Jobs In Australia

Top Tips

Melbourne’s Sporting Precinct, Vic.  Photo credit: Roberta Seba/Tourism Victoria

Jobs In Australia

You could look at working in Australia as the frustrating fact of life that funds your travels. We’d like to think of it a little differently…

It doesn’t matter what job you find – it’s different in Australia. So whether you’re joining a boat crew, pulling pints or stacking shelves, working in Australia gives you the chance to see a side of the country – and its people – that most tourists don’t.

Working in Australia

The work you can take on will be determined by your visa, so check it carefully. There’s a very good chance the visa will set limits on your legal working rights, such as the number of hours you can work each week or the period of time you can be in employment.

Remember, your employer will need to see your visa and will be bound by its terms.

Written references
Many employers will expect two written references. Thinking ahead and having hard copies at the ready will help show your interviewer you’ve prepared properly – and could give you the edge over other applicants.

You should be prepared for the interviewer to keep your references. Email copies of them to yourself so you can print them when needed, or keep them on a memory stick with your other documents.

Backpacker/student jobs in Australia
The whole point of backpacking is to travel widely at your own pace, so small-scale, short term jobs are ideal. You’ll find your main sources of work in bars, convenience stores, hostels and the like.

Try to line up work ahead of travelling to an area, so you don’t waste your money getting to a destination with no opportunities (see sidebar).

Seasonal work in Australia
All those grapes won’t pick themselves. Harvesting and farming are some of the most reliable sources of work in Australia’s warmer climates/months. Use these sites to start your search for fruit-picking and harvesting jobs.

During winter, head to the ski resorts for jobs. You’ll find opportunities in ski-instructing, bar work, childcare, retail and more. Again, most recruiters will want evidence of prior experience.

Casual work in Australia
It’s unlikely to be earth-shattering stuff, but bar staff, receptionists, store workers etc are always in demand, especially if you have some prior experience.

Everybody tends to head to the major cities, but in our experience it’s the less obvious, more out of the way destinations that are likely to yield best results. We’ve found work outside Darwin and in the Kakadu. Few would consider the latter their ideal work destination, which probably explains why there’s less competition for jobs. There’s little chance of blowing all your money there too.

If you are heading for the city, try Perth. It’s growing rapidly, has a buoyant jobs market and is as far away as you can get from the masses seeking casual work along the east coast.

You’ll need to be very flexible, and will probably have different shifts week to week.

Bar work and selling alcohol in Australia
If your job will involve selling alcohol you’ll need an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate. You can complete this online, but there’s no national certificate.

It varies from state to state and you’ll need one for each state when selling alcohol forms part of your work. There’s a cost for each certificate, which also varies from state to state.


Working in Australia – top tips


TFN: You’ll need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN)– the equivalent of a National Insurance Number in the UK. Do it as soon as you arrive in Australia as it can take a while to process, and you can’t work without one. You can apply online, and you’ll need your passport number and travel documents at the ready.

Bank account: Some jobs may pay cash but many won’t – and you need somewhere other than your wallet or purse to keep your earnings safe. Open an Australian bank account.

Finding a job: Turning up and hoping for the best is risky. Lots of people are looking for work and there’s no guarantee you’ll be successful.

Arrange your job before you reach your next destination by searching online, checking hostel noticeboards or taking advantage of word of mouth. Your next job may not be quite where you expected, but at least you’ll be able to afford to continue your travels.

Experience: The more you have, the more successful you’re likely to be in finding work in Australia. Try to get some bar/hairdressing/office experience before you leave.

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