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Tauranga Welcomes You!

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Carole Bettendroffer | Likeable Lab's Luxembourg Addition Shares Her Moving to Tauranga Story
12 May 2019
Carole Bettendroffer | Likeable Lab's Luxembourg Addition Shares Her Moving to Tauranga Story

It was a chance conversation with some cashier's at a Farmers store that led Carole Bettendroffer to Tauranga.

The Luxembourg-born social media manager had moved to New Zealand with her partner, Charles, lured by the offer of a three-month house-sitting opportunity in Taupo. They both loved the country, but not the cold, and wondered where they should move to next.

"Move to Tauranga,"  the cashiers' told them, while they were buying a duvet to keep out the Taupo chill.  "It's a mini Auckland, and it's booming."

A quick reconnaisance trip was all it took for the couple to see that the cashiers' knew what they were on about. After successfully navigating the challenges of the 'needing a job to get a visa and needing a visa to get a job' dilemna, Carole is now putting her social media management skills to good use with Likeable Lab in Tauranga and enjoying the wellbeing perks of living just five minutes away from the beach.

This is her story.

Carole, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Luxembourg – a small country landlocked between Belgium, France and Germany with a population of just over 600,000 people. I lived in Vienna (Austria) for four years and in Belgium for two years during my studies.  Prior to moving to New Zealand, my partner, Charles, and I were both working in Luxembourg.

What drew you to studying communications?

I was always interested in the constantly changing world of the media so after college, I choose to go for journalism and communication studies instead of economics, what would have been the alternative. My masters degree was more practically oriented and it helped me to gain specialized knowledge in public relations and in organizational communication.

Can you give me a quick snapshot of your career story so far?

While studying, I was working as a freelance social media manager and editor for a Luxembourgish food magazine. As a food blogger, I always enjoyed trying new restaurants and writing stories about food and lifestyle.

After my studies, I started working as a project manager for a cultural agency in Luxembourg. I organized cultural events like the Luxembourg Art Week or the Night of Museums and managed several social media accounts and websites. My job included a variety of duties ranging from organizing press conferences and coordinating logistical aspects to maintaining sponsor relations.

How did New Zealand end up on your radar? 

Charles was always fascinated by New Zealand’s wildlife and natural environment. In 2017, we planned our first trip to New Zealand. We enjoyed our three weeks trip around the North Island so much that we came back at the beginning of 2018 to travel around the South Island.

We love the variety of outdoor activities you can do here: from fishing, playing golf, kayaking, hiking, body boarding, rafting and so on.

We knew that we would love to live in New Zealand one day but we also knew that it would be complicated. Charles owned a graphic design company in Luxembourg; I had a great job I really loved.

What was the catalyst that prompted you to make the move?

In March 2018, Charles’s cousins’ parents-in-law asked us to house-sit their home in Taupo from July to September. If we were superstitious, this would have been just the sign we needed. We decided to take the opportunity and do it.

I resigned from my job, sold my car and  arrived in New Zealand with only two suitcases.  

How did Tauranga end up on your radar?

That’s a funny story. We bought duvets at a Farmers store in Taupo and started a conversation with the cashiers about where we should live in New Zealand. At that time, we were wondering if going to Auckland would be the right decision, because of the job opportunities.

The cashiers told us that Tauranga was like a 'mini-Auckland' and that the city was booming so we took our car and visited Tauranga. We both directly knew that this was the place. Nice people, great lifestyle, beautiful beaches. The city is buzzing with events and a ton of water-borne adventures.

What was your experience of finding work in Tauranga like?

"Looking for new openings on Seek and Facebook was part of my daily routine, but I also sent some spontaneous applications to communication agencies in Tauranga I was interested in working at. One of these was Likeable Lab. Unfortunately, they didn't have a job opening at that time but some weeks later, a job position for a social media manager had been published. I was working on my application when I got an email from Nick McDonald (Head Honcho at Likeable Lab) saying that he saw my profile in an email from Priority One, and it reminded him of my spontaneous application. Two weeks later, I started working at Likeable Lab."

What do Likeable Lab do?

Likeable Lab is a social media marketing agency that focuses not only on marketing metrics (such as reach and engagement) but also on business metrics. Likeable Lab manages social media pages, run social media advertising, design online campaigns and create engaging, relatable, on-brand content.  We work with some exciting businesses, both large and small, and across a range of industries from finance to food. Likeable Lab has recently rebranded. We got a new logo and an awesome new website. Take a look, I especially love the personalised characters of every staff member.


What is your role and what do you enjoy about it?

My contract says ‘Social Media Manager’ but my role is rather ‘Project Superstar’. I run social media advertising campaigns, create creative content, do a bit of community management and always try to keep up with social media news and trends. My role sometimes requires playing foosball, which is very exciting and surely has positive effects on my productivity and creativity ;)

I love that social media is always evolving and changing, so no two days are alike. I'm constantly alert to new advertisement opportunities, additional analytics, new tools or new strategies to best connect with customers.

How would you describe the business community in Tauranga? 

Tauranga is a small place and relationships are important. There are a lot of business events, which makes it easier to meet other people. I love the work-life balance here in New Zealand; people still know that it’s not all about work. Also, most companies don’t see each other only as a competitor but take a collaborative approach, which can be mutually beneficial.

Have you had any connection with Priority One?  

I contacted Annie Hill at Priority One when we decided to move to Tauranga. She was very helpful and sent my resume to the business community, which helped my landing my job at Likeable Lab. I think it’s very important to have such organizations because they bring people and businesses together.

What do you love about living in Tauranga?

We live in a new-build house five minutes from Papamoa beach. We didn’t grow up near the ocean so the sponstaneous beach run or swim after work is something we greatly appreciate. We also love the lifestyle, the work-life balance and the endless possibilities of outdoor activities here.

We are proud owners of kayaks; we enjoy fishing in the harbour, love hiking and running on the beach. Charles loves spearfishing and diving for paua, mussels or crayfish. We both love to cook and enjoy sitting on our terrace with a good glass of wine. There are heaps of things on my 'to do' list, like getting the Open Dive Certificate. 

Any advice to offer other potential newcomers?

Even if you’ve already sent tons of applications, don’t give up. Looking for work can be discouraging.  My experience is that it’s better to pop in personally instead of just sending applications by email. I also had to adjust my CV and I joined a New Kiwi Career Success training course, which gave me great knowledge about how job interviews in New Zealand can be different to other countries.

What was your experience of getting work visas like? 

With a working holiday visa, you can stay in New Zealand for up to 12 months and you are allowed to work. It wasn’t easy to find a job because most companies won’t hire you with this visa, even if you are immediately available. As soon as Charles found a job as a graphic designer with Computastyle Signs, we applied for a Work Visa/Partner of Work Visa, which made it easier for me to get a job.

The whole process involves a lot of paperwork and is quite expensive; but it’s worth it. It is quite tricky because you need a job offer to apply for a work visa but most companies only hire you if you already have a work visa. There was no easy way around this, but we both knew it would get easier as soon as we had a job.

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career? I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to find a job in New Zealand. It’s always easier to find a job if you have some connections so it’s good that there are organizations like Priority One that can help you. We are both happy now that we have found amazing roles with incredible companies.

For your wellbeing? It was a challenge to move to the other side of the world, leaving our family and friends behind. You have to get out of your comfort zone to meet new friends and to settle in, which can sometimes be hard. On the other hand, the quality of life here in New Zealand is way better than in Europe. We have a healthier lifestyle and we are less stressed.

For your relationships? I try to stay in touch with my family and friends as much as possible. Time difference doesn’t make it easy but with Skype, What’s App, Facebook and Instagram, you don’t feel so far away. We encourage everyone to visit us (how could you say no to New Zealand?) and we’re looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with family and friends when we’re back in Luxembourg for a visit.


Gets You Thinking Doesn't It?

No-one can tell you when you're ready for a change of lifestyle...but when you are, we'd love to have you in Tauranga!

1. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TaurangaWelcomesYou

2. Subscribe to our montly e-newsletter to receive stories just like this one about people who have already made the big move you are thinking of making. 

3. Have a story to share? We love sharing your sea-change or homecoming stories. Email me at kathryn@priorityone.co.nz to start a conversation.

Meet Kathryn Overall
Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.co.nz


Looking for work in Tauranga?

Send me your CV and a 100 word bio and we will send it out to local businesess who are on the lookout for good people. Priority One is not a recruitment agency, but as the economic development agency for the region we seek to make connections for people where we can. There is no charge for this service.

Email me at annie@priorityone.co.nz.

Annie Hill | Priority One
Communications/Project Manager


Contact Annie

Contact Annie

Need help? Contact Annie

Send us your 100 word bio and we will send it out to local businesses who are on the lookout for good people! annie@priorityone.co.nz

Tauranga Welcomes You

Tauranga Welcomes You


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About Kathryn

About Kathryn


Kathryn Overall is the friendly voice behind the 'Wish You Were Working Here' stories and Facebook posts.  Each month she chats with returned Kiwi expats,  Auckland imports and New Zealand immigrants who have moved to Tauranga, collecting their stories and advice to share with you. 

CLICK HERE to read her own story of reluctant homecoming!


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