How to find a job in Australia

line 5 copyThe ultimate backpackers guide: Find a job in Australia

I have collated all of this information by asking my many Couchsurfers and friends, as well as posting in Facebook groups and asking there. I have also used some of my own personal experience (I change jobs more than I change my underwear – hah). I hope you find this useful and it helps you get a foot in the door when you try to find a job in sunny Aus!

First things first:

1. Put yourself out there on Gumtree* and let the work find you. Gumtree is Australia’s version of Craigslist and a lot of backpackers are finding work just by posting themselves on here with their qualifications and what they’re looking for. While you’re there have a search around and see what sort of jobs are going. You might even be able to secure a position before you even get to Australia.

Gumtree TIP: Repost your ad every couple of days because there are SO many people on this site that your ad will get lost in the noise after a few days.

2. Join Facebook groups. There are a vast array of different FB groups you can join from backpacking Australia groups to jobs in your chosen city. To start; join these Australia network FB groups;

Australia Network Backpackers
Travel or Work Australia 2015-2016
Australian Backpackers
Work and Travel Australia
Backpacker Jobs in Australia

3. Put your CV up on Linked in and start connecting with people in your chosen field. Linked in is good for most types of jobs in Australia and means you’re connecting with professionals straight away. Linked in is also a great place to start if you aren’t looking for one of the traditional backpacker jobs and have more specialised skills.

4. Have a look on SEEK, Indeed and Travellers at Work. Some people have been wildly successful and others not so much. I personally have been quite successful with Seek. You can easily save your CV on the site, which makes for fast applications. Be sure to research the company a little before you apply and personalise your cover letters.

5. Join an agency. This won’t be for everyone or every type of job but are especially good for council, construction and demolition jobs. Most do take a cut of your wages though so you might want to use this as a back up plan if all else fails. Agencies I have been recommended include;

Australia Wide Sydney & Melbourne Agencies
Robert Walters Hudson Recruitment
Hays Recruitment Experts PKL Recruitment
Beaumont Consulting Citrus Group
Hoban Recruitment  

WA Only: Job Shop

6.Print off your CV and go for a walk. There is no better way to find a job than to actually meet and become friendly with the manager or person hiring you. This is how I got ALL of my bar and Café jobs. Most café’s and restaurants don’t advertise their positions so if they need someone at the time, chances are they’ll give you a trial right there on the spot.

7. Couchsurfing or Meetups. I’ve heard a few stories about CS hosts helping to find surfers jobs. Try to meet as many people as possible and ask everyone you know if they know of anything. This is pretty much my go-to way of getting any job, anywhere.

8. Download the app: iBackpacker for people on the go. This app is great for short term and farm jobs around Australia. 

9. Sign up to HelpX, WorkAway and WWOOF. This is really for people who are happy to volunteer in exchange for their second year visa because most of these jobs aren’t gonna pay ya! Most will gift you with food and accommodation, however and you won’t need good English to get these types of jobs. 


What types of job can you find in Australia?

Hospitality – Needs basic English

Café / bar / waiter / chef. This type of job is readily available in most cities in Australia and is a backpacker favourite – simply because of the good pay associated with working nights and weekends. Get $20 an hour base and great penalty wages outside of business hours. If you already have experience in this field then you are set!

The best way to get hospitality jobs is by waking in with a printed CV and asking to talk to the manager. Asking for work through a friend can also work. Also try SEEK or Gumtree but usually the hospo industry don’t advertise their positions. If you do see a position online – make sure you are the first choice by calling them or going into the place to talk to them personally. Also join Facebook groups for jobs in the area you’re looking at.

Farm work / Fruit picking* – Needs basic English

A lot of this type of work will count for your second year visa but you need to be careful and specific when communicating with the potential employer. I’ve heard lots of stories of employers trying to trick backpackers into working for them and it doesn’t count, or some will not pay you. I have also heard about a couple of sexual assault cases so ladies especially, try to travel with a friend if you can.

The two best ways backpackers find paid farm work is through either word of mouth or through the Facebook groups listed in the section above. If you aren’t interested in making money and just want your second year visa signed off, sign up to WWOOF, HelpX and WorkAway where you will have your choice of locations and type of work.


Admin / Reception – Needs good English

Great city jobs especially for those that have done this position before. It should be relatively easy to find a job in reception provided your English is good. Reception and admin work in Australia pays quite well (about $23 per hour) and finding temp work is a great way for backpackers to save money fast.

I keep hearing that the best way to find admin work is through agencies. However, most agencies will take a cut of your pay so I tend to stay away from them (but that’s just me). The agencies that come highly recommended for reception, admin and temp work are listed in the section above. If you want to have a go at finding the work yourself try SEEK, Indeed, Linked in and Gumtree.

Council work / Construction / Demolition / Factory – Needs good English

No experience needed for these highly paid positions. This is a great one to look for if you want money fast and aren’t afraid to use your muscles, to sweat and to work outside in the elements. A lot of UK backpackers prefer doing this in the major cities so they can have the city lifestyle while still earning good $$.

Agencies are best for these jobs, or you could try SEEK and Indeed as well. Check out the agencies above for jobs in council work, demolition and construction in Sydney and Melbourne.


Hostel work – Needs basic English

For cleaners / security guards you’ll get free accom, maybe food if you’re lucky, no experience necessary. For reception work you should get paid and you may need experience. This will be a memorable, social and fun way to pass your time in Aus.

Cleaning work is easy peasy to get, hostels need them all the time and it’s just a case of asking the manager. You might need to wait some time for another cleaner to leave before getting the job. The reception work is a little harder to get because most hostels are looking for someone to stick around for a while since they have to train you and trust you with money, etc. I got a hostel reception job because I was lucky enough to walk in with a CV at the right time. But you could also try Gumtree or look for posts to come up in the FB groups listed above.

Au pair / Housekeeper* – Needs good English

These jobs can be very appealing to a backpacker because not only do you get paid but you also receive accommodation and food. It’s a great way to save $$ quickly. It’s also great for the employer because they may find it hard to find Australians who want to be live-in Au Pairs. However, not many of the Au Pair jobs are going to count for your second year visa, unfortunately.

To find these jobs look on Gumtree, or join these FB groups;
Au Pair Australia
Au Pairs in Australia and New Zealand

Seasonal work / Dive instructor – Needs good English

Ski season in the ACT? Dive instructor on the Great Barrier Reef? Yes please! For these jobs you’re going to need the skills associated with them but the work is not unheard of.

The best way to get Dive jobs is going to be through word of mouth. You’re going to have to either go there or make friends with people going there. So this is the hard part. I talked to a friend who was a Diver instructor in Cairns and she says the best way to get a job here is to literally walk in and have a chat to the various dive companies. If that isn’t possible try these websites;

Spirit of Freedom
Pro Dive Cairns
And like the Great Barrier Reef jobs page


Sales Person – Needs good English

This is for people who like to talk! Generally these jobs involve intercepting people on the street and signing people up for monthly support to charities or cold calling people over the phone. These type of jobs are only for the thick skinned as most rely on commission to make real money. Luckily for travellers who are interested – you can get these types of jobs all over Australia, especially in the major cities.

Sign up to iBackpacker where they are readily promoted in all of the cities around Australia, or take a look on SEEK, Indeed and Gumtree.

*Things to watch out for / Scams

SCAM ALERT! Unfortunately (and surprisingly) I’ve been hearing about a few too many scams going on in Australia involving desperate backpackers and dishonest locals. Research and get a second opinion on everything, especially anything found on Gumtree, in the FB groups or through the volunteering websites.

Although I have never applied for a job through Gumtree, I have had some scammers contact me when posting things for sale. I had a guy offer to buy my car but had to get his brother to pick it up so I had to transfer him a bit of money first or some crap, so I just blocked the number. Another time I had someone contact me claiming to be an employee of Gumtree but her writing was so grammatically incorrect I just couldn’t believe it.

As for the Facebook groups: I have seen all manner of dodgy things going on. From a disagreement that led to a 2nd year visa form not being signed (after the work had been completed) to young women claiming to have been sexually assaulted by a host. I’m not telling you this to scare you, I’m telling you so that you’re aware. Australia, despite being a first would country, has some screwed up things happening here sometimes. NOW for the GOOD news! The Facebook groups have a lot of backpackers posting and RECOMMENDING good places that they did work at. Everyone in these groups are looking out for each other so if you’re unsure about a job – post it in the group and see what the other backpackers say about it. If you see hosts posting work in the groups – read the comments. If anything fishy has happened in the past with that employer, other members of the group will pull them up on it. I’ve seen it happen!

How to Find Work in Australia - Castaway with Crystal

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Location Info
Country: Australia
Language: English
Currency: Australian Dollars
$1 USD = $1.30

Want to check out the REAL Sydney but don’t have much money? I’ve created an underground guide for Cheap or Free Things to do in Sydney.

What are your best tips to find a job when you travel? Help out the community by commenting below!

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Categories: Australasia, Australia, Featured, Guides, Places, Travel Stuff
Crystal Egan

Passionate baby goat cuddler and part-time adventurer, Crystal can often be found doing headstands on the edges of cliffs, taking photos of abandoned buildings or sleeping on deserted islands with dangerous criminals. She has too many awesome stories and helpful tips to keep them all to herself so follow along and in return she will bring you inspiring pictures, travel videos and a whole load of fun!

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