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How to get a job in Melbourne – casual, part-time or full-time work

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How to get a job in Melbourne – casual, part-time or full-time work

So you’ve arrived in Melbourne and you’re planning to stick around for a while and find workbut you’re not sure where to look for a job? Maybe you’re a backpacker who would prefer casual work? Our step-by-step guide will have you employed in no time!

Which kind of work should you look for?

This is a non-exhaustive list of industries to look into that were specifically chosen for this guide because they: 

  • Normally don’t require years of experience and offer a variety of positions that can be learnt relatively quickly
  • Regularly hire workers on casual contracts, perfect for those who are studying or planning to travel, or have work restrictions imposed by their visa
  • Include roles for those still perfecting their English language skills
  • Offer an opportunity to live and work in the city without scraping by
  • Tend to attract like-minded people and offer opportunities for you to make friends 

It’s important to note that while Australian labour laws and practices are generally considered fair, this doesn’t apply to all employers! There are always a few bad eggs who will take advantage of people who are new to the country and are not “in the know”. These employers generally target backpackers and offer cash-in-hand jobs and/or dodgy working conditions.

Casual employment in Australia comes with a 15/25% casual loading bonus per hour as it offers fewer benefits than salaried jobs (eg, annual leave, sick pay etc.). Don’t get tricked by employers looking to exploit you. Use the Australia Backpackers Guide summary of wages to get a rough idea of how much you should be making in any given role. To get more of an understanding of your legal rights as a casual worker in Australia, see here

Note: If you are on a Working Holiday Visa, after July 1 2023 you can only work a maximum of 6 months for the same employer, unless you get special permission or transfer to another branch of the same company in a different location. However, you can do all types of jobs (qualified, unskilled, etc.).

Hospitality and event jobs

The hospitality industry in Melbourne is booming, with world-class restaurants, cafés, live music venues, sports stadiums and much more. Major events happen frequently throughout the year, but the busiest period for “hospo“, as it’s called Down Under, kicks off in spring. This is when businesses are usually looking to hire for the summer “silly season”.

The best time to find a job in hospitality

The best time to look for hospitality work in Melbourne is during the tail-end of winter, around September. That way, if you’re coming from the Northern Hemisphere, you can enjoy summer at home before arriving in Victoria just as it’s warming up.

For work in restaurants, bars, food trucks, cafés etc, employers will be looking for extra people from November to December in particular, as venues get booked out for Christmas events. What’s more, there are tonnes of events over the spring and summer, which all require massive amounts of casual hospo staff.

How to get a Job in Melbourne hospitality

Here are some examples of major events in Melbourne that hire during that time: 

  • Royal Melbourne Show: food stalls in a carnival-like fair (September)
  • Australian Moto Grand Prix: motorcycle racing event (October)
  • Melbourne Cup: horse racing (October – November)
  • Australian Open: tennis tournament (January)
  • Formula One Grand Prix: motor racing event (March) 

Where to find hospitality work in Melbourne?

Almost all major events in Melbourne take place in locations that are serviced by the city’s tram and train networks. Some companies even offer shuttle buses to assist staff to get to less convenient venues. The most popular nightlife areas for venues are in inner-city neighbourhoods including Richmond, South Melbourne, Collingwood, St Kilda, Brunswick, or the CBD. 

How to get a hospitality job in Melbourne?

Printing out your resume and going from venue to venue asking if they are hiring might seem old-school, but it’s one of the most effective ways of finding a job in Melbourne. Going into a venue in person shows initiative and confidence and allows the manager to see you face-to-face and get a sense of your personality. You may be offered an interview or a trial on the spot, so come prepared!

Another great bet for finding a decent gig in the hospitality or events industry is to scour job ads that get posted on Indeed.com.au or seek.com.au. Another effective method is to search on Facebook and join relevant groups, such as the Melbourne Bartender Exchange and The Melbourne Cafe Exchange, to find insider information about where is hiring and get in touch with managers directly. Other good groups include Melbourne Jobs and Backpacker Jobs in Australia.

Recruiters are used quite regularly in Australia, even for casual or temp jobs. Some hospitality recruiters include Woods & Co and Frontline Recruitment.

For more information about putting together the perfect CV, see our article on Writing a Resume in Australia.

Get your RSA Certificate

If you plan to work in a venue that serves alcohol, you will require a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate, or RSA, which covers your rights and responsibilities regarding alcohol and patrons. It is actually a very interesting course and can be combined with a Certificate IV in hospitality for those looking to enhance their skills in coffee-making, cocktails, first-aid, and food handling, which will all increase your chances of employment.

Staff without an RSA certificate need to undertake training no more than one month after they begin serving alcohol on the licensed premises. It is better to get your RSA certificate done before you even start applying for hospitality jobs.

Get your RSA in Australia (with special discounts!)

Pay less for your RSA course (Responsible Service of Alcohol). With this certificate, you are allowed to work in all places where alcohol is served or sold.

Get your RSG

Gambling is big business in Australia and there are many casinos, as well as bars that contain gaming machines or “Pokies”. If you want to get a job in one of these establishments, you will need a Responsible Service of Gaming (RSG) certificate. Module 1 can be done online and must be completed within one month of starting work in a gaming venue. Module 2 is a face-to-face component that you must complete within 6 months of starting work in a gaming venue.

Work in Construction

The housing market in Australia’s capital cities is booming. This means a lot of casual employment for those wishing to work as casual sub-contractors for construction firms. The pay is generally very good, normally starting at around $31AUD p/h. If you haven’t studied a trade before – which can include professions such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, landscapers – have no fear, as there is always work to be found as a general labourer. It’s physically demanding work but you’ll get a real taste of working with average Australians, as well as potentially making some good friends along the way. 

The best time to find construction work in Melbourne?

A massive plus for this line of work is that employers are usually hiring all year round. The only time you would find it difficult to get work is over public holidays, as non-essential worksites tend to shut down. 

Where to find construction work in Melbourne?

Labouring jobs are plentiful but normally involve the need for your own transport as you’ll be working on sites all over the city. Sometimes work will be available in easy-to-reach spots, but just as often it can take place in the outer suburbs away from public transport. Having private transport or carpooling with colleagues is recommended.

Get your White Card

For any job in this sector, you’ll require a specific but easily attainable licence called a White Card. This licence is to show that you’ve completed a half-day in-person training course and passed an online test. The course covers safety aspects of working on-site and is mandatory.

Get discounts on your White Card course

Take advantage of our special offers to get your White Card and work in the construction industry.

How do you get a construction job in Melbourne?

Gumtree.com.au is a good place to find construction work. Otherwise, word-of-mouth can be very effective in this industry for getting ongoing work – ie: being referred to by friends or colleagues. 

Work in cleaning

Say what you will about cleaning, but it’s a necessary part of life. Work as sanitation attendants is always going in places such as shopping centres, office buildings, stations, and airport. The pay normally starts at $30AUD p/h and attracts a lot of immigrants and local workers alike. 

How to get a Job in Melbourne

The best time to get a job in cleaning

Hiring takes place all year round.

Where to find cleaning work in Melbourne?

Office buildings, department stores and shopping centres in the CBD often search for employees on a part-time basis. These cleaning firms have contracts in places that are well-connected by public transport, and they often pay the best rates. Cleaners for residential properties are also sought after but note: this work is often offered informally by small business that pay closer to $20AUD p/h without any benefits. This is work that frequently requires you to travel to different locations. 

How to get a cleaning job in Melbourne?

A great advantage of sanitation work is that you don’t require any sort of licence and it all comes down to on-site training. This means you can find work very quickly and easily with essentially no extra costs to you. Reputable employers are usually serious about attracting workers, and they tend to use indeed.com. It’s highly advisable to not accept cash-in-hand cleaning work as you’ll essentially be doing the same job for less pay. 

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From Melbourne, Australia, Dominic is an English Language Teacher, emerging writer and translator, with interests in International Relations and language learning. His travels have taken him through South East Asia, Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.

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