How to Get a Job in Australia as a Student in 2021

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Being an international student in Australia can be an incredible experience, although, as you probably know, it is definitely not cheap. School tuition can be often expensive, and if you sum up the cost of living in Australia, the dream of studying overseas can become a financial nightmare! For that reason, we decided to create a 10-Step Guide on how to get a job in Australia!

Thankfully in Australia, international students can work up to 40 hours every fortnight (every 2 weeks), and having a good job while you study not only helps you pay your tuition but overall improve your study experience!

Step 1 – Understand your work rights as an International Student

student who got a job in Australia as a barista

On a Student Visa, international students are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight while classes are in session, and unlimited hours during school holidays. If your college requires you to do a work placement as part of your course, the work placement hours will not count towards the allowed 40 hours per fortnight.

Working more than the allowed number of hours will breach your visa conditions and if the migration department becomes aware of this, they will cancel your visa.  

This means that students can find a part-time or casual job in Australia if the number of hours doesn’t surpass the amount allowed by the visa. 

Step 2 – Choose the field you want to work in

job in Australia in hospitality

It might sound obvious for many, but defining the type of job you want to find in Australia can save you a lot of time!

Many companies welcome international students in fields such as hospitality, construction, admin jobs for part-time/casual employment, or internship opportunities – so decide based on your needs and future goals. 

If your goal is to find a waiter/waitress job in Australia, for example and you are over 20 years old, the national minimum wage is $19.49 per hour. For that reason, avoid jobs that will pay you less than what you are supposed to earn (find your minimum wage by career in this link).

Step 3 – Decide where you want to work

Deciding where you want to work plays an essential part in your experience as a student. There are two points to consider when deciding where to find a job in Australia:


1. Where is the location with the higher number of offerings for the job I am applying for?

If you are looking for a job in hospitality in Sydney for example, you want to look for touristic or busy areas, where the hospitality industry will be active.  Sydney CBD, the Eastern Suburbs and City inner circle are the best places to look at and more likely to have employers looking for staff.

2. Is it close to where I live?

With your work limitations, saving as much as possible is essential. For that reason, if you can walk to your work you will save with transport and as a plus, won’t need to commute for long every day. Often, finding a place close to where you work will allow you to have more time for yourself.

Sydney CBD

Step 4 – How can I find a job in Australia?

looking for job in Australia

Fortunately, there are many ways for you to look and find a job in Australia and there are some that work better for certain types of professions than others, but here are some of them:

  1. Job Search Engines: Below are the most used Job Search websites in Australia. Through them, you will be able to search online for positions available in your sector and easily apply for them. Some are:

2. Facebook provides great tools to search and apply for a job in Australia. These include Facebook groups, and a Job tab in which you can find work opportunities.

If you are in Sydney for example, you can find job opportunities posted daily in these groups:

3. Get out there! One of the most effective ways to find work is by speaking with people in your sector, leaving your resume in places, and creating new connections. If you are looking for a job in the Hospitality Sector, print 50 copies of your resume and go to cafes, restaurants, and bars to hand it. Often, people will appreciate your initiative, and by searching for jobs physically you will also have the chance to check your future workplace. If you are looking for jobs in the corporate world, try to network in events and introduce yourself. 

Step 5 – Applying for a Tax File Number

In order to work in Australia, you should also have a tax file number (TFN). A tax file number is your personal reference number in the government’s tax system. 

You can apply for a TFN online once you have arrived in Australia through this link. A TFN is required before you start work or soon after.

Applying for a TFN is Free and easy by following the recommendations in the government’s website.

Step 6 – Understand and address a job proposal

Understanding a job description is also essential before applying and will prevent you from discovering later on what you signed up for. There are three important points that you need to pay attention to when applying for a job:

  1. The position’s accountabilities: These are all the things you will be responsible for in the job.  Keep in mind that the employer will not expect you to know everything as soon as you start, but you will be hired if you are competent in the position you are applying for. 
  2. Key Selection Criteria: These are the keys requirements for the position. Requirements are the qualities, knowledge, and skills you will need for the role. In hospitality, for example, knowing how to hold 3 plates and being able to speak to the customers in their language are key criteria that restaurant owners will look for. A way to practice these skills is to find tutorials online and practice at home. You may break a few plates, but knowing how to hold 3 plates is essential in this field. 
  3. Qualifications: Sometimes, qualifications or certifications will be required by the employer. In the hospitality field, for example, the Government requires positions such as waiters and bar staff to have the Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate (RSA). This certificate can be obtained oftentimes in 1 day of training and a test at the end. To learn more about the RSA certificate and to book your training, send us a message.
Training for a job in Australia

Step 7 – Upskill if needed!

upskill for a job in Australia

If the position that you are applying for requires skills you don’t have, consider studying or training for that role.

Most jobs will require a good English level. To improve your confidence speaking, try to speak to your friends more often in English and if needed take a course as it will pay off in the long term. 

In Australia, you can find thousands of vocational and training courses. For example, if you are working in the hospitality sector, you can find many options for barista and bartender training courses. 

Acquiring knowledge in your field of work will make you a more competitive professional and allow you to do a better job at the same time. 

Step 8 – Prepare and send your application

Applying for jobs is not an easy task, and it is crucial to prepare your application the best way possible. 

When preparing your application, you will need to:

  1. Update or prepare your Curriculum Vitae (CV). The CV/ or resume is one of the most important parts of the application process. To start designing your resume from scratch, you can use free tools such as Canva, or Resume, that offer free templates that you can customize! In terms of content, the curriculum needs to contain:
    • Information about you. You should include your name, a professional email address, state and suburb where you live in. Don’t include your personal information such as passport, visa number and visa status. 
    • Work Experience. In this field, you do not need to list all your work experiences, but include only the experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. If you want inspiration to describe the tasks that you performed in your previous work experiences, you can go to Jobhero.com, and search for your position.
    • All the relevant information in a maximum 2-page format. Depending on the field, it is preferable that your resume would contain only 1 page. 
    • Education. As in work experience, you want to include only education that is essential for the job you are applying for. Do not include short courses that you’ve completed and are not relevant to your work. 

2. If needed, write a Cover Letter. Your cover letter should contain:

  • Your Contact Information: It should include your information in the following format: Your Name, Street Address, City, State and Postal code, email and phone. 
  • Salutation: If possible, try to address the cover letter to the person that will read your application.  Begin your letter with “Dear Mr. (or Ms.) followed by their last name”. If you can’t, address it to the department that will review it, for example: “Dear Hiring Manager”.
  • State Your Purpose: 
  • Establish Your Value
  • Summarize
  • Signature
  • P.S. Consider Adding a Postscript
applying for job in Australia

Step 9 – Prepare for your interview

If you receive a call for an interview, that’s a great sign, and congratulations!

The interview is your opportunity to show that you are the right fit for the company. They will be accessing your skills, character, and competencies either through a series of questions or by a trial shift. 

  • Trial shift: If you applied for a job in the hospitality, trade, cleaning, or any other field that requires physical competencies, you will be asked to do a trial shift. Through this process, your employer will want to determine that you have the skills that you have claimed to have. This might look scary at first but by taking these steps you can drastically improve your chances of getting the job:
    • Be prepared: Read the requirements listed in the role description, and when possible, train these skills at home. If you are applying for a job as a waiter, practice holding 3 plates with your owns at home. You can find technics on hospitality tricks and tips in this Youtube Channel
    • Rest: The last thing you want on your trial is to be tired. For that reason make sure to rest on the day before.
    • Bring the right equipment and clothes: If you are applying for a construction job, make sure to bring the right equipment to your trial. Your employer generally will let you know what to bring. 
    • Keep a positive mindset: and keep in mind that even if the trial doesn’t succeed, is not the end of the world. You can use the experience acquired in your trial to perform better in your next one.
    • Know your rights: As a worker, you are protected by the Fair Trading regulations. The department determines your rights and what an employer can and cannot do. If the employer is requesting you to trial on multiple occasions without paying you for example, is likely you are being taken advantage of. You have more information on your work rights in this link.
job in Australia as a barista
  • Job Interviews: Being afraid of an interview is normal. But by being prepared, keeping a positive mindset and taking your time to respond to the questions being asked, you can feel more confident during your interview. To be prepared, train for behavioural questions that are the most common forms of interview questions. Some examples are:
    • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?
    • Share an example of how you were able to motivate a coworker, your peers or your team.
    • Tell me about a time when you were in conflict with a colleague and how the situation was resolved. To prepare for these questions, a known system is to use the STAR system. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.
      • Situation: context and relevant details of the problem you were facing;
      • Task: Your role in handling the challenge or situation;
      • Action: what action did you take to solve the issue;
      • Result: The successful results of your actions and how that brought benefits to the company;

Step 10 – Follow up with the employer

Discover when the employer wants to make their final decision as it will provide you a timeline. After that date you can follow up if you haven’t heard anything from them. 

Also, apply and interview for more than one job, as if one response comes negative, you will have other options. As a general rule, try to apply for at least 50 jobs, in order to secure one. 

Most importantly, if you receive a negative answer, don’t lose your motivation! Whether a negative response is a problem or an opportunity to improve, that’s up for you to decide.

Bonus – Know your rights

As a worker, you are protected by the Fair Trading Department regulations. The department determines your rights and what an employer can and cannot do. 

If the employer is requesting you to trial on multiple occasions without paying you for example, it is likely that you are being taken advantage of. You can find more information about your work rights in this link.

If an employer is acting in bad faith or illegally, contact the Fair Trading Department immediately by calling 13 13 94. If you have difficulty speaking or understanding English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450. They will call the Fair Trading Department for you and interpret your query.

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