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For some international students, it is definitely not easy to find their first job in Australia. The lack of language, the lack of fluency, and the lack of work experience in the country can become a big barrier to face sometimes.
However, we have good news!
Australia has a healthy job market in every major Australian city, with a wide range of industries currently booming. Therefore, there are jobs for all levels of English and work experience.
So, if you are currently an international student and you are looking for a job, we have written the most useful tips to find your first job in Australia, exclusively for you.
You can also have a look at other guides we have in our blog, as for example, this article about how to become a Chef in Australia.
1. Practice your English
I know it can sound cliche, but believe me. If you have not been to Australia before, you will remember us when we say that “Australian English” is not like any other language.
When you are looking for your first job, you need to be understood but most importantly you need to understand what employers are telling you.
In Australia, there are a HUGE amount of nationalities. Therefore, you can expect to hear a lot of different accents when speaking to someone else.
There can be easy accents, but really, the Australian accent is not. You will probably need some time to understand it well, especially if they like to include Australian slang into the conversation.
In fact, there are even Australians that don’t understand each other. Funny, hey?
But it is true!
So, if you want to boost your chances of finding your first job, take your phone and start calling your friends or go to your flatmate’s room and start as many conversations as you can to practice.
2. Look for casual jobs and not professional jobs
Do you have a good level of English fluency and enough experience to stand out from a big number of applicants in professional jobs?
But remember, you only have permission to work up to 20 hours as an international student, so make sure those professional jobs you are looking to apply for are okay with that.
If any of these answers are “No” then it is better for you to start looking for casual jobs rather than professional jobs.
In Australia, there are plenty of casual jobs for international students. If you have a basic level of English, you might be interested in looking for casual jobs such as kitchen hands, cleaners or fruit pickers.
On the other hand, if your level of English is medium/high then you should be able to find other jobs such as barista, waiter/waitress, cashier, nanny, bartender, among others.
As you can see, having a better understanding of English can certainly improve your chances of finding a job, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot find a medium/high English level job if your level of English is basic.
Many employers in Australia love to help international students.
They know that students come with the unique purpose of learning and practicing English, therefore they love to help them.
Some employers were students abroad or backpackers and for that reason, they understand the barriers international students may experience when arriving in Australia.
Furthermore, employers are always looking for bubbly people. If you have the right attitude and the disposition to learn and do your best at the role, they would probably be more than open to having you in the team.
So remember…ATTITUDE! A good attitude will get you anywhere.
There are plenty of jobs out there. Start looking for them and show employers the great worker you can be.
3. Get industry certified
Depending on the industry and type of job you are applying for, employers might ask you if you have an industry certificate. Therefore, getting certified can definitely increase your options at the moment of finding a job.
These certificates are required by law, and companies can get huge fines for having employees without these qualifications.
For example, if you want to work in a restaurant that serves alcohol to the public you will need to have an RSA certificate.
If you are looking to work in the construction industry then employers will ask you for a white card.
If you are applying to work as a nanny or any job related to children, then there is a high chance that the employer will be expecting you to have a blue card.
These certificates are not required to apply for jobs as there are employers who are happy to pay these qualifications to employees but as mentioned before, if you already have them, it will help you to not get behind other applicants.
Most of the certifications are one-day face to face courses and they are also not expensive. So, if you are looking to get the biggest chance to get the job, definitely get your certificate.
4. Text, call, walk
Here is the thing.
Employers are receiving dozens of applications from people like you – some even with better profiles. Therefore, you need to hit first!
As we said before, employers are desperately looking for people with the best attitude but also for people who can get the job done…basically INITIATIVE!
Think about it…
If you were them, will you be looking for someone too shy or someone that cannot talk to people? I would say your answer is definitely a “NO”.
So, if you are really looking for a job. Take your phone and start texting and calling employers immediately after you see the job.
Also, you can walk through your closer neighborhood or city and start approaching companies to ask if they are looking for an amazing new employee and/or if they would like to see your resume.
There is nothing more important for employers than initiative!
In some of these places where you can find casual jobs, you can also see their phone number as they publish it on purpose so they can be contacted by phone. So prepare a nice pitch and call them or send them a message.
If you feel nervous, don’t worry about that. Then just send a nice basic message such as:
Template to contact employers
Hi [NAME], my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a [INCLUDE THE OCCUPATION THEY ARE LOOKING FOR]
I found your job position on [WEBSITE or PLACE] and I consider myself the perfect match for the role.
I’d love to have a chat with you and get an opportunity to work at your place.
Send the employer this message and wait for their reply. If it takes time, don’t be worried about that. Just keep sending messages or calling them and you will definitely find a job soon.
5. Prepare your resume
One of the things that might be different in Australia compared to your home country is the resume’s structure.
In Australia, your resume should not be more than one page
Yes, only one page! Or maximum, 2 pages.
Of course, there are some exemptions to the rule but if you are looking for a casual job or even a part-time job, then it would be best to keep your resume within one page.
Here is the structure we recommend you to follow:
Start with your details on top. Basically, include your name, mailing address, phone number and email address.
A summary of yourself
Include your occupation and highlight your experience as something unique and desirable.
A list of skills and abilities
Highlight your best three to five qualifications that make you a good candidate for the job.
Your work experience
This is one of the most important sections of the resume. Include occupations and tasks that are related to the job you are applying to.
Don’t waste your time including things that are not related.
Remember, they have limited time and multiple applications to check so if they see unrelated experience, your resume will end up in the rubbish bin.
You don’t need to include your list of courses from 10 years ago. Be concise.
Include your related certificates, your degree and also the degree you are studying.
Remember that if you have the industry certificates, that will significantly increase your chances of obtaining the job so make sure you include and highlight them the best you can.
Don’t forget this section!
Employers are looking for your availability so they can decide if you can match their rosters.
Include it weekly and as well as the certificates, highlight it the best you can.
References sometimes can be mandatory, but for casual jobs, not all the time.
Remember that employers understand that you are an international student and that this might be your first job in Australia (even if you have experience in your home country).
Include your flatmates or classmates as referees so if employers need someone to call they can tell you a little bit more about you. Of course, don’t forget to tell them so they know in advance what they will need to say.
There can be times where you can struggle to fit your resume in one page, so if this is the case you can include your referees as “References available on request”.
Your resume should be ready now. Memorise it, and throw yourself into the stores or online sites to find a job with it.
6. Look for alternatives
Finding your first casual or part-time job in Australia can take a couple of weeks depending on how proactive you are.
You can open your account on these sites to deliver food to venue clients’ and earn money from each delivery.
Usually opening an account is easy and you can start working a few days later.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you might need your drivers license translated from a certified NAATI translator in Australia.
The cost of the NAATI translation can be around $40 per driving license.
7. Ask your mates
If you have recently arrived in Australia, it is possible that your classmates, flatmates or roommate had been in the same situation as you weeks or months ago.
That gives them an important advantage against you which you can also use in your favour.
Like any other country, employers might find it much better to find job seekers that are recommended by current employees.
In the end, someone else is voting for you which is better than hiring someone they don’t know at all.
So, go ahead and ask your friends and mainly anyone you know if they know about any current opportunity at their job places or if they hear about something, recommend you for the role.
In Australia, this is a great advantage and almost the easiest way to find a job. However, remember that there are plenty of more options.
8. Do voluntary work
One of the biggest barriers you will face while you try to find your first job in Australia is the lack of experience in the country.
For some employers, having local experience is important, and having local references is even more.
Australia is a great country, and its residents too, but sometimes the difference in cultures can be something that could affect you as you don’t perceive things the same as locals.
Therefore, doing voluntary work can definitely help you find your first job.
It will create the references you need and it will show employers that you have easily immersed in the local culture.
This will also help you get confidence and improve your English while you help local communities and gain the first experience you need for finding your first real job as an international student.
9. Look for an internship
Similar to the previous option, finding an internship can be a great first step to finding your part-time job in Australia. Especially if you are looking for professional jobs.
As mentioned before, the secret is showing employers that you have immersed yourself in the Australian culture.
It is important to show them that you have worked for local companies and that you have done it successfully.
Depending on the role, some might be interested that you have had contact before with some industries and that you have performed similar tasks in Australia that those that they are looking for.
Unlike voluntary work, you can find paid internships in Australia. Of course, they are a bit hard to find as an international student, but as always NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
Most of the internships are unpaid but it is the perfect path to get into a company and showcase your skills so that unpaid jobs can become later in your permanent part-time job or even full-time job if you become a resident in the future.
When international students arrive in Australia, they tend to build communities of their same nationalities.
They go to social networks to start joining the multiple groups that are related to their needs and their preferences.
For example, if you are located in Melbourne and you are from China, you can easily find a group called Chinese in Melbourne.
In these groups, you will find international students, same as you, trying to find jobs and publishing accommodations, products and services they sell, job opportunities, and of course places where you are able to find your home country food.
These groups can also be a great place to look for comments and recommendations about Australia and in case you need any help with something, you will find friends happy to help you solve your needs for sure.
Extra tip: Download the Aussiety App
Aussiety is the all-in-one platform for international students where you can find everything you need in order to get the best of your experience of studying in Australia.
In the Aussiety app, you will find hundreds of casual and part-time jobs for international students in one place, as well as internships and voluntary work in multiple venues.
You won’t need to visit dozens of sites to find jobs, plus you can find special benefits and discounts for international students that will help you make your life easier in Australia.
To download the Aussiety app please visit https://www.aussiety.com.au/download-app/
Where to start?
As you could see there are plenty of tips that can help you find your first job as an international student in Australia.
There is no one more important than others. Just be confident and always have the best attitude at the moment of finding a job.
For some can be harder than others, but if you keep pushing and you follow the tips in this article you will definitely find a job soon.
When you least expect it, you are getting consistent hours and enjoying the amazing Australia.
If you have any comments or need help, as always write then down in the comments section.
We wish you all the best in your job search and remember that Aussiety is here to help international students have the best experience in Australia.