Most people under 30 who visit Australia come over on a Working Holiday Visa. At first, you might travel around, soak up the culture, and enjoy the sunshine, but eventually the dreaded day will come when you have to find work and start earning some cash dollar (and this might come a lot sooner than you expect if Sydney’s prices are anything to go by…).
Now, the advice that I am giving on this topic I have gleamed from my own experiences, and the experiences of friends. You might not have the same experience, and if that happens let me know!
Finding Work in Australia – Gumtree
In the UK Gumtree is shrouded with an air of deception and possible criminal activity, however in Australia it is used by most people and considered a legitimate way to buy and sell, and also find work.
What you have to bear in mind is that everybody uses it, so if you see something that you like, you’ve got to be really quick off the bat and call that number straight away. A tip that I have been given is to keep clicking refresh, and as soon as a new advert is posted jump on it. You also have to make sure that you sell yourself well, as the world and his mother will be applying at the same time.
I will still say that you should take a pinch of salt when it comes to Gumtree. Although there are hundreds of legitimate, honest advertisements on there, there are still some idiots taking you for a ride. For example, this morning I went to an ‘interview’ for a job I had applied for over Gumtree, and was surprised to find that it was actually a training course and they wanted $200 from me. Naahhh, you’re alright mate. I hear a lot of horror stories about people losing deposits on houses that they pay through Gumtree without seeing the accommodation first – don’t do that, it’s stupid.
Finding Work in Australia – CV Dropping
I’m in a few backpacker forums on Facebook, and I frequently see people asking where they can find work and how they apply etc. This surprises me, as quite frankly I think it’s common sense, but it might be a cultural difference. In the UK the quickest way for us to find work is to go into companies with our CV, or resume. This also applies for Australia: write a bangin’ CV (sell yourself!), dress up smartly, and start handing out those bad boys wherever you see fit. It’s a lot harder for somebody to ignore your application when you are standing right in front of them, and you can draw their attention to certain parts of your CV that you think make you suitable for the role – I did this for my current job and it’s worked so far *fingers crossed*.
Finding Work in Australia – Hospitality Sector
Some of the most popular (and easy) jobs out there are those in the hospitality sector. Hospitality basically means serving people, so restaurants, bars, cafes etc. In the UK when you work in hospitality, you tend to learn how to do all the different elements involved such as waitressing, bar work, cleaning, making coffee, and so on. However, in Australia the hospitality sector takes itself very seriously, and each of these roles is a career in itself, and most likely requires training and qualifications.
If you have experience in hospitality, then you will easily find a job, but be prepared to start at the bottom, wiping tables and grimacing as colleagues ask you if you think you’re ready to start carrying trays.
Another thing to prepare yourself for is the trial shift. This is hands down the worst part about the Australian hospitality sector: if somewhere is vaguely interested in you, they will make you work a few hours doing menial tasks to see if you are up to their standards. Oh yeah, and you have to work for free. I completed three trial shifts in one day, two of them were horrible and snooty and didn’t pay me, the other was alright (plus they paid me so they had my vote).
Qualifications for Finding Work in Australia
If you want to work somewhere that serves alcohol, then you will need to complete your RSA course, which can be done online or in a classroom. Each state has a different RSA, so if you move you will have to do a transfer course. Now, I’ve heard different rumours about NSW: some say that a lot of places don’t accept the online RSA, and some say that’s rubbish. I went and did it in person at Coffee School in Sydney, and it was super easy and pretty boring, and now I’m not even using it. Hey ho.
Gambling is also super popular in Australia, and a lot of bars will have pokey machines (slot machines), and in order to work with them you have to have your RSG (again, online or in person).
If you want to work as a barista or in a coffee shop, you will need to know how to do latte art, and know exactly what all of these new fangled stupidly named coffees are. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been working in a coffee shop for years, if you can’t do your latte art on a flat white, you’re useless. Again, there are various places that host barista courses, but if you are in Sydney I would recommend Coffee School purely because they are one of the few that offers the course with your own coffee machine, so you don’t have to share with anybody and can just keep on practicing.
Finding Work in Australia – Your Ideal Sector
Now, you might not have heard that I have two degrees, and I certainly don’t want to be working in a coffee shop for the rest of my life. There is very little point in applying for certain ‘real’ jobs before you are in the country. It might be different for things like finance and consultancy, but for the environmental jobs that I was applying for, I ‘lacked the local knowledge’ (true words from a Sydney-based recruiter). I have friends that have done their two years in Australia, and they told me that it takes about two months to break into your ideal industry, so be prepared to do the leg work in the months before hand.
So there it is, my guide for finding work in Australia. I hope it gives you a bit of an idea of what to expect. Are you in Australia? Do you have a different point of view or experience, let me know in the comments section!