How to Find Jobs in Australia

Your new work life in Australia begins with a long flight.
Your new work life in Australia begins with a long flight. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Living and working in Australia. It sounds great, doesn't it? Many youthful (and not-so-youthful) foreigners take the opportunity to work "Down Under" and then use that time to travel and enjoy the fruits of their labor. With a labor force of over 10 million, Australia certainly appreciates all the help it can get. Being a temporary resident in Australia is an awesome opportunity for anyone looking for some adventure--or to escape home. There is, of course, tons of responsibility that comes with taking a job overseas, but there's plenty of fun to be had as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Visa
  • Passport

What kind of job?

Stick with what you know. or go the opposite route and try to do something completely different from your skill set. You first need to figure out for yourself how committed you want to be to your job. If your primary purpose in working in Australia is to travel around the country, the go with something that will provide you with a flexible schedule. Or, if you’re looking to gain experience, then get started on your job search early--preferably before arrival in Australia.

Consider how much you hope to earn while working in Australia. Jobs can be paid or unpaid and could or could not include accommodations. For this, you need to know how much you have to begin with. Depending on where you plan to live, Australia is not necessarily a cheap place (the northern and western regions are far cheaper than the more populated south and east), so you should budget for a minimum of $500 living expenses (including rent, food, and cash to spend).

Typical paid jobs are the following: Working in the outback. Being a tour guide. Working as a dive master. Doing farm work. Being a bartender or server. Fortunately, most of these jobs provide room and board. Make sure you are clear about the terms of your position as well as the possible dangers involved. Unfortunately, many of these jobs do not provide medical insurance. If that is the case, you should consider acquiring some form of traveler’s insurance, which will cover basic medical emergencies and check-ups.

Volunteer or unpaid jobs (like internships or service programs) usually have the advantage of covering room and board as well as medical insurance. They also give you far more flexibility, so sometimes these factors can hold just as much value as a paycheck and could be the better option if your real intention is to travel rather than work.

Before You Go

Get your passport and visa in order at least three months before your planned departure. The kind of visa you acquire will be crucial to your length of stay. The ideal types would be the skilled, business, or special activities visa, which would allow you to stay in the country for up to three years. In these cases, you will have acquired a job before arrival in Australia. The more commonly used visa for younger foreigners (between 18 and 30 years of age) is the working holiday visa, which does not require that you have a job before arrival and allows a maximum 12-month stay.

Get your finances in order before your big trip. Starting a new bank account in Australia is possible, but several banks (like Citibank) have plenty of branches in Australia and give you the added benefit of banking both at home and Down Under.

Pack light and bring a maximum of two bags of belongings unless you plan to live and work in the bush the whole time. There is plenty of shopping and stocking up that can be done upon your arrival, and it will spare you a lot of lugging around of goods, especially if you are not sure where you are going to work or what your job will be.

Plan for an undetermined date of return. Many travelers choose to use their time in Australia as the beginning leg of a trip around the world. Others develop a great love for Australia, find another job that allows them to stay longer, and decide to stay Down Under for good. It's best to plan for a one way journey, as you never know what will happen once you land in the sunburned country.

Tips & Warnings

  • You don't need to find a job before arrival in Australia, though looking for one would be a burden best not carried for too long. Friends who have worked in the country are the best resources for finding a worthy temporary profession Down Under. There are also plenty of blogs and website popping up that will guide you through searching for the right job in Australia.
  • When your time in Australia comes to an end, be prepared for some serious culture shock upon arrival back home. Your "travel hangover" will be significant and long.

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