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Moving to Oz for a Working Holiday: How to Find a Job

working holiday jobsNo two working holiday experiences are ever the same, even when it comes to finding a job in the land Down Under. Still, there are some good tips to pay attention to when you finally move to Australia for a year or two and need to start earning an income.

The first thing to know is that working holiday makers will typically duke it out for certain types of jobs. It’s not because working holiday makers aren’t qualified or professional; it’s the simple fact that when you are on one of these visas, you won’t be able to work for the same company in the same role for more than 6 months. Because of that, more official roles shy away from hiring a person that they know for a fact may not be around in a few months. Furthermore, there is the stereotype, one that has been strengthened by many working holiday makers in the past, that working holiday makers are about 90% more likely to just not show up one day (or something to that effect).

With that in mind, getting a job after arriving in Australia might be a little bit more difficult than it would be back home. Here are some tips for getting down to business when job hunting:

Tailor Your Resume

The big cities can be competitive even for the simplest positions, such as retail sales associate or barista. Tailor your resume to clearly show that you are indeed a suitable applicant with prior experience in relevant areas. If you are interested in applying for different types of jobs, then you might need multiple resumes – one featuring retail sales experience, and one featuring your cafe experience.


If you are planning on working in the food industry, or at a bar, you will probably need to take an RSA course in order to be hired. The RSA stands for “Responsible Service of Alcohol,” and you can take them in Australia over a period of a day, or even online. A good online RSA course is with AOT. Here is an older post that touches on the topic.

Being proactive and having already taken the RSA will put you one step closer to employment in an employer’s mind. Why wait for that when someone else is already prepared?

Search Resources

Temp agencies can help qualified working holiday makers to find casual office work. If that doesn’t suit you, then a number of job websites exist that you can use to apply for more professional and permanent jobs:

However, for more casual job opportunities, Gumtree (the same place you can use to find a flat in Australia) is an excellent resource. Any business or individual can post a job without having to pay for an advertisement, which makes more people more likely to use it for smaller and casual positions that work and holiday visa holders love!

Door Knocking

However, not everyone uses the Internet to advertise jobs. If you are feeling at a loss for positions to apply for, there’s always good old door knocking. Door knocking is the act of taking your resume (tailored to the type of job you want) directly to specific businesses. You simply introduce yourself and ask a manager personally if they have any available jobs. It is not uncommon for managers to know they need some extra help but not yet advertise.

Remember to smile and act enthusiastic!

Nomads Jobs Help

Nomads Hostels have put together a jobs website specifically for those on a working holiday. Here, you’ll find jobs targeted to your type of traveler in both Australia and New Zealand.

Check out the Nomads Jobs site >>

Further Reading

As stated in the introduction, it is not uncommon for establishments to shy away from hiring working holiday makers, just because they are working holiday makers. I had a friend that was refused immediately from a fast food joint just because of it. For times like those, it might be good to have a read of this article I wrote over on World Nomads: What to Do When No One Wants to Hire Working Holiday Makers

For those interested, check out this wonderful post on the Australian work culture and see how it compares to yours back home. This post will give you first-hand insight into the day to day life of a typical office worker in Sydney (offices will vary). For a completely different experience, why not become a Jack-a-roo or Jill-a-roo! It may be hard work to get there, but you’d definitely have an experience that about 98% of working holiday makers do not while traveling and working in Oz.

Photo credit: 1, 2.