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Finding Work

Finding work in Australia will be something most backpackers will need to do at some point. On a working holiday Visa you are only allowed to work for up to 3 months at a time with one employer. Before you start working you should set up a bank account and apply for a Tax File number.

The best places for backpackers to find work are in bigger cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold coast. So unless you want a rural lifestyle working primarily on farms / or in fields, then head to these cities.

If you are arriving in the cities around the end of November / December time you may find it hard to get a job as hundreds of backpackers arrive at this time readying themselves for the summer. Therefore it is advisable to get there in September / October time instead and secure a job straight away.

Whatever type of work you are looking for, it is worth looking in local papers, job boards in hostels, and generally asking around. It isnít as easy as you may think to get a job, so we have tried to make your life easier by giving you some tips and great links to agencies and job sites.

Finding Work

Click on the links to be taken to the relevant section:

CV / Resume.

Before you even set off on your travels you should draw up your CV (or Resume as they call it in Australia). It should have all your education to date and list of employment as well as any referees. If you will be applying to several agencies it might also be worthwhile typing up a general cover letter outlining your skills and what type of jobs you are looking for. In some cities there will be a lot of backpackers looking for jobs so you really need to make your CV shine above the rest. Once you have done this, it might be a good idea to email yourself a copy so itís easy to forward on to agencies and employers.

Office Work:

Office Work

This covers anything from accounting, administration, data entry, or working on reception, but on most occasions they will only be temporary jobs. You will need to dress smartly with a shirt and trousers or skirt. The higher paying the job, the more likely you are to need an actual suit. These you can either bring with you from home or buy when you arrive. It has been known that some backpackers turn up to interviews at agencies wearing jeans and very casual clothing. Agencies judge you on first impressions so it is important to make an effort in every way, so dress smartly, donít be rude (even to the receptionist) and take in a hard copy of your resume. If you do so you will be more respected and put forward for more jobs.



Australia welcomes nurses so as a backpacker you should be ok finding temporary work as a nurse. Nurses with qualifications from overseas will need to register with the Nurses Registration Board in your state before you will be allowed to work as a registered nurse. Nursing agencies usually recommend nurses from the UK remain registered with the RCN when they leave home. This automatically covers PII insurance while working in Australia.

Labour / Construction Work:

Construction Work

If you want to work as a builder or labourer of some sort, you will need to get a ĎGreen Cardí. This is basically a health and safety requirement in order for you to work in the industry. The courses last 1 day and cost around $100. It is definitely worth it as a job in the Australian construction industry pays quite well. For construction jobs, it is worth checking the classified section of the local papers as well as job boards in hostels and local ĎTravellers Contact Pointí boards.

Hospitality / Bar Work:

Bar and hospitality Work

In order to get any job connected with alcohol you will need an "RSA" (responsible service of alcohol) certificate. It is a one-day course and can be done in training centres in the cities and costs around $65. Once you have this, keep your eye open for job openings in local papers and in hostels or you can literally ask in the bars themselves if they need anyone. Other jobs in hospitality can be found the same way, although some hostels will offer free accommodation in exchange for some cleaning.

Harvest Work:

Harvest Work

Fruit picking is probably the job that is most associated with backpackers to Australia. It can be very hard work and the pay isnít the best. However you do get to experience the land for what it is. As an added bonus, if you work for 3 months on your current visa you can then apply for a 12 month extension of that visa, allowing for a 2 year stay altogether! Some hostels in rural locations will help you find harvest work, so itís worth calling in advance.

Volunteer Work:

Volunteer Work

There are some options where you can volunteer your services on a farm for about Ĺ a day in exchange for food and accommodation. Itís a great way to experience Australia and typical Australian farms.