Details shared in this post were correct, as I understood, in May 2015:
1. First things first! Make sure you secure the correct visa to work legally before you are ready to be employed Down Under! I’m from the UK and arrived on the Working Holiday Visa Subclass 417 (in 2014). Click here to find out more and apply online for yours. Mine came through within 24hrs (when I applied, from home in the UK in 2013). Too easy!
2. Note. The 417 allows you to be in Australia for up to 1 year. In this time you can work for the same employer for a maximum of 6 months.
3. Prepare. You need an Australian bank account (I’m with Westpac) and a Tax File Number (TFN) to work. Westpac set up my TFN for me but you can easily do it yourself online.
4. Apply in advance. If you want an office job try putting the feelers out by email before you arrive in the country. Send out CV’s directly to companies you are interested in and also let recruiters know when you are due to arrive.
5. Ask. Knock on enough doors and one will open. Use your contacts everywhere you go for ideas of exciting places to apply to and the right people to ask about vacancies.
6. Be smart. If you only have backpacker clothes (like me and most of my friends did on arrival into Aus!) be sure to visit KMart to get something work suitable. You don’t have to break the bank to look presentable.
7. Sign up. To as many recruitment agencies as you can find. I found office work I’ve really enjoyed through Michael Page and Robert Walters. I also signed up with People2People and Hays. Google is key for finding agencies.
8. Keep in touch. While you are looking call your agents once a week. Don’t let them forget that you’re still hunting!
9. Pay varies. Expect cash in hand jobs (cafés etc) to pay roughly $15 p/hr. Temping/ office jobs are usually around $21 – $25 p/hr. Anything above that for temporary/ general office work is really good! Guys can expect $20 p/hr cash and anything from $25 p/hr up for labouring. Those with a trade can make very good money with electricians, carpenters, plumbers etc getting well over $35 p/hr!
10. Avoid. Gumtree! To be fair lots of my friends have found jobs on that site but in my experience if you post a “job wanted” ad you will receive unpleasant offers from people who don’t actually want you to work! Be warned.
11. Be available. Keep your phone on you at all times, and expect calls to “start tomorrow”. “First in, best dressed” is a rule a recruiter told me .. be ready when they need you.
12.. Become a farmer. Work on a farm for 88 days and you will secure your 2nd year working holiday visa / meet many brilliant people / get a great tan / have the time of your life AND save a lot! My group of friends saved anything from $3,000 to $10,000 in 4 months farming in Bundaberg, Queensland. Stay at Federal Backpackers, that place changed my life (look out for a separate post to follow on Bundy life).
13. Be diverse. You’ll always see lots of hospitality and sales roles posted online, give something new a go – you never know, you might be good at it!
14. Start early. If it suits you I recommend working asap when you land in Australia. I didn’t! I blew all my savings and then worked and blew that … I only saved during farming and now during my last few months before leaving the country. Having fun vs saving wars would be easier if you start working early and save bit by bit as you move around.
15. Be upfront. If you’re looking for a sponsor let your employer know from the outset. Make sure they know what you are looking for and you never know what may happen if you prove yourself.
16. Be honest. Plans change all the time but if you are contracted for X amount of time try your best to fulfil that period. If you can’t complete it for whatever reason and need to move on, let your employer know as soon as you know your next move.
17. Be realistic. You might not get a job right away but don’t be disheartened. A few weeks of applying will see you right! Be confident, you will get something!
18. Appreciate it. Even if work is not quite what you hoped it to be the chances are you’re still in a decent job with enough money to keep you going. Remember that!
Above all, live it, work it, save it (if you can;) then keep going on your travels or take the jump and go for sponsorship – if you’re lucky enough to be offered this security from a job you know you would be happy in then congratulations … your new life has just begun!
Great tips and advice.