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4 best casual jobs opportunities for international students in Australia

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10 Mar 2022

“Never stop hustling”

If you’re an international student reading this, then I’m sure that those lines hit home, given that from the moment you first land in a foreign country, you’re always on the move – finding a part-time job, an internship, constantly enhancing your academic profile until before you finally land a full-time job in your field.

I remember coming to Melbourne for the very first time as an international student from India way back in July 2018. As my mother and I made our way from the airport to the student accommodation where I was meant to stay at, I couldn’t help but wonder what the future held for me in this foreign city.

Despite Melbourne being a spectacular city, I was overcome with a burning desire to head back home. Back to familiarity. To certainty. Anywhere but Melbourne – a city where I knew nothing and nobody.

Later that week, while shopping at a local supermarket, I panicked when I saw the receipt – a mighty $35! It was then that I decided to start looking for a casual job.

For those new to Australia, here are the Top 4 casual job opportunities that would be give you some sense of financial independence early on in your journey in this foreign land.


1. Hospitality

The hospitality industry is the best bet for any international student in Australia seeking part-time and casual employment. Some examples of jobs in the sector include waiting staff, bar & beverage staff, chefs and cooks, front office & guest services, gaming, housekeeping, kitchen & sandwich hands, management, reservations, baristas.

Don’t worry if you have no prior work experience since it is not always required. Employers are willing to let that go if you bring the right attitude to work. You can either apply online or on sites like Indeed and Sidekicker or simply drop your resumes at restaurants close to your house and wait for a call-back.

Almost all applicants are called in for a training shift after which they officially become either part-time or casual employees. You know you’ve made it when you see your name on a roster.

Key Considerations:

  • Apply for your Tax File Number (TFN) and superannuation 

  • Ensure that you are getting paid via TFN; not cash-in-hand, since cash-based jobs typically pay international students below the minimum job – a practice now come to be known as the “Great Wage Rip Off”. 

  • Part-time jobs pay around $21/hr, while casual jobs pay upwards of $25/hr. As tempting as you may find it, don't settle for the first job you get. Always enquire about the rates before saying yes to any employer.


2. Retail

Who doesn’t want to be in retail, right? It pays well and offers plenty of benefits like sick leave, annual leave, and staff discounts. Supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths are the most sought-after jobs in this category.

Having worked at Woolworths for 2 years, there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not grateful for the job. It allowed me to earn over $400 every week for an entire year (working 20-hour weeks as a part-time employee).

The $1600 per month from this job alone was enough to cover all my living expenses in Australia. Just like restaurants, you should apply to supermarkets both online and in-person to increase the likelihood of getting the job.

Fashion retail stores are also worth considering since they hire throughout the year, with the November-January period being widely considered as the merriest time of the year to apply since it’s the Christmas casual season. Towards the end of 2021 alone, around 20,000 jobs went on offer across Australia.

Brands like The Body Shop, Myer, David Jones, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and Pandora are usually at the forefront of recruitment in these periods. The Body Shop, in fact, made headlines with its radical approach to hiring, where casual job seekers didn’t need a resume, a reference, a background check or even an education to land a job at the cosmetics company.

Key considerations:

  • If you’re applying for a Christmas casual, start applying in August itself to be well ahead of the curve.

  • Always state full availability. Front end managers will not give you shifts if you have a limited availability or keep calling in sick for your shifts.


3. Tutoring

Do you play a musical instrument? You’d be surprised by the number of families looking for a private music teacher for their children who can teach them the piano, guitar, violin, or the ukulele. These jobs typically pay upwards of $30 per hour and really gives you a good sense of what an Australian family looks like.

Or, if you’ve got a flair for academics, then you can apply for any one of the many private jobs posted on Indeed, Seek and Jora every day, each paying upwards of $25 per hour. For the academically brilliant ones reading this blog, I would recommend networking with your professors after lectures and showing your passion for the subject. Research the professor’s Ph. D topic enough to make it seem like you know what you’re talking about.

If you’re a digital marketer like myself, write a blog based on something that resonated with you in class and send it to your professor for feedback. You may think that its not worth the effort but I assure you that doing this will generate a greater return for you than any of your assignments or exams can.

When you show such initiative, you are immediately seen as the top 10% in your cohort and the professor is more likely to recommend you for full-time positions when you graduate from University, which is exactly what happened to me, and was one of the contributing factors that led to my appointment as a Casual Sessional Lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

Key considerations:

  • You will need to apply for your Employee Working with Children Check. While the cost varies from state to state, it ranges from $80-$120.

  • You will need to maintain a high academic average throughout your time at university to be considered for such roles.


4. Freelancing

This one is for all the writers and designers out there. The pandemic-induced working from home phenomenon has motivated more people to start freelancing. Why? Because you can work anywhere and anytime.

If you excel at writing blogs, designing websites and apps, or just simply managing someone’s social media page, then you’re perfectly placed to kickstart your freelancing career. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr can make it easier to connect with potential clients.

What has your hustle been like? Let us know in the comments section below. Share this with your friends if you found value in reading this blog.

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