don’t be afraid to write about your strengths (what you do well).
  • Use your CV to tell an employer why they should employ you.

6. Bring your references

  • Most New Zealand employers will ask for two referees, who they can contact to ask about your work. You should check the telephone number and email address for your referees is current.
  • 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.

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.
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