Step 9: The Job Search
Depending on the type of work you are looking for you may want to just pound the pavement and try and find something in the city. Sydney is a popular destination for backpackers so it is quite competitive to find entry level, backpacker type jobs. Accommodation is also quite expensive so if you are like me and are looking for a job where you can save some money to continue traveling you are going to want to try and find employment with accommodation included or at least subsidized by the employer. There are two main categories of work where the accommodation is usually part of employment. Farm work (Fruit picking, harvesting, cattle stations) and resorts. There are also work exchange programs often referred to as WWOOFing. Employees or workers are refereed to as WWOOFers. Essentially you live and eat for free in exchange for a few hours work. I wasn’t interested in becoming a woofer as I needed an income. If you have some money saved up and you are just looking to spread out your vacation Woofing may be of interest to you. For more information on WOOFing visit Willing Workers on Organic Farms International (WWOOF), www.wwoof.org.
If however you need a job that pays you in currency, food and provides accommodation resorts are where you want to focus your attention. Resorts in remote areas or islands especially. Most will deduct a small rent payment from your pay check but this deduction often includes your food. Voyages and Delaware North Inc. are tourism companies that own properties in remote areas of Australia. I worked for both of them and was able to save enough money to continue my journey and I had a great time while there. You can find a current list of jobs available on their websites and on the websites of similar companies:
My advice to you is apply for everything on their websites and any other resort websites you can find. Tourism companies are constantly looking for House Keepers, Room Attendants, Food and Beverage Servers, Retail Attendants and a vast array of other unskilled, entry level positions. If you have never done it before don’t be shy! You can learn. If you are capable and outgoing enough to have traveled all the way to Australia surely you can learn how to make a bed or mop a floor. Also try not to be picky about what you do. The more of an open mind you keep the more chance you will have of securing a job. If you feel you are above mopping a floor or making a bed keep in mind that there are 100 backpackers behind you that are willing to do anything. Plus there is always opportunity to move around within the resort once you have been hired. You may start out in house keeping than move onto Reception. Food and Beverage. The sky is the limit with the right attitude. Typically professional type jobs are reserved for people holding more permanent visas. Your Working Holiday Visa limits you to working for one employer for only 6 months so the types of jobs you are most likely to find will be jobs with a high turn over rate. This is particularly a hard concept to grasp for people who have held positions of importance back home. I heard people say “I have a University degree, I’m not about to scrub toilets”. Unfortunately most of these people did not find jobs (or at least did not accept the jobs they were offered) and were forced to go home early as they ran out of money. I personally worked along side people of all professional and educational backgrounds doing a variety of entry level jobs. In the end it may be a job you don’t like but its not just about the job its about the people you meet, the experience you will have and the opportunities it will afford you in the future. After working resorts for 6 months I was able to tour the entire country and come back to Canada debt free.
If you don’t find a job right away don’t lose hope! It took me about 2 weeks to find something solid. I applied for about 50 different jobs and was willing to do anything. Talk to other backpackers. Check the message boards in hostels. Perhaps consider doing a short term work exchange while you seek employment. I personally don’t think you will have any trouble finding work. With the right attitude and an open mind you will have a position secured in no time!