How to Write a Winning CV & Cover Letter (NZ Style)


  • What is a CV?

In New Zealand, most employers and recruiters prefer to see a CV (curriculum vitae or resumé) that is 5 pages or less.   You need to make your CV as memorable and easy to follow as possible – the person reading it is likely to be busy and could take less than a minute to look it over.  –Immigration NZ (July 2016)

  • What is a cover letter?

This is a one page document which is attached with your CV when applying for a job.  It is meant to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and discuss your suitability for the advertised position.

Winning CV Pointers:

  • Keep it short.  Remember that hiring managers are human beings as well, and although some of them may be good at speed reading- they will not be overly impressed to read a novel nor a short story.  Only include key information such as personal and contact details, specific skills, tertiary qualification and work experience relevant to the job.
  • Proofread your CV.  Check for grammatical accuracy and currently dated information (as in current address, mobile number etc).  Note that your CV specifically represents YOU. Whether it is smart-looking or sloppy, the employer will always relate that document back to the person who submitted it.
  • Always include referee contact details.  Make sure that all contact details are updated.  You can do this by contacting them yourself.  Also, do not forget to give your referees a heads up after you are shortlisted/interviewed, so that they can gauge when they are likely to be called.  Finally. it goes without saying that you should have obtained their verbal consents FIRST before writing their contact details on your CV!  After all, I am sure you do not want that situation where your employer rings your referee, only to reply:  “Ms. –, who?”  🙂

Winning Cover Letter Pointers:

  • Structure your letter formally. Address your letter to the relevant person.  Again, be brief and concise.  Begin by saying how you heard about the job, why you are interested in the role and how your skills, attributes and achievements match the vacancy description.  Finally, end by saying you look forward to the interview and you are happy to provide further information if required.
  • Set the right tone.  Be enthusiastic and assertive but never sound pushy, or as if you are begging to get interviewed.  Also, remember to Use simple and normal words.  You are not writing a research paper.  You can use big words in your letter but only sparingly.
  • Review. Review. Review.  Check for any obvious grammatical errors and have it read by someone you know.  As a letter, you want it to appeal to the hiring manager so it is always best if someone will have a second look before submitting it.



When writing you CV and cover letter it is always advisable to read the role advertisement and the job description so you can anchor the former documents the latter.  It will also provide you with the opportunity to honestly reflect how your qualification fit the job requirements/desirable characteristics.  This reflection can then help you highlight your assets or make you realize what further training/educational development which will be required of you.

Wishing you all the best!  🙂  



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