Since time immemorial, people have migrated to different lands for a number of reasons. Sometimes voluntarily and sometimes due to certain circumstances, but mostly, for the safety and security of their people. In more recent times, people have moved to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Most of you would have taken the plunge after researching the various options available, lifestyle, costs, future prospects, and other points. The million-dollar question that every new migrant faces once they land is—what next?
It doesn’t take time for reality to sink in that settling in a foreign land is not a piece of cake. Everything is different, right from the weather—the biting cold and winds come as a shock to most and it takes time for most of us to get accustomed to it. The honeymoon-like fascination continues for a few months. But once the novelty wears off and the savings brought along begin to diminish, you have to face the harsh realities of life.
Here are a few tips to assist you to settle down and seamlessly integrate into the social fabric of New Zealand.
New Zealand is pretty much a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) society. So have no inhibitions. Go out there, be yourself, and just do it.
New Zealand is a wonderful place to explore different aspects of your personality or hidden skills that you may have. A career change is more often the norm rather than an exception and making a career of what was your hobby in the past is not unheard of. It is quite common to find people doing diametrically different things here for a living, some of which they would not have considered back home.
Another thing to bear in mind is that unlike India/Asia that is traditionally a knowledge-based society, New Zealand is more focussed on hands-on trade skill. It is, therefore, fairly easy to enter the workforce if you possess marketable trade skills such as joinery and plumbing.
If you decide to stick to a familiar knitting pattern and look for a job, then the first thing to do is work on your CV.
Whether you have two or 20 years of work experience, ensure that your CV does not exceed two to three pages. Cut out the usual stuff such as father’s name or marital status that is the norm back home. If you have multiple qualifications, mention the ones that are most relevant to the position you are applying for or else you run the risk of rejection for being “overqualified”.
If you have a long name, it is an accepted practice to shorten it. So, Siddharth becomes Sid, Jyoti becomes Jo, and Rajesh becomes Raj. After sorting your CV, start your job hunt. Don’t' be shy to call companies and ask about the job openings they may have. Many of the job are not even advertised.
Next, if you have friends or family who are already here, connect with them. It is one of best ways of landing a job in the shortest possible time. Another important thing to work on is your English. Since it is the lingua franca of New Zealand, it is imperative to have a good command of the language, both spoken and written. To improve your spoken English, listen to the local English radio or watch the daily news. This will familiarise you with the Kiwi accent and you will also pick up commonly used terms such as ‘sweet as’, ‘awesome’ and ‘g’day mate’.
At a job interview, don’t dwell too much on what you did in the past but connect what you have done to how it will be useful to the role that you have applied for.
The New Zealand Government, too, has put in place a number of initiatives to assist new immigrants in their quest to settle in the country, and one of the best ones to answer any query is the Citizens Advise Bureau (www.cab.org.nz).
The good thing about CAB is that as they are spread around the country, you can find one close to you. They also have a multilingual service, so you may communicate in your own language. Career Services (www.careers.govt.nz) and Auckland Regional Migrant Services (www.arms-mrc.org.nz) also provide service to new settlers.
New Zealand also provides an ideal environment for those who would like to start their own business either by purchasing a franchise or through a greenfield start-up. A quick look around will show umpteen examples of successful first-time entrepreneurs. So, new Kiwis, go for it and realise your dreams.
Rajesh Krishnamurthy is a Columnist and professional CV writer. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org