1) Timing is the key
When it comes to finding work in Sydney this is actually a very important factor that many people overlook. Ideally to set yourself up with the best chance of employment you want to arrive between September and October. The reason for this is that peak hospitality season in Sydney begins around the end of October so this is when new temporary jobs peak. And this isn’t only limited to hospitality works, this is also the case with call centres, warehouses and retail all needing extra temporary staff for the busy Christmas period. The jobs are there for the taking so make sure you don’t arrive late to the party!
2) Join as many Agencies as you can
This is pretty standard advice for finding work anywhere in the world not just Sydney. It is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket and hope for the best. Always keep as many options open as possible because you never know when one job might end or a new better opportunity may begin. Whether it’s labouring work, hospitality, or call centre jobs, there are multiple agencies out there for all of them. Agencies I have come across that are well worth a look at are MEA for casual hospitality work, Hays Recruitment (for pretty much anything really) and Future People, a call centre recruitment specialist, I highly recommend looking at. They aren’t the most obvious or well known of companies but they found me a job in three days with TNT which went on to last me 3 ½ months. It made my life a lot easier having sustained work which I may even have the option to go back to if I need to.
3) Get your RSA and RCG done ASAP
A lot of people when going down under come with the impression that as soon as they arrive they can just walk down the street into a few bars and walk away with a bar job. Alas, for the majority of us this just isn’t the case. Because it is a rather low skilled position it has become increasingly competitive to find jobs in these roles with many looking for experience. So if this is the avenue you are looking to go down it is very important to make sure you get ahead of the game and complete your RSA (Responsible Service for Alcohol) which is the qualification you require to work on any premise with alcohol and also the RCG/RSG (Responsible Gaming Services) is becoming increasingly high in demand as well. These cost about $110 and $75 respectively but without them you can’t work and no employer will even take a sniff at you until you do. A handy tip though for finding bar work is to join the Facebook group, The Sydney Bartender Exchange. Many employers will post jobs on here and are typically more reliable then the majority of jobs you will find on Gumtree.
4) Avoid the Backpacker traps
If you have read my recent rant about Fundraising jobs you will already have a good idea about how I feel about these. But Fundraiser jobs aren’t the only example of Backpacker traps out there, so it’s important to know what to look out for so you know how to avoid them. Typically there are two rules of thumb to unearthing a backpacker trap. The first if you find yourself in a group interview and they do the whole “describe yourself in 30 seconds” jobby then proceed to spend the rest of the interview pitching to you about how great their company is and how much money you can earn… then this is a glaring red flag and one to avoid. If they need to convince you to work for them then that is worrying, I think most of us know that it should be the other way around. And secondly, if it sounds too good to be true…. it is most definitely too good to be true so don’t even waste your time applying.
5) It’s not what you know it’s who you know
I have met countless of University graduates in Sydney, who come over with their freshly printed degrees, and farts smelling of roses, who think when they get to Sydney the world is going to fall at their feet and people are going to be lining up to employ you. Please do not be one of those naïve idiots, the minute you get off that plane you are no longer a graduate you are a backpacker just like the rest of us. I remember meeting one such idiot who after arriving in Sydney told me about all the jobs such and such had lined up for them at $30 an hour blah blah blah. My initial attempts to advise them were rebuffed and unsurprisingly 6 weeks down the line they were still unemployed contemplating upping sticks and leaving. Moral of the story is don’t let that be you. The employment situation in Sydney, and everywhere in Australia for that fact, is constantly changing. So you need to be adaptable, talk and listen, meet people who have been through what you are just starting and learn from their mistakes. And you never know you might get a recommendation or a foot through the door somewhere from someone you meet. If you get that opportunity, don’t be naïve and ignorant, accept that help and soak up their wisdom for all it’s worth.