Looking for a Working Holiday Job in Australia? Don’t Make One of These 9 Common Mistakes

Working Holiday Job in Australia


With more and more backpackers travelling to Australia on their working holiday visa each year, trying to find a job in the Land Down Under is getting tougher and tougher.

But fear not! After 2 years’ worth of working holiday job experience behind me. I’ve had a really good chance to see what works … and what doesn’t …. when it comes to finding employment in Australia.

And with this knowledge, I’ve put together 9 of the most common mistakes most backpackers make when trying to find a working holiday job in Australia.

So sit back, soak up the advice and avoid all these regularly-made pitfalls that will stop you bagging the job of your travelling dreams!

Related Posts

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.

#1 Unprepared

When you’re looking for your working holiday job in Australia, the first thing you need to do is get yourself organised.

At the very least, you need to set up a bank account, get a tax file number (TFN) and a phone number (I always recommend a pre-paid Telstra SIM as the best backpacker option).

All of these things are easy to do and necessary for you to get a job.

There is no point looking for work if an employer isn’t going to be able to pay money into a local account for you or let the taxman know you’re working for him/her.

Trying to find working holiday jobs without these basic things set up therefore, is a waste of time and a real sign to any employer that you’re not on the ball.


Download Your FREE Check List
The Ultimate Female Packing Guide for Australia

Just enter your details below and I'll email it you - simple!

Information will be sent to the email provided above


#2 No Super Account

On this note of having your own bank account and TFN set up, can I also say it is a really good idea to set up your own super account too.

Super is like the Australian version of a pension – employers legally have to pay an additional 9% of your wage into an account, the funds of which are locked away until to retire.

Or, if you’re on a working holiday visa, until you leave the country!

At this point, backpackers can claim their super back – hoorah!

Not having a personal super account may save you a bit of time and money initially, but it will be a real nightmare when, at the end of your time in Australia, you have to spend hours searching different employers’ accounts for the thousands of dollars you’re potentially owed.

Having your own super account is not a legal requirement, but in my view is a common mistake among those trying to find working holiday jobs.

Take the hit and set up a super account along with your bank account at the start, it will definitely make you look more organised and sort in employers’ eyes.


#3 Not Signed Up

Not being signed up to some of Australia’s top recruiting websites is a classic mistake many backpackers in Australia make when trying to find a working holiday job.

Normally this is because newbies to the country don’t know what recruiting websites are out there and which are reputable.

So get ahead of the game now and make sure you create an account with each of the following: gumtree, seek, adzum and jora.

These are the key ways to find a job anywhere in Australia and could be crucial in you landing your first paycheck.


#4 Bad Resume

Coming in at number 3 is something so obvious you can’t believe the number of times it’s overlooked, but it is!

As such, bad resumes are a very common mistake among working holidaymakers looking for a job.

FYI people, badly presented, out of date or irrelevant details on a C.V. are not going to land you a job!

Each resume should be tailored to the type of work you are applying for, with relevant details and experience highlighted to stand out.

Don’t have any experience in the field?

Then highlight transferrable skills or personality traits that would suit you for the role.

Remember less is more, so try to keep your resume to 1-2 pages long and make sure it is clean, neat and clear.



#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!

#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national parks! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine.

#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together.

#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!

#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.


#5 No Certificates

It might not sound like a lot, but not having the relevant or necessary certificates for the type of working holiday job you’re trying to find is a common mistake that will put you at the bottom of the pile.

As a highly regulated country, there seems to be a certificate required for almost any type of job in Australia, and spending a bit of money to get your hands on the relevant, basic ones, will put you ahead in the working holiday job game.

For example, if you’re looking to work in a bar, restaurant or club, getting your Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate first, will definitely make you look more experienced, keen and committed.


#6 Wrong Timing

If you’re really keen to get a working holiday job, then it’s a good idea to think carefully about the timing of your search.

From high tourist times to key fruit picking months, a lot of the work you might be doing in Australia is seasonal and you need to make sure you’re applying for work in the right place at the right time.

In the Northern Territory, for example, the high season runs from May- September.

Rocking up into Darwin, looking for Outback pub work in the middle of November therefore, is likely to be a lot harder than during the busy months.

Spend a little bit of time researching the places you want to work and make sure your timing to find a working holiday job is right.

For more info, why not check out my post about the best 13 places to find backpacker jobs in Australia which will give you a better idea about many popular locations.


#7 No Face to Face Contact

It’s all very tempting to just sit in your hostel and apply for jobs over the internet, but 9 times out of 10, you’re far more likely to succeed at find working holiday jobs in Australia, by actually approaching people directly.

This might mean walking into cafes and handing out resumes, driving to farms to talk to owners or arranging physical interviews at recruitment offices.

Whatever it is, getting your face out there and showcasing your bright and bubbly personality will go a long way in making you more memorable when work comes Down Under.


#8 Straight from the Beach!

Definitely one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to find working holiday jobs in Australia is coming straight from the beach.

By this I mean that often, they start handing out resumes, or attending interviews, still with their holiday hat on.

You might just be looking to work a few casual hours a week to support your holiday, but turning up in your board shorts with salty hair is not going to make the right impression.

It’s work after all, so make sure you present yourself smartly and look like you intend to work!


#9 Out of Range

Unbelievably, one of most common mistakes people make when trying to find working holiday jobs in Australia is not being contactable.

If you’ve just applied for a job or visited an employer, you must make sure you are able to access your emails regularly and have your phone on you at all times (remember point 1 about getting a phone number!)

There is no point applying for a working holiday job in Australia and then disappearing off on a road trip without a phone signal for a week!

Any potential employers with offers won’t be able to reach you and the whole project will be a waste of time!




So there you have it people, 9 of the most common mistakes many backpackers make when trying to find a working holiday job in Australia.

Armed with this knowledge, you should now be able to avoid these regular pitfalls and land your first job Down Under in no time!


6 thoughts on “Looking for a Working Holiday Job in Australia? Don’t Make One of These 9 Common Mistakes

  1. Stephanie Craig says:

    I’m afraid I’m too old for a working visa in Austrailia. I wish I’d know about this when I was younger. I encourage anyone who’s thinking about this to look into it-I’m so sad I missed out!

    • Steph says:

      It certainly is an AMAZING opportunity Stephanie and I think people should definitely take it if they can. Good news for you is that Australia are currently in discussion about extending the working holiday visa for people up to the age of 35! Stay tuned!

  2. Eloise says:

    Great article! I’m sure you’ll help many WHV with this post 🙂

    I witnessed networking work well in Australia. I always recommend talking to people around you and letting them know you are available. It doesn’t cost a thing, and it can bring good leads!

    • Steph says:

      That is such a fantastic tip Eloise – I couldn’t agree more. You never know where a conversation might lead and, in my own experience at least, it’s involved housesits, free rides and jobs. The Aussies are such a friendly bunch!

  3. ben says:

    Thank you write the working holiday,I very nervous now,but you get me some encourage.I woried about me Engligh can’t fulenty,hope I can go to there better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.