Are you wondering how to find work in Australia?
A number of people have sent emails asking how we both found work in Australia so quickly as many people seem to struggle. There is a massive element of being in the right place at the right time but there are also a number of fundamentals that should be followed.
Where do I start…?
For us, looking for work started before we had even arrived in Australia. We knew what type of work we were looking for, in our case this was hospitality, but also kept open minds about other opportunities. We looked on the various job boards whilst in the UK to gauge where positions were being advertised, when, pay scales and locations. That way, it gave us an idea about what potential income we could earn and therefore could budget for accommodation and costs etc. Doing research on the laws surrounding your chosen career in advance also helps. We knew we would need an RSA (responsible service of alcohol) certificate for working in bars and restaurants and therefore had time to source a course competitively and not out of desperation.
Experience is key…
The first thing employers ask for is what experience you have. Many backpackers are only in positions for limited periods of time and for employers to fully train a new team member, it isn’t financially viable and often they don’t have the time. Also, you will not be the only one applying for a position and if someone walks in with experience right behind you, chances are you are going to lose out. My advice would be to gain experience whilst you are in your country of origin. If you want hospitality work, get experience in a local hotel, bar or restaurant. If you want sales work, get the experience before hand. Not only will the experience be a great addition, but the extra money you will make working a second casual job (assuming you have a full time one already) will be useful for extending your trip and doing the various excursions you wish to do.
Remember, many restaurant groups are international such as Hard Rock Cafe, Jamie’s Italian, McDonalds, KFC, Wagamama etc and if you can get experience in one of those chains, it helps when you rock up in a foreign country knowing the culture, ethos, systems and practises of their business.
This was something we didn’t do so well. Whilst packing our essentials into the backpack we didn’t pay enough attention to what we would need for the jobs we intended to do. As a result, we ended up spending money on work clothing and equipment that we had at home. If you intend on working in hospitality for example, they will ask you for fully black shoes in most restaurants and we both packed white trainers. As a waiter or barman/barmaid, you need a waiters friend etc. That was a quick way of spending $300 in our first week as we didn’t have the time to waste on waiting for them to be shipped to Australia. Think about the clothing you pack as again this can save you money!
How do you find a job?
If you know what you want to do, the best way we found was to get in front of potential employers. It was always our plan to relax for the first month of the trip but having seen how much things cost in Australia, I panicked and launched into full on recruitment mode. I spent 3 days applying for every position online that sounded even remotely something I could do, even jobs outside of my chosen fields and experience in a desperate bid to find work. The result……absolutely nothing! I quickly realised that I had wasted 3 days of my life applying for jobs online. I needed a different approach!
The next day I went to the library to print out my CV, arranged an RSA course for the next available day and set out walking around the city. I made a note of a number of bars and restaurants recruiting online the night before o that I could see them in person and apply directly. I had noticed that a number of restaurants and bars simply put a small advert in the window advertising vacancies and didn’t even bother advertising online which we would have missed by simply scanning through job boards. I also went to two businesses that didn’t advertise online and didn’t advertise in the window just to see if there were any positions. Both had vacancies and showed me that you have to put yourself out there if you really want to find work, it won’t always come to you. Australia loves a trial shift and both businesses I called into on the off chance scheduled me for a trial, luckily not on the same day. Both businesses then offered me a position following my trial and within 2 days of changing my stance, I had found work.
Are references important?
Yes and no from experience, neither of us have been asked for a single reference and none of the applying for jobs in our place of work have been asked either. I guess it doesn’t do you any harm but I wouldn’t worry if you don’t have one with you either.
I am not saying that our exact experience will happen to you but what I learned was that a face is better than an email and being friendly, well presented and bubbly whilst asking if somewhere has any positions is definitely the way forward. Employers also want an element of commitment, if you planning on moving around every few weeks or months, this isn’t going to be as attractive to an employer as someone they could have for 6 months. Every time they train a new employee it costs them money! Make the most of your working visa and earn whilst you can. You can always travel with a holiday visa one your working visa has expired. By committing yourself to a year of work, this means you can give employers a commitment to stay and this can only work in your favour.
Good luck finding work down under and pick something you enjoy, don’t just settle for anything. The first few weeks can be hard as you miss friends, family, home etc and if you have to work in a job you hate, this will make this initial period harder!
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