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Applying for a Job in a Different City

Finding a new job and moving to a city are difficult tasks in isolation – combine them, and you’ve got a hefty mission on your hands! You might be thinking of relocating for work for a number of reasons, whether that is to be closer to family, or for better career prospects, be it a pay bump, promotion or professional development. It may be as simple as a desire for a change of scene.

No matter the reason, looking for a new position in a different city comes with several considerations that are above and beyond what might be involved in a local job search, such as travel/housing arrangements and finding a new network. To help you through this process, we’ve put together six tips for a long-distance job search.

Plan Ahead

Making the move to a new city is a big commitment and it’s important to think ahead before taking the next steps. Being clear on the following factors will allow you to streamline the job search to find a position that really suits you.

  • Lifestyle. What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? This will help inform your choice of location. Do you want to live in the city, or are you okay to commute from further away? Is there a particular area that aligns with your interests and/or family commitments?
  • Work availability. Are you looking for a full or part time position? Is flexibility to work remote important to you? You might want to consider what kind of workplace would suit your personality best, and get a general idea of what’s available in the area to match these needs.
  • If you have a partner or family, how will your relocation affect them? What schools are available locally for your children? Will your partner need to get a new job too?
  • Relocating can be expensive, and it’s essential to factor this into your search. What is the cost of living in your desired new area? You might look into costs of transport, housing, healthcare and other everyday expenses to help set salary expectations for your job search.

Do Your Homework

Now that you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for in a potential job and new location, it’s time to start researching specific roles and companies. This might involve signing up for job alerts and getting a better idea of what’s on offer in your new area. If there are any specific companies you’re interested in, a thorough read of their website might help you identify any job openings and create a clearer sense of what they’re looking for in a candidate.

At this stage, consider enlisting the help of a recruitment agency, whose specialist expertise can help match your skills and career needs to the right local positions.

Draw on Connections

Having connections in your desired location can prove advantageous, especially as a business needs a reason to hire a candidate from another area rather than a local. A personal referral can go a long way in giving an employer the confidence to hire you – plus, the support of local members of your chosen industry/organisation will help make the transition much smoother.

If you don’t already have a network in the new location, there may be local groups you can join, either online (ie. LinkedIn Groups) or in person. These can prove a wealth of information when it comes to open positions, particularly when combined with the market knowledge of a recruitment agency.

Customise Your CV and Cover Letter

It’s important to personalise every CV and cover letter you send for any job (check out our tips for a standout CV), and this best-practice advice applies even more so for a remote application. Because employers can sometimes be hesitant to consider a long-distance candidate, it’s best to directly address your relocation in your cover letter.

Be sure to highlight your enthusiasm for the role and organisation and your willingness (or existing plans) to relocate for the right opportunity. If there’s any location-specific skills/knowledge required for the position you feel you may lack, emphasise your desire and ability to learn quickly. If an employer believes your skills, qualifications and values best suit the job, accommodating a relocation will be far less of a concern.

In fact, a talent shortage as evidenced by the downward shift of applications per job in New Zealand from 31.1 in 2020 to just 10 in 2022 (far lower than our neighbours in Australia, for example) means employers may even be more willing to consider applicants from other locations.

Be Available

Video interviews have been steadily rising in popularity post-pandemic, but each employer still has a unique hiring process. They may instead choose to opt for an in-person or phone interview, or some combination of these. If possible, it’s great to make yourself available for a potential face-to-face meeting.

If you’re hoping to relocate sooner rather than later, you may consider taking on a temporary or contract position with the aim to transition to a full-time role. The connections you make in these roles will have great potential to lead to new opportunities and increase your chance of securing your dream position.


Whilst finding a job in a new city can be a stressful experience, requiring careful consideration of the best location and position for your unique needs, careful forward planning and employing best job search practice will have you packing your bags before you know it!

To assist you in the process of relocation, from advice about selecting the right location to matching you with ideal employers, feel free to connect with one of our Commercial and Industrial recruitment specialists. While our head office is based in Christchurch, we have a wide range of positions available all across New Zealand, from accounting to logistics to engineering and more.