Golden beaches, picturesque landscapes, and ample opportunity. It has been a dream destination of backpackers for decades and it’s easy to see why most think “I have to get a job in Australia.”

Yet, although you may be confident in your abilities to land work, it’s a competitive marketplace. Hundreds of thousands of backpackers vie to live the beach lifestyle ‘Down Under’. If you’re asking the question “How do I get a job in Australia?”, then you’re already taking the right steps in preparing for the hunt.

Being one of the backpacking capitals of the world means no there’s no shortage of seasonal jobs available in Australia. But just because “everyone goes” there, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan. Ask yourself; why Australia? If you want to feel the “traditional” backpacking route, then you’ll have to prepared to get stuck in and get your hands dirty, with farm work being high on the list. You may want to delve into this fascinating country whilst developing a career, which may mean you look towards one of the bigger cities. If you want to sample the high life and experience postcard postcodes in style, then you’ll have to secure yourself a fine paying job in the CBD (central business district). Whichever way, you’ll have an incredible time, but make sure you answer ‘why’.



Secure your working holiday visa early if you want to get a job in Australia

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For anyone travelling from the UK, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got your working holiday visa sorted. You can apply for this year-long visa (which you can extend to two once you’ve completed three months rural work, and now even three years on you meeting further requirements), online and doesn’t take long to be granted. You’ll need this to be able to work over in Australia, so make sure you get it well in advance of your job hunt. Employers will likely ask for a copy of your visa, so it won’t harm to make copies. You can find the link to the application form here



Prepare well in advance

As with any job hunt, preparing well will set you up for success. Get your CV (or resume as they prefer to call it) up to date, whilst checking out Australian job sites for tips on what’s expected on your resume. There are small, subtle differences between how we present our information to employers here, and what’s expected in Australia, so a little research will go along way. This also applies to your cover letter. Although I’m no job hiring expert, I’d again check out what’s expected by Australian firms on a cover letter, and make sure you match it, but with your personality and verve throughout. Remember, although it may seem surprising, you’re not the only backpacker looking for work (shock). Recruiters are going to see dozens, if not hundreds, of applications each day, so although it’s important to meet certain requirements, do a bit to stand out.


Note: This following tip can be hit and miss, but following up on applications can have some good results. Now, what you don’t want to do is follow up immediately, or follow up many times. Recruiters tend to put timeframes on their job postings, so if you follow up inappropriately when they’ve already declared when the closing date is, then you’ll do more harm than good. Yet, if that’s passed, touching base with them to see if they’ve got round to your application because you’re keen to talk to them won’t harm your chances. It displays an eagerness to get involved with the business and displays a confidence in your ability. At minimum, it will jog their memory and potentially get your application looked over again. This was an approach a few of us used in our time there and it paid off, as we landed the ideal jobs.


You can split your job hunt down in two. You can wing it when you get to the country, or you can get looking before departure. Both have their own merits and just depend on your character. Below are some of the opportunities you can find for each:


Job opportunities before departing

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  • Job Placement Agencies – There are many agencies, which have offices in the UK, that specialise in job placements before you’ve even left the UK. Although not limited to Australia (New Zealand, Canada and North America are also popular), the country does provide lots of opportunity due to the number of backpackers that go during high tourist season. Hospitality, farm work, and internships are high in popularity for work abroad programs, so it’s worth searching for Australian work abroad programs to see if there’s any that suits you. You’ll go through an extensive application process and online Skype interviews, meaning you can leave safe in the knowledge that you’ll have a role lined up.


  • Online Job Boards (Seek, Indeed etc) – Like online job postings in the UK, the Australian online job boards tend to learn more towards office-based work. Both direct employers and agencies will post on these, so you’ll get a good range of options. This will give you an indicator of jobs that are available and allow you to apply. Yet, without an Australian phone number, recruiters are unlikely to call overseas, even if you state that you arrive on a certain date. You can find some great jobs here, which allow you to use your experience and forge on with your career in a new country. The advice would be to get your account created, upload your CV/cover letter, search for relevant jobs, and the minute you touch down in Australia, click submit on those applications.


  • Direct – Reaching out direct tends to work better if you’re confident that your skill set matches the requirements a business. As a business must pay a commission for each hire from different job sites, advertising on their website does happen quite a lot. So if you’ve got a business who you feel you align with, it’s a good idea to check out their website. They’ll no doubt have a ‘career and opportunities’ section and if you’re lucky, you may find that opening. If not, drop them an email anyway. The worst that can happen is they ignore it, but who knows, if you’re the right person at the right time, you may get a response.



Job opportunities in-country

Credit: Unsplash.
  • Use local networks (hostels, friends/family) – You’ll learn that the backpacking scene is, for the most part, a very friendly one. Not just on nights out, but in helping one another. Everyone is in the same boat, adapting to a new country and searching for new opportunities to sustain a year away to remember. As such, when your mates win, you win. If you’re all employed, the better time you’ll all have, as you can afford to do cool stuff. You’ll hear endless “places that are hiring” through people that you meet, whilst hostels always have job boards up in the kitchen and reception. Local businesses know that backpackers are always looking, so there’s never a shortage of new listings on the wall.


  • Pop in in-person – If you’re a people person, going into somewhere can have a huge effect. In most bars and restaurants, it may be the only way they hire. It provides a good opportunity for employers to see your conversational abilities and how friendly you are. If you can win them over there and then, an offer of a trial shift could come in the following days. Get those CV’s printed out and get straight in, but remember that first impressions count in all industries, so be well presented and well prepared. 


  • Upskill with government-directed industry qualifications – Australia’s government offers specific industry training to ensure you’re up to speed with what’s expected of you in certain sectors. With some, such as bar work or construction, it’s a legal requirement that you get these before you can work. You can research them here before departing and make sure you booked in as soon as you arrive (after the jet lag that is). Once you have these, more doors open in regards to where you can work. They also provide useful information on how and where you can find jobs now you qualify, so it provides a solid path if you already know you have a skill you could utilise.



It’s not a definitive list, but it’s enough to get you going if you’re planning to get a job in Australia.

As always, fail to prepare, prepare to fail, etc etc etc. You’ll go on quite the journey when trying to get a job in Australia. You may find the perfect role with the perfect business and after buzzing about how good your application is, never hear from them. You may apply for something as a last resort, get it and find yourself with the business sponsoring you 2 years later to stay. It’s important to keep your emotions as neutral as possible during the process.

There are ups and downs, that’s life. Learn to ride the wave, and if you do, you’re in the perfect country to keep hitting the waves yourself.


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