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Job Hunting in Australia

Job hunting in Australia can be a dream or a nightmare depending on where you are, what you’re looking for, what you’re skills and experience are, and what your expectations are. It could take just a couple days to find a job working in hospitality, retail, agriculture, waitressing or bartending (especially rural work), or it could take weeks or months to find the job of your dreams in your field of expertise (but it is possible!).

Where to Look (And What to Look For)

f you are eager to start searching ahead of time, SEEK is my preferred job search site. There’s also MyCareer and careerone (monster), which can be useful resources. Try searching specifically for temporary/contract and casual jobs, as these may be easier to get given the 6 month working restrictions on the Work & Holiday visa.

Gumtree is also good for finding jobs, especially if you’re looking for casual, part-time, or retail work. Many of the Gumtree ads are targeted at backpackers, so you will find a lot of those “marketing” jobs (everything from passing out flyers on the street to sales or getting people to sign up for this or that). There are also all kinds of listings for jobs in retail, hospitality, bars/restaurants, call centers, recruitment, a lot of receptionist/secretarial/office jobs, and a variety of other things in a number of fields. It’s basically the Australian version of Craigslist.

Once you’re in Australia finding a job will be much easier. I still highly recommend the aforementioned sites, but of course there are plenty of other resources out there. Hostel bulletin boards and staff can often be of help. Networking and meeting people (both other backpackers and locals) can lead to information on job openings. There are also jobs ads in the newspapers (a scant few in Mx, the free paper you can pick up any weekday in the train station) and backpacker magazines found in most hostels.

And there’s always the age-old method of walking around to stores, restaurants, bars, hotels and other places of business asking about openings and handing out your resume. Of course if you’re not looking to live in a city, fruit picking and other agriculture and farm hand jobs are available all over Oz, and you can find out about them on Gumtree, in hostels, and all over the place if you do a little searching.

There’s also temping jobs to be had and lots of recruitment agencies in each city constantly on the look out for receptionists, administrative assistants, accountants, and much more, though you will need to have the right specific skills and experience in most cases.

Creating an Australian Resume/CV

However if you are looking for a mainstream job, then creating an Australian resume should be a top priority, and something you should start doing before you arrive. I mostly did a Google search when crafting mine, but there’s obviously some mixed opinions on what to do and not do. Kick out everything you know about American resumes when you’re doing your Australian one. Forget one page. Long and detailed is where it’s at. If you have a bit of work experience, you’ll probably find yourself at 3-4 pages. From what I’ve gathered I’d say it’s something like this:

  • Basic info and contact details
    • Name
    • Email Address
    • (Australian) Address
    • Phone Number.
    • I recommend also putting key info – name and phone number – in the footer of every page of your resume.
  • Objective (optional)
  • Profile/Summary and/or a bullet-point list of your Key Strengths.
  • Professional History/Work Experience
  • Education.
  • Other Skills, Special Achievements
  • Other Activities & Interests.
  • References/Referees, or at least a sentence that references are available upon request.
    • Don’t forget to let your references know that people may be contacting them! And be sure to have their email addresses, as with the time difference that is the most likely way they will be contacted.

Furthermore, make sure to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for, whether it is highlighting certain achievements or skills from previous experiences or just rewriting your summary or key skills to emphasize relevant points. And for 90% of jobs you will also need a cover letter, don’t skimp on it.

And be sure to use Australian spelling! Watch those z‘s, they probably should be s‘s. Don’t forget your ou‘s and double-l‘s. I have yet to find an ultimate (free) online source for all those words to watch out for, but even just looking on wikipedia you can get an idea and do a search if you’re not sure. Otherwise, change your spell check to British English (or try Australian but I found it didn’t really correct my Americanized spelling!) and it will do most of the correcting for you.

Interviews

Once you’ve applied your heart out, you will need to start preparing for interviews. Though in my experience, every interview I did (and in Sydney I did about six and was offered all but one of the jobs) was pretty informal. I felt overly prepared every time, and the questions were usually pretty basic or it was more of a conversation than anything.

In fact, my most conversational and least formal interview was for the most “big time” job  (i.e. real/important – not a whatever retail/call center/envelope stuffer type job) that I interviewed for.  So you never know, but it can’t hurt to be prepared.

And you will probably do quite a few group interviews too, so just be sure to smile a lot and try to stand out in a good way. Also, if you’re going through recruiters for very specific-skilled jobs, you may have to take skills tests (i.e. simulation tests on Microsoft Office programs) and could possibly have a more regimented interview process (this was my experience in Perth).

More Resources

The job search sites mentioned in the beginning can be good resources for all of these matters. I used them in conjunction with some Google searches and felt that I got a good grip on how to go about the job search process. Direct links to resume/cover letter/interview tools at: SEEK, MyCareer, careerone (I used this a lot when I was creating my Aussie resume).

After You’re Hired

Once you’ve landed a job, you’ll want to get paid so you’re going to need to provide a few important details. You’ll need your TFN (Tax File Number) and bank details (including account number and type, branch number and address). If you don’t have those yet, read more about getting your TFN or opening a bank account.

You’ll probably also need your passport and contact details for your references if you haven’t supplied them already. If you have a specific superannuation fund you want your super put into (read more about superannuation), you will need to bring those details/forms as well. Also in some cases you may need some kind of proof of your visa (since this is electronically linked, you can either allow them to verify it online or I usually showed a printed copy of my visa confirmation email) and even your university diploma or other certifications you might have.

Hopefully by now you’ve also got a place to live, but if you’re still crawling out of a hostel bed every morning, check out my tips on finding housing.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Marielle permalink
    November 12, 2012 4:56 am

    Hi! I also want to go job hunting in Australia probably next month when I get to visit there, but I’m just wondering if they are going to require me to get a special visa, like a 457 visa before possibly accepting my application? If yes, do I have to submit all these requirements (like what are seen here: http://www.austhealth.com/457-visa-requirements.php )? Thank you so much, I hope you can help me!

    • November 12, 2012 11:07 am

      Marielle, are you planning to move to Australia permanently? If you are hoping to get a job in Australia just temporarily (for example, living there just for a year) then I would look into the Work & Holiday visa (Read more about it here: https://girlunmapped.wordpress.com/work-abroad/work-and-holiday-visa-australia/)

      If you are looking for a more permanent job, then there are a couple different options.

      Depending on what you do and what your skills are, you might be able to get a work visa without being sponsored. They do this for certain skills and professions that are in demand. Go here (http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/) to get more info and see if you fit the bill. You would need to get this visa before you went job searching in Oz, and it takes six months. Unless you want to go to Australia first to check it out and feel out the situation while you’re in the process of getting your visa.

      The other option is sponsorship, as you noted. Read more here (http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/). Your best bet is to read thoroughly, as I’m not sure exactly how it would work if you were in Australia just visiting first. You might be able to look for jobs and possibly do some interviews while you’re there (you would have to leave to get your visa, though, I’m fairly certain), but unless you are exceptional at what you do, have very specific skills, or are in an in-demand profession, I am not sure employers will even see you.

      Sponsorship is not the easiest thing in the world (obviously hiring an Australian is easier!) so it is hard to come in out of nowhere and get sponsored. Many employers won’t even consider it. Again, it’s hard for me to speak to you specifically because I don’t know what kind of work you do or what your background and skills are. However, it is a bit easier to possibly get sponsored if you start out on a Work & Holiday visa (which takes only a few days to get usually – all online: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/). Both positions I worked in during my visa could have turned into sponsorship if I had wanted. It took a lot of time and effort to find those jobs (finding a “good” professional job — in my field, marketing — is hard on Work & Holiday visa because there is a six-month restriction on how long you can work for one company). My positions started at one as a contract temporary position and the other as a consultant.

      But the economy is doing well in Australia and Aussies are crazy friendly. If they really like you and the work you do and have power in the company, they might sponsor you. So if you are just visiting, try to go to some networking events and see if you can form relationships with people in your industry.

      If you have any other questions, please let me know. I’m happy to help. Good luck on your trip, and let me know how it goes!

  2. February 25, 2013 8:30 am

    I am a Mechanical Engineer having three years experiences in Bangladesh.
    I have overseas training in Indonesia from Philip Moris International for 15 Days.
    I want to work in Australia.
    what is the process for the jobs and visa.
    i already applied for the Work and Holiday Visa Through Bangladesh Government but didnt get any feedback yet. How can i get the visa information.
    please help me for getting a job in Australia.

  3. Putu rendra adi putra permalink
    February 14, 2014 12:57 am

    Hi ! I wanted to get a job in australia
    But im still confused how to get job there and live there, coz i never going there in my life
    Hopefully you can help me about that !

  4. Amy Wessels permalink
    February 21, 2014 7:26 am

    Such great advice!!!! Thank you 🙂

  5. Dana permalink
    July 23, 2014 10:19 am

    I have heard it it more difficult for Americans to find temporary jobs in austrialia because they have to pay higher taxes on us! Do you know if this is true or find that to be the case!

    • September 15, 2016 1:23 am

      Hi Dana,

      Not sure if this will reach you or if it’s too late… but I’ve got plenty of American mates that frequent Oz often and say it’s quite easy to find jobs. Most of the tips to follow is in this article!

      Great article btw!

  6. September 28, 2014 10:13 pm

    You really make it appear so easy with your presentation but I in finding this topic
    to be actually something which I think I might by no means
    understand. It seems too complex and very large for me.
    I’m taking a look forward to your subsequent
    submit, I will try to get the grasp of it!

  7. lizfire1144 permalink
    February 26, 2015 3:40 pm

    Hey thanks so much for this article! I am thinking of doing the working holiday but Im concerned that it will stall my professional development (if I can only get jobs doing retail/farming, etc.) I saw in your other post that you found office jobs but Im wondering how common it is to do something like that, and how exactly you did it. Just by using the sites you mentioned above?

    Thanks and what a terrific blog!

  8. WIll permalink
    March 9, 2015 3:44 pm

    Hey this article is amazing! Thank you so much! I am doing the work and holiday visa and am moving to Australia in late July! I will be staying in Melbourne for the whole year and I was wondering if you had any tips or links to places where you found the most information on Australian CVs? I was also wondering how you went about finding the office jobs. Like you, I am interested in marketing, specifically market/consumer research. Did you mainly look for opportunities online?

    • August 4, 2015 4:07 pm

      Hi Will,I am curious as to how your Work Holiday Visa is going? I am scheduled to start mine next month. I am debating the same options, a ‘real’ job or just something casual.

  9. Sanjay permalink
    August 19, 2015 11:46 am

    You are too good , amazing article .

  10. Kat permalink
    December 7, 2015 2:10 pm

    Hi there-
    So just to clarify- the 12 months start from when you arrive in Australia correct? So Say I were to apply now, but arrive in 3 months- I would still have a full 12 months IN Australia right? Also- is there any sort of grace period between jobs? I have something lined up already, but I’m worried about not being able to find something else after the 6 months are up with that initial employer.

  11. Ekwe Emmanuel permalink
    April 4, 2016 3:16 pm

    please sir i want to travel to Australia but i don’t have money but i can work very will help me sir

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