Finding a job as an international student in Australia
As an international student living in Australia, getting a part-time job is a great way to make friends, get to know the language and the culture better, and earn some extra spending money on the side. Here’s what you need to know to find a part-time job:
- Be flexible and keep your options open
Depending on your experience level and the type of job you’re seeking, it can sometimes take months to find a job, which is why it’s important to keep your options open by considering as many opportunities as possible.
You will probably have to apply for several positions before you find a job. Part-time jobs, depending on your skills and experience, can range from everything from data entry to retail and sales positions to work at restaurants, driving taxis, etc. Consider your skills, experience and interests before choosing what to apply for, as ideally you’ll want to find a job you’ll enjoy – and not just for the fact that you’re getting paid for it!
- Know your legal limits
As an international student in Australia, your student visa currently limits you to working 40 hours every two weeks, and unlimited hours during the holidays. This means you’ll be able to work part-time during the semesters and full-time during the breaks if you choose, allowing you to save up even more money.
Being aware of the number of hours you’re able to work not only protects you but also your employer as it means you know upfront exactly how many hours you can commit to each week.
- Consider volunteer work
Volunteering not only looks great, but feels great, as it’s a way to quickly meet new people, help out those in need, and increase your skills and experience in an area of interest to you. Taking part in activities, clubs or teams not only develops your skills but makes you even more employable as it encourages you to manage your time better, improve your leadership skills, as well as your teamwork and communication skills.
Volunteering in an area related to your studies is also a great way to become more knowledgeable about the area and also to give you more experience related to your studies. For example, if you are studying law you could consider volunteering in a law firm, or if you’re studying accounting you could volunteer at a tax agency.
- Get a tax file number
To work in Australia you will need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) before you apply for a job. This will ensure you get taxed at the right rate for the work you’re doing. If you earn less than the tax-free threshold during the financial year, you will not have any tax taken from your earnings at tax time.
- Start your job search online
Use online job search websites like ‘Seek’ and ‘Career One’ to find jobs near your current location in an area of interest to you. You can also go to local shops and food outlets to submit a copy of your resume to the manager, or try using social media sites such as LinkedIn or researching the websites of employers you want to work for to find job opportunities.
Great places to start are the hospitality and retail industries as they have varying hours and a high need for casual employees, which means you can fit the work around study.
- Update your resume
Before you apply for a new job, make sure your resume is professional and up-to-date. It should also include important details including your contact details, previous work history and your education. Make sure you get a friend or family member to proof-read it for you, and include at least one Australian reference if possible (a university lecturer who knows you well is a good place to start if you haven’t worked in Australia before).
- Write your cover letter
Your cover letter is a way of introducing yourself to an employer and a chance to detail how your educational and work experience make you the best candidate for the job. Be sure to address the job criteria and target the cover letter (and if possible your resume) for the role – don’t use a generic version for every job you apply for.
- Practice your interview skills
Before you are called into an interview, make sure you practice your skills and technique with friends and other students. Start by researching some of the most common job interview questions and practice your responses. Always make sure you have a clear reason as to why you want to work with the employer’s company.
There are so many opportunities to find a part-time job in your local neighbourhood and city. Just remember that you might need to apply for several positions before you find one that’s a good fit for you. If you’re finding the job search difficult, try some volunteer work or practice your interview technique until you’re confident and have the skills to show for your experience. Good luck!