Guide to get a job in Australia

  1. Understand your Work Rights
  2. Research the Basics
  3. Search for your Desired Position
  4. Prepare a tailored CV and a Cover Letter
  5. Prepare for your interview
  6. Follow up on your interview

1. Understand your Work Rights in Australia:

As a student, to protect yourself and your rights, here are the things you need to be aware of before stepping into the Australian job market.

    • Working Hours:

According to the Department of Home Affairs, if you are holding a Student visa subclass 500,  “you can only work up to 40 hours in a fortnight. A fortnight means the period of 14 days starting on a Monday.”. This includes all the types of employment, including full-time, part-time, casual, internship, contractor or volunteer.

    • Salary:

Australia is well-known for the highest pay rate for employees. Lawfully, you will receive the minimum wage with a specific occupation or industry. 

If an employer is paying you under the minimum rate, it could mean that you are being underpaid. Depending on the situation, please search for the relevant solution and negotiate with the employer if possible.

If you are taking an unpaid job, see more details here.

    • Tax:

To work in Australia, you may need to get a Tax File Number (TFN). It’s free to apply for TFN online by yourself on the Australian Taxation Office’s website.

You don’t have to get a TFN, but without one, you will need to pay more tax, which means your employer will need to deduct higher taxes from salary or wages. If you earn more than $18,200 per year, you will need to file your taxes. The financial year lasts from 1st July (current year) to 30th June (next year) in Australia. 

Be careful if you receive cash for your work. Even though paying by cash is more convenient, you may be underpaid because the employer doesn’t want to pay tax for you. 

    • Super:

Super, or superannuation, is money set aside during your working life for when you retire. For most people, super begins when you start work and your employer starts paying a portion of your salary or wages into a super fund for you. You can only claim your super back when you retire, or turn 65 years old, or leave Australia permanently.

In most cases, your super will be registered and paid by your employer.

Get to know more about super via the ATO.

    • ABN:

If you’re working as a contractor, you will need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN). An ABN is a number that identifies your business. It doesn’t replace your tax file number (TFN). It’s free to apply for an ABN by yourself.

2. Research the Basics:

    • Culture

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Even though in Australia, people tend to respect each other’s culture and tradition, we still may make mistakes because we lack cultural and traditional understanding of others’ cultures, especially Australian culture. 

Therefore, doing research about the culture is crucial to avoid any misleading information or miscommunication when communicating with Aussie or other people.

    • Job Market:

Understanding the type of industry, positions, roles and skills can be your very first step of getting to know about the Australian job market. The more you explore, the more likely that you realize where you would fit in the job market. 

Additionally, some insights into the job market could be an advantage for your future job application and job interview.  

3. Search for Your Desired Position:

    • Platforms:

Job sites like Linkedin, Indeed, Seek, Jora, Adecco or Morgan Consulting are the popular sites for job seekers.

Facebook Jobs and Facebook Groups are also well-known among users, especially Asian. Besides, you can look for opportunities in the specific business such as Uber, Uber Eats, DiDi, Deliveroo, or become a Freelancer on Fiverr.

And don’t forget your school’s career hub/job board – this is the ideal place to find available on-campus positions or from high-quality employers.

    • Job Description:

Normally, there are four main sections of the job description: Value, Accountabilities, Key Selection Criteria and Qualifications. In your application, you should address all four sections and articulate how you fulfil each of these, using examples to illustrate your points.

4. Prepare a tailored CV and a Cover Letter:

    • Tips to prepare a CV/Resume:
      • Don’t include your profile picture or your visa status in the CV unless it’s required in the description.
      • Prioritize the skills that you have and demonstrate them via specific examples instead of listing them out and “grade 5 stars” for them. For instance, if you have good problem-solving skills, describe it through a situation where you apply it and mention the results/achievement if possible so the recruiter could assess your skills more correctly. 
      • In the work experience section, don’t assume that employers have heard of your overseas employer in your previous experience. Include a sentence in your resume explaining the business’s functions.
      • Include Referees section, who can help refer you to future employers, but remember to ask for their permission first.
      • Get an example of a CV/Resume from RMIT University here.


    • Tips to prepare a Cover Letter:

Here is the good and bad example of a Cover Letter:



Source: Seek

5. Prepare for your interview:

After following up on the job application with your relevant email, you can be chosen as one of the candidates to receive an email or a call from the recruiter for an interview round. Congratulations!

In Australia, people tend to favour and also suggest the STAR approach for an interview response to ensure your answers will have a good structure, contain relevant key elements, and finish strong. Remember to state your STAR answers in the past tense:

  • S – Situation: Where and when the relevant experience happens.0
  • T – Task: What are the required tasks in this experience.
  • A – Action: What action did you do in this circumstance.
  • R – Result: How your action benefits the situation and what was the final results/achievements.

6. Follow up on your interview:

You may want to send an email to find out when the recruiter plans to make their decision. This can help you follow up if you have not heard anything since the interview.

If you are right for the job, the recruiter may wish to speak to your Referees –  who can validate your credentials. Ideally, you should have at least two people ready to speak professionally and positively about you in a relatively occupational sense. Remember not to choose your friends.

Who to find regarding Job & Career issues in Australia?



How to find a job in Australia

7-Step Guide to Get a Job in Australia

Where to Look for Part-Time and Casual Jobs in Australia