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How I Found a Job & Flat Within 2 Weeks of Arriving in Sydney

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 25 March 2011 | Views [34698] | Comments [8]

When reality steps in  

What's the least fun part of the working holiday in Australia?  I would personally say it is the part where reality steps back in to that holiday and makes you aware of the fact that finding a job and a more long-term place to stay is necessary.  Sure, your money might be dwindling after nights out and hostel stays keep adding up, but making a conscious effort to end some of that “free” fun can be a tough call for some.

Because of this, there are countless stories of travelers in Australia that simply “can't find jobs” or “don't have an apartment yet”.  You see, if you are actually serious about finding a job and an apartment, then you can achieve both at a fairly quick pace.

In fact, I found a job and a flat within 2 weeks of arriving in Sydney. How did I do it?  Have a read:

Before coming to Australia, I had big expectations.  Sydney, for example, is a huge city, so finding a job was going to be a breeze, right?

A few days passed and I was caught up in the idea of which to do first – find a place or find a job.  Many would argue that getting one first is vital to figuring out where to look for the other, and in a widespread city like Sydney, that is very true.  Not only this, but I found that by trying to do both at the same time, I was skimping where it counted.  After a week of sending out resumes to countless temp agencies to get no response and contacting numerous potential flatmates to find out the room had already been rented – all while dealing with expensive Internet access at the hostel I was staying at – I decided I had to take it to the next level by giving all focus to one endeavor first.

Finding a Flat

So, I decided that a flat was more important at the moment, because living in a room with other people was probably not going to help me when I had an important interview.

I set aside an entire day to looking for apartments.  I took snacks and a drink and went over to the Internet cafe with a goal in mind of setting up some places to look at ASAP.

I took to trolling Gumtree in real time; if something popped up that looked worthwhile, I called them immediately leaving a message or setting up a time.  Within a day, I was signing a lease to move in to a share house in Surry Hills.

Landing the Job

Finally, one monkey off my back, I now had the time to focus on finding work, and just like a job, I treated it like that, putting in the hours needed to find something, and something special.  The first step was to figure out my ideal job goals and basic options.  For each option, I put together a targeted resume and cover letter so I could make myself stand out amongst the thousands of other job-seekers in this big city.

Then, just like I did with finding a flat, I took to Gumtree.  It turns out that those big job sites, like Seek and CareerOne are filled with job ads from recruiters with very few options for temporary workers.  Gumtree allows anyone to post job ads, for free, so the smaller companies, cafes and shops that need temporary workers are more likely to post.

I took to scrolling in real-time.  As I polished off my resumes, I would check on Gumtree about every 15 minutes – multiple searches on multiple browser tabs – and see if anything new or interesting would pop up.  One job in particular stood out as perfect for me, so I sent away instantaneously – a decision that resulted in an interview being set up within a half hour (I got that job).

Also during this forced job of job-hunting, I made another connection that, a few weeks later, resulted in a second part-time job.  My finances for living in the great city of Sydney were set, my living situation was finalized, and all within the first two weeks of arriving.

So, if you are one of those working holiday makers in Australia that is having issues finding a job or a flat, then I suggest you try to take it one step further by focusing all your efforts on the task at hand.  In other words:  get serious about it.  You might also want to take into account my article on what to do when no one wants to hire working holiday makers.

Related Articles:

Australia Working Holiday 101: Turning Inspiration into Employment

Working Holiday Decisions: Travel first, then work?

About the Author

Brooke Schoenman is a world traveler turned Australia expat.  She's done the whole work and holiday thing herself and can definitely tell you a thing or two about traveling down under.  For some travel inspiration, be sure to check out more of her work at Brooke vs. the World and WhyGo Australia.

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Tags: apartment rentals, australia, holiday, moving, oz, sydney, travel, travelers, working, working holiday



All easier said than done for some though! The amount of people i've heard struggling for work in Sydney is unbelieveable.

I have to say my experience was similar and i was trying to hunt for a job and accomodation at once, resulting in alot of stress. However i ended up just basing myself at a long-termers hostel as i only had 4 months in Sydney - no commitment to signing a lease and it left me free to job hunt in the local area. When i didn't get any response after 2 days of firing out my resume online to CBD roles (seek, Gumtree etc). I took to the streets of one suburb with my resume and i was offered a trial in a bar right away which meant i was working in less than a week of job hunting. I would advise people to do the same as bars/cafes/restaurants are always looking for new staff. Short term workers who are also flexible with their hours can result in a well paid bar or waiter/ess job.

  Nadia Atmouni Mar 25, 2011 3:14 PM


What about the permanent residents who can't get work because the travellers are taking our jobs? I was born here and finding it very difficult to gain employment. I think the government needs stop giving working visas out unless they have qualifications that is really needed here. Fair is fair. It's never been so hard to find a job. I remember when you were only competing against a couple of people and now its generally over 1000 per job advertised. Government needs to wake up.

  Mirjana Stevanovic Jun 30, 2013 5:12 PM


Dear Mirjana,The one who has to wake up is you,not the government.There is competition everywhere. So,make sure you work hard to improve your qualification to get a well paid job.Don't blame us for coming and stealing your job. Take your butt off the sofa and go to search. Fair enough?

  Natalia Nov 4, 2013 10:42 PM


Natalia, you're the problem and the government needs to fix it. You're obviously a traveler, you don't live here, you didn't grow up here, you don't know ANYTHING about this place. I hope you've left Sydney by now and I hope you don't come back. Fair enough?

  blod Jan 16, 2014 12:30 AM


Hi , I am looking for job in kitchen as assistant or any factory job .

  Sheeba Nov 29, 2014 12:36 PM


its easy to blame not being able to find a job and your problems on travelers. travelers create as many jobs as they take up.

  Fruity Dee Dec 5, 2014 11:00 AM


hi i am looking fir a job. please con
tact me

  kamal Jan 9, 2015 12:40 AM


Natalie. Please tell me what an Australian is because unless you're aboriginal I don't think you know! Your country! It's because of people like you this country is so shite

  Jamie Apr 6, 2015 2:01 PM

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