Finding work in WA

Greetings all,

Last time we left I mentioned how I planned to get a job and pretty much just enjoy the Perth summer. Well, I’m glad to report that this is exactly what I’ve been up to. Perth is currently experiencing a bit of a heat wave and the temp has been 42 for a few days in a row now (see graphic).


In terms of work, I’ve recently left one job as a car detailer (fancy word for washer) and started working at a uni bookstore as the hours are a bit more study friendly. Washing cars was actually a really decent job, being able to work outside was definitely ideal and it was a great summer job.

Job-hunting can be a completely demoralizing experience and if you’re dependent on having a job in order to be able to get by then things can get a bit stressful when you can’t find work. In this blog I’ll be running through a couple of requirements and tips for any exchange students hoping to work in WA.

What you’ll need:

First off, if you want to in Australia you’re going to need a TFN (Tax File Number). Every employer will ask for this and it can be obtained very easily through the Australian Taxation Office website.

If you want to work in hospitality, i.e. a bar or restaurant, you’re going to need an RSA certificate (Responsible Service of Alcohol). This can be obtained by completing an online course that takes about 2-4 hours and costs anywhere from $18-$50, depending on which company you go through. I did mine through Galaxy Training and it only cost $18, not entirely sure why some courses are dearer than others as the end certificate is the same.

You’ll also need an RSA if you want to work in a bottle shop; these are shops designated for the sale of alcohol, as supermarkets here don’t stock alcohol. Although, bottle shops are usually next to supermarkets and owned by the same companies so it’s literally a case of walking through a different door to buy your booze. However, this means that you won’t need an RSA if you want to work in a supermarket. Having five years experience working in a supermarket I thought I’d be able to get supermarket work easily here but thus far it’s proved difficult.

Tips for finding employment on your exchange year:

  • Update your CV (Or resume as they’re more commonly referred to here) – I found that the CV I had used back home wasn’t really what Australian employers were used to or looking for so I did a search through Google Australia on how to update my CV accordingly and since doing so I’ve had much better response rates.
  • Search far and wide – I had little luck finding a job during my first semester of university but come summer I dedicated more time to finding a job and also looked harder. Although it didn’t work for me, you could always print out your CV and go around handing them out at different companies, this method worked for a friend. I found online the best way to find and apply for jobs and every job I’ve had so far has been found online. Caroline managed to get her job through contacting a bar via Facebook messenger. I’ve also found out that supermarkets only accept online applications, as you usually have to answer some aptitude questions.

Here are some websites I’ve found useful so far:,, (this is where I found the car wash job) and obviously check out Gumtree too. I would also suggest applying for jobs directly through company websites too.

  • Be open to new experiences – Don’t be afraid to apply for something you haven’t done before, it could be a great chance to pick up some new skills and if (like me) you struggle to find work at first, you’ll probably become open to pretty much any job.
  •  Join the relevant Facebook groups – I’m guessing this is the case for every other state in Australia but WA has different Facebook groups related to different trades (i.e. WA Bartenders or WA baristas). These two pages are often used for advertising jobs and could definitely prove useful for anyone looking to pick up some bar or café work.


Most students who work in Australia will be on what’s called a casual contract and I’m pleased to inform you all that even the minimum wage here (for over 21’s) is the equivalent of about £10.50. It may well be the case that you find a job that pays much higher than this, particularly on public holidays.

I would also suggest that having a diverse range of job experience would certainly come in handy while trying to find a job. I only have supermarket experience so have struggled to find bar work for example. Customer service experience is always sought after and I definitely feel that barista or bartender experience would have helped me out over here.

If you’re not looking for ongoing employment you could always sign up to do event work. We’ve both worked at different events over here and on new years eve I worked at a music festival at which I managed to clock off early and enjoy a couple of the acts who were playing! I went through and they cover a lot of summer events in Perth. You won’t need any experience to get started with independent events but an RSA would definitely be useful as much of what they offer is bar work.

(Ringing in NY with Skepta after doing some bar work at Origin NYE Festival)

ALSO: Keep in mind that on a student visa you can work 20 hours during term time and as much as you want outside of it.

Hopefully this is helpful to those of you who plan on working during your time in Australia and all the best for when you find yourself on the hunt!



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