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  • Lena

How to find a student job in Sydney

REAL TALK: Studying in a city like Sydney may be super exciting -but for most of us, it’s quite expensive compared to our home countries. To earn some extra money for surf camp weekends, fun nights at Ivy, or even diving lessons, many international students start desperately looking for a student job at the beginning of each semester. To make your job hunting a bit easier, I will uncover in this article three major myths about the Australian job market and tell you what it's really like.

Myth #1 - You can simply translate your CV into English.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just translate your foreign CV. The Australian CV involves special formatting and a lot of text (and I mean really A LOT). Make sure to include details about yourself, your interests and skills, your previous work experiences, education background and voluntary commitment. Also, don’t forget to delete your picture, Australian employers usually don’t care about your pretty-posed application photo.

But don’t stress – UTS Careers offers a lot of helpful resources such as the Resume and Cover Letter Workbook, and the ‘Rate My Resume’ platform which provides you with instant feedback after uploading your newly revised CV. Additionally, you can always just drop-in and see a Recruitment Advisor from the UTS Careers office – without an appointment. Check the UTS Careers website and Facebook page for regular open hours and more information.

Myth #2 - Sydney is such a digital and modern city that you can just drop your application via e-mail or through Gumtree.

OK. First of all, Gumtree is like the Australian ‘Ebay’. On, you can find used surfboards, vintage furniture for your bare student accommodations or if you’re fortunate, even a job. Sad to say, my Gumtree experience wasn’t the best. After sending out almost 30 applications, I only got two responses. Thanks, Gumtree. Later, I learned that if you send out requests via email and don’t receive a reply, you will need to call them in regular intervals. Finally, don’t be sad if they don’t take a closer look at your extraordinary designed CV – that’s normal, too.

With my quarter-life crisis approaching and my bank account almost reaching absolute zero, I decided to try something completely new – so I printed my CV several times, stepped out of my comfort zone, and traipsed around every single café in my neighbourhood (restaurants weren’t a real alternative due to the required RSA certificate). It was worth it. Everyone was really amiable and in the end, I got invited for a trial the next morning – which leads us to our third myth…

Myth #3 - The minimum wage in Australia is insanely high, I’m gonna get rich working here.

You’re partly right. Compared to other countries, the national minimum wage in Australia is quite high. It is currently at $18.93 per hour with a 25% loading if you work a casual job and not on a fixed term. However, many cafés and restaurants don’t really care about the minimum wage as they decide to not declare their new employees to the government. So, I got offered a total of 15$ per hour to wake up at 4am and spend three hours serving customers their ‘extra hot flat white with soy milk and 1.5 cups of sugar’. I declined and went straight back to my bed.

A few days later, my job hunting drama finally came to an end – a happy ending. Back home in Germany, I worked for a big private, public transport operator. I knew that they also had an office in Sydney so I took a chance and sent my CV to the head office – even though they weren't advertising any jobs online. The following day, I received a call asking if I were available for a spontaneous job interview. The week after, I started my new job as Communications Officer for Sydney Bus. Even though my enthusiasm declined after receiving my first pay slip that showed a deduction of 9.5% superannuation and 32% taxes due to my status as a foreign resident, I couldn't complain. I’m still happy to gain work experience so far away from home and earn some money for my travels after this semester.

I hope your job hunting will come to a happy ending, too.

Good Luck!

Lena L.

Country: Germany

Course: Master of Business Management

University: HTW - University of Applied Sciences Berlin

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