Prepare for your future career
Looking to find work after graduation – or seeking work experience while you study? The University of Otago's Career Development Centre helps you get career ready. Don't wait till after you graduate. We recommend you prepare for entering the job market after completing your first year of study.
We encourage all students – including International students – to make use of the career resources available on our website. From exploring your career options to specific job search strategies, you'll find the information you need to establish your future career. You'll also find information on this page specifically targeted at International students.
Get help with:
- Career planning: Explore your career and study options
- Job Applications: CV and cover letters, interview skills and applying for work
- Gaining Experience: Get the 'right' skills, enhance your Otago experience… and volunteer.
- Finding Employment: Job search strategies, career events and looking for work
Speak to a career adviser one-on-one if you need further assistance.
The graduate job market is competitive – good grades alone may not be enough to get your ideal job. You'll also be expected to possess excellent English language skills, and be able to demonstrate a range of work-related skills and personal qualities relevant to the job. Develop the required skills through:
- Work experience – gain part-time work, voluntary work, summer placements, or internships
- Extracurricular activities – get involved in activities outside your course such as student societies and sporting clubs
- Academic activities – show your capabilities by, for example, leading a group project or being a student representative for your course
English language assistance
You will need to meet the minimum language requirements for undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the University of Otago.
We recommend you further practise communication skills while you study. Possible opportunities might include:
- Talking with native speakers
- Watching local TV programmes
- Undertaking volunteer in roles where you are practising oral communication
- Watching the videos on the WorkTalk website from Immigration New Zealand
If you discover you need further assistance while studying at the University, you may wish to enrol at a private language school or take a course with Student Learning Development.
Get help with improving your English language skills with Student Learning Development.
Do you have the 'right' skills? If so, it's a great time to be looking for work in New Zealand. New Zealand was less affected by the global financial crisis than many other countries, and employment conditions are strong.
For people with skills in the skill shortage list employment prospects are very high.
Find out what occupations are currently on the skill shortage list on the New Zealand Now website (Immigration New Zealand).
Find out about New Zealand work culture on the New Zealand Now website (Immigration New Zealand).
Whatever your future career, New Zealand employers like to see volunteer or working experience on all graduates' CVs.
A wide social and professional network at can accelerate your job search.
Read the Settling in Dunedin booklet, for a comprehensive overview of newcomer support networks in the Dunedin area.
Visit the Moving here from overseas page on the Dunedin City Council website, for answers to questions that newcomers frequently ask.
Check Immigration New Zealand regulations before seeking work during your studies.
New Zealand employers will normally require you to hold New Zealand citizenship or permanent residence.
Otherwise, you will need to secure a visa from Immigration New Zealand.
Make sure you understand the visa requirements – and know your visa points score.
Calculate your points online with the Immigration New Zealand website.
Choose your future vocation carefully
Study for a vocation that is on New Zealand's skill shortage list to enhance your chances of finding employment related to your degree, and ultimately remaining in New Zealand longer term. This is because the Government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills.
Further enhance your employment prospects with a postgraduate qualification from Otago. The University offers a range of qualifications from certificates to thesis Masters degrees and PhDs. Explore your options as soon as possible – and find out whether you may be eligible for financial assistance.
Do you plan to return home after graduation? While studying in New Zealand, make sure you maintain strong relationships with contacts in your home country. On your return, you'll need to show potential employers how your experience in New Zealand has prepared you for your chosen career.
Before returning home, make sure you:
- Join the Otago University alumni association
- Register on GoinGlobal while on campus and start your job search
- Get your LinkedIn profile up to date. Add details of the skills and work experience you've gained while in New Zealand and get endorsements where possible
- Join relevant professional associations for the latest news and networking opportunities
- Subscribe to specialist magazines and other publications that aren't available in your home country
- Subscribe to job websites that can email you with relevant vacancies
- Speak to your academic supervisor or employer to see if they can provide a written reference outlining your skills and abilities
- Let contacts in your home country know when you'll be back