I was making my third follow up and my palms were a bit sweaty. I desperately wanted this to be THE call that helped me land this job I wanted. They paid damn well and it was a chill spot. Everything was perfect!
And then, everything fell into place EXACTLY the way I wanted.
They answered the phone, and I was interviewed and hired within 48 hours. F*ck yas! I had finally landed a job in Australia after my relentless search.
Based on my excitement, you may think it’s near impossible for foreigners to get a job in Australia but don’t let that scare you. Getting a job in Australia isn’t that difficult as long as you’re not a lazy bum and super proactive about following up.
Even better, you can save money in Australia in addition to having a fantastic job. Again, hard work and motivation will make a HUGE difference helping you land that awesome job you’re after.
So, have I made you wonder how to get a job in Australia and save money too? If this sounds like a dream and you wish to make it a reality, then worry no more. I know exactly what it’s like getting a job in Australia and can hash out all the details to help you make it happen too.
This post will open your eyes to what kind of jobs are available in Australia, the tools/resources needed to stand out above the pack, and ways to save money along the way.
Let’s get started!
Jobs in Australia for Foreigners
The first thing you should figure out is what kind of job in Australia suits you and if foreigners are allowed to do that job within the country. If you don’t have at least some type of game plan and know what kind of job to look for, you may not find one that fits your interest or skills.
So, what type of jobs are available for foreigners in Australia?
Trust me; there are tons of jobs out there! And lots of jobs in Australia don’t require certifications or a fancy degree (although never bad to have). Just think of all the unskilled immigrant labor in your own country. Australia has tons of immigrant labor, much like the US.
Here are just a few of the popular job opportunities in Australia for foreigners:
- food service
- house or office cleaning
- day laborer (construction for example)
- farm work (the pay here often isn’t great and the work is HARD!)
- nanny or au pair
And there are many more! This only scratches the surface of the industries you could pursue in Australia. It’s even possible to do freelance work in your field.
If you just graduated from college and have a degree, you could use that to your benefit by finding paid internships or freelance work for locals. Flexibility is key to finding a job in Australia. And remember, you DON’T need experience to work in Australia.
Where to Look for a Job in Australia
You could wait to start looking for a job after you get your working holiday visa for Australia and land in the country. However, I’d advise getting a head start on searching for jobs and finding what suits you. There are several job search websites to help you start looking for jobs before you relocate to Australia.
Here are a few of the most commonly used job search websites in Australia:
Australia has an extensive job market, and there are several other job search websites to peruse to see what type of jobs are available. Your future employer may already be looking for help and there might be a job listing with your name on it. I can’t guarantee you’ll find something interesting on these sites, but it doesn’t hurt to look.
Don’t be surprised to find interesting jobs on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social networking plays a much bigger role in connecting employers and employees, and there could be groups to help job seekers just like you. Even if you’re an American looking for jobs in Australia, you can find Australian employers by connecting with the right person on Facebook.
How to Apply for Jobs in Australia
Applying for new jobs can be a stressful experience in your home country, let alone on the other side of the world. But don’t sweat it though, applying for jobs in Australia is much easier than you think. Just about anyone can do it.
I’m nobody special and did it without a hitch! Also, you can bounce ideas off my experience and tips I learned along the way to give you a helping hand.
Since we’ve already covered the details of securing your working holiday visa, we can get down to the nitty-gritty of how to get that job in Australia.
Here’s what you need to know before you start applying for those eye-catching jobs that seem like the perfect fit for you:
Sprucing up that old CV should be priority #1! Make sure you have a saved copy of your CV on your laptop that can be adjusted and saved in different versions. Nothing is more annoying than having to retype parts of your CV that will apply to every job.
Research each company/employer you apply for and be prepared to bring relevant CVs to each job interview. The restaurant manager doesn’t care that you’ve been a dog walker. Your education is always nice, but only include work history that’s relevant to the specific job you’re after.
Also, print out a physical copy of your customized CV for each specific job you interview for.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of how the employment system works in a new country, and work it to your advantage to maximize opportunities for both work and profit. One of the best ways to do this is by learning what types of certificates you may need for the job you want. If you’re asked at an interview about the required certificate, you’ll look well prepared by answering that you already have it.
The employer will know you’re serious about getting a job in Australia, and it’ll likely improve your chances of getting hired.
For example, you’ll want to get an RSA card if you plan on slinging drinks and a white card if you plan on hammering nails. An RCG certificate is needed to work in casinos and you may need a blue card to work with children, depending on the state you decide to work.
You may be able to acquire some certificates online, but others will require you to take an in-person course. Also, not all states will require the same certificates. Compare prices from different companies offering the certificate to find a rate suitable for your budget.
The lesson here is to do your (travel) homework before class begins!
The Right Season to Find Jobs in Australia
Job opportunities for foreigners are everywhere during the holiday season. Show up a little while before December holidays with a smile and updated CV, and you’re almost guaranteed to find a cool gig. If you’re lucky, it may even turn into a long term job.
For Americans looking for a job in Australia, remember that the seasons are reversed compared to back home. This hot period of job hiring in Australia just before Christmas coincides with the spring and not fall. Job postings are usually their highest in September and this is when you’ll see more employers looking for help. If you want to work in retail or hospitality, then this is the time to jump on the ball.
The turn of the calendar is another popular time to start job hunting in Australia, but you’ll likely face more competition for the jobs you want. Job searches are at their highest from January-March, while Australians are returning from their Christmas holidays. It can potentially be risky if you try moving to the country during the Australian summer since some employers won’t post job listings until the holidays are over. However, you’ll find some companies who like hiring fresh faces at the start of the calendar year, so be on top of your research.
Research, Research, Research!
Finally, know what kind of job market you’ll be getting into and learn some knowledge about the industry.
Although there is always a general high demand for foreign labor in Australia, specific industries will not always need many workers. The last thing you want to do is pursue an industry that already has too many workers, and they fill any vacancies with locals.
Don’t let that discourage you though; you’ll always find industries within the job market that need some help. The key is finding the right one where you have plenty of job openings and the competition is not too crazy. If you by chance know someone who already found a job in Australia, it never hurts to ask how the job market is doing at the moment.
Also, be able to talk about the product, the food, the industry, or whatever else you need to learn. For instance, brush up on your surfing lingo before you go walking into a surf shop for a cashier job. Knowing the industry will go a long way in beating out the competition, especially in more competitive markets.
Tips on How to Get a Job in Australia
Now that you know how to get a job in Australia and the job opportunities for foreigners, you want to be ready the moment you receive the call. Here is some important advice on securing the job and things that you’ll need:
I know you’ve been so busy learning about jobs in Australia that you might have forgotten about where you’ll stay. More than likely, you won’t have your own place the moment you land in the country, and you’ll need a place to crash while you’re scooting around town for interviews.
Unless you have a nice Aussie friend to stay with or you’re an avid couch surfer, the best option will be to stay in a hostel. The benefit of this is making instant friends from other parts of Australia, travelers from around the world, and possibly others in the same situation as you.
People in hostels are naturally open, and they may be able to help you get a job. The place is communal, which means you’ll likely find job boards and info on local job listings.
You may even get a job right there at your hostel running the desk or doing cleaning work. Never rule out the possibility of getting a job in Australia in places where you least expect it.
The bad news? They are overpriced most of the time and you DON’T want to live in one. Imagine coming home from a long ass shift ready to pass out only to have a bunch of lushes walks through the door to literally ruin your night.
Find a legit place to lay your head down at night ASAP.
Get Off Your Ass
Was that too blunt? Sorry, but get off your ass! Ha.
Seriously though, don’t expect to get a job in Australia sitting on your hostel’s couch and applying online all day. That’s not how immigrant work goes most of the time.
Job opportunities for foreigners in Australia require face to face interaction. So, get off your butt, put on some decent clothes, brush your teeth and hair, smile at people, make them laugh, shake hands, and show off that golden personality. Show your potential employer how much they would love having you behind the counter or wherever you’d be working.
Learn from my experience, following up is crucial if you want to get that coveted job you just interviewed for. And don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Get back out there and do it again. You want to be the guy or girl everyone wants to be friends with – and ultimately hire.
Keep an organized list of your interviews and schedule all your follow-ups to make sure each employer knows you’re determined to get a job.
You want to be on everyone’s mind and end up at the top of someone’s list.
One crucial piece of advice though – Don’t show up at rush hour. This will only show the employer that you haven’t done your research about the busiest times of the day, and it might kill your chances of getting the job.
Get an Australian Phone Number
It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have a local number to give employers. And it doesn’t require a lot of effort to have this done either.
Make sure your cell phone is unlocked before you leave the US (check with your provider), then when you land in Australia, head to the airport’s phone shop to grab a SIM or memory card.
Optus is what I used, and it was cheap and efficient in the city, but barely worked once I ventured into the countryside. Telstra is better for those going to work on farms or other rural jobs. Choose your provider carefully and don’t just go with the cheapest option (and just a fair warning, pretty much all the providers suck either way!).
Open up a bank account in your city to make all your finances easier to manage while working in Australia. I went with ANZ, which is a pretty big Australian bank. I had access to ATMs, a debit card, and everything else needed for banking like you would get back in your home country.
You’ll just need your ID and tax number to get everything set up. You want to be able to get direct deposit, make withdrawals, and operate in Australian dollars.
Speaking of taxes, your tax number is called a TFN and it’s simple to set up. Just fill out the form and wait.
Put on Your Happy Face!
I can’t stress this enough! Flattery will get you everywhere, and having an upbeat personality gives you a much better chance of landing a job in Australia.
If you’re a hermit, introvert, or still rocking your EMO phase from high school, take this piece of advice with a grain of salt. It’s not going to be easy getting a job in Australia as a foreigner if you’re not prepared to be besties with each manager or owner you meet.
You are selling your skills and your smile!
Getting a job in Australia can be an unforgettable experience, but there is still the possibility of running into a few scams or sketchy situations. Never let your guard down when you’re applying for a job in Australia as a foreigner and trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.
Here are a few things to be aware of when you’re learning how to get a job in Australia:
- Gumtree is one of the most talked about sites for those trying to get a job in Australia. It’s like Craigslist, both the good and the bad. You may find jobs here, but some of them will be a scam or sketchy at the least. Always be skeptical when looking for jobs here.
- Know your worth when applying for jobs as a foreigner. Just because you’re a foreigner and will do pretty much any odd job does not mean you will work for slave wages, do unpaid internships (what’s the point?), or do a job that you feel is demeaning or will put you in danger. You are not desperate for employment. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!
- Farm/Remote Regional work is not for the faint of heart or the naive. Proceed with extreme caution here. You may end up with a bad employer who will take advantage of you, refuse to pay you at the end of the day, or worse. There are plenty of good, safe job opportunities in Australia for foreigners. Please don’t take the dangerous ones.
- Facebook groups are a good spot to find advice and work too, but like Gumtree, it can be sketchy too. Don’t meet strangers or do anything that sounds too good to be true. The basic rule here is to use your street smarts.
How To Save Money in Australia
Now that you’ve got your job in Australia, it’s time for the fun stuff! You’re probably wondering how you can possibly save money in this expensive ass country. Maybe you’ll get a second job to earn extra income or find yourself a cheap little flat with a cool roommate you met at work?
Don’t worry; I got you covered on this one! I saved a pretty penny while working in Australia and I’ll show you exactly how I did it.
You can become an amazing bargain shopper even if you’ve never done it before. We spent a lot of time shopping at Woolworths and markets while making sure we bought seasonal items. Whatever is in season will always be cheaper and fresher, so it’s a win-win. Take advantage of the sales and you’ll save money in Australia like a champ.
There’s always something on sale and you can usually find them by the yellow tags. If it wasn’t on sale or already cheap, we didn’t buy it. When an item that wouldn’t go bad was on sale, we made sure to stock up!
Eat (and Drink!) In
This one is a double whammy! After hunting for sales around the soup aisle, now you get to stay in and eat the food you almost literally hunted and gathered. Trust me, restaurants and bars are way too expensive. Why do you think they pay so well? If you’re going out to eat and drink all the time, you’ll blow through your paycheck and you won’t save a penny.
That’s why you’d rather get a job there and not be their customer. Unless your employer is letting you eat for free while you work (they often do this in hospitality), do not go out to eat. The food prices can be outrageous and the drink prices are a living nightmare.
Use Your Legs
If you can get a place close to the walkable, downtown areas, definitely take advantage of the opportunity. The less you have to pay for transportation and can just hoof it, the more you’ll wallet will thank you.
We opted to pay a bit more for rent so we could be closer to work and cool areas, and we walked a bunch/were close enough to the free public transport area.
Unlike the US, Australia’s cities, even Melbourne, are easily walkable or have excellent public transport (seriously the US is TERRIBLE with this).
Later, when we headed to Darwin, we ended up buying scooters because it was not as walkable and we needed our own transport. Fortunately, we were able to sell the scooters for nearly the same price we bought them. So, we learned to save money in Australia in a variety of ways!
In an expensive country like Australia, it never hurts to be creative when figuring out a way to stick to your budget.
It might seem silly, but we had a whiteboard on our wall with our monthly budget. It included what we planned to spend, and we stuck to it like glue.
Our original plan was to spend the entire year saving money so we could travel the entire country the following year. The goal changed by the end of our trip, but the money was still there waiting for us!
It’s totally reasonable to live off of $1000 AUD a month but that’s it. You won’t be living a fancy life by any means, but you’ll get by. We were fine with this because it would only be for one year, and it meant a full ass bank account at the end of that year.
Be Like a Mule
If your goal is like mine and to save a ton of money—work like a mule. Get a second job, freelance on the side, and get creative with your hustle to earn as much income as possible. You only get one or two years to work in Australia and you can travel anytime. Put your nose to the grindstone and make that money, honey!
Let’s talk about Garrett and I and how hard we worked, especially Garrett!
In Melbourne, I had two jobs but the second job was literally two short shifts a week. I averaged 40-50 hours per week. In Darwin, I worked even more. I still had two jobs and worked around 50-60 hours per week.
Side note: I also work online! As you can see, I have this thing called a blog which requires work and makes me money too.
Garrett? He worked himself to the bone in Melbourne, sometimes averaging around 70 hours of work per week! He went a bit easier on himself when it was time to move to Darwin, but he found a job that paid 30 AUD per hour to pour beers. Lucky kid!
The main point? You’ll need to work really f*cking hard if you want to save money in Australia. But trust me, it’ll be worth it when you’re staring at the fat bank account at the end of the year.
Treat Yo Self?
Just kidding, DON’T treat yo self! The less splurging you do, the more money you’ll save. Work a bunch, give yourself no time to spend, and save save save! I saved over $20,000 USD, and my boyfriend saved over $34,000 USD. Then, with that kind of savings, you can, in fact, treat yo self.
Now you’re prepared! And being prepared is half the battle. Actually, it’s around ninety percent of the battle. You have everything you need to know about how to get a job in Australia, and how to save money in Australia. The next thing for you to do now is put these tips to practice.
Don’t forget; I also have sh*t tons of other info regarding working, living, and saving money in Australia. Just check out the posts below!
Have money-saving tips that aren’t mentioned here? Already landed your dream job in Australia? Still have questions on how to get a job in Australia? Drop me a note in the comments and let’s talk!
>>> EVEN MORE ABOUT TRAVELING AND WORKING IN AUSTRALIA <<<
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer!