Tips to help international students find a part time job in Brisbane - Choose Brisbane


Tips to help international students find a part time job in Brisbane

By Nozomi Yamazaki

Nozomi hails from Kobe, Japan – a sister city of Brisbane – and studies at The University of Queensland. As one of Study Brisbane’s incredible past International Student Ambassadors, Nozomi spent 2017 sharing her experience studying in Brisbane via Instagram.

So, you’ve saved all your money for your study abroad in Brisbane, but here you are a few months in and your bank account does not look the same as it did before… It seems that money really does have wings on it just like the emoji! 💸💸💸

To help you keep some much-needed dollars in your pocket, read on for a basic explanation of where to look for jobs during your studies in Australia and some top tips for international students searching for part-time or casual work.

What is the difference between part-time jobs and casual jobs?

The basic difference between part-time jobs and casual jobs is that while part-timers have set regular working hours and days, while casuals work shifts. This means from week to week, casual employees will work different days and different hours. Casuals also do not have a firm commitment about how long they will be employed for, whereas part-timers work on a fixed-term contract. You can find out a little more information about it here.

There are also Christmas Casual jobs, or seasonal casual jobs that are available mainly during the lead up to Christmas and New Year. Calls for applications usually start to appear online and in storefronts around September to November. The job usually starts mid to late November and runs through until January. A Christmas casual role is such a great way to earn money during the holidays, and if you’re a standout employee you may be lucky enough to be promoted and stay employed with the company after the Christmas season ends.

How many hours can I work?

International students can only work 40 hours a fortnight (two weeks) or 20 hours a week during the semester. However, during the holidays, including summer holidays and the mid-year break you can work full-time! You can find out more about what your visa conditions allow regarding employment here.

Where should I look for jobs?


Seek and Indeed are both super useful websites to use when you begin your job hunt. If you are looking for some casual, part time work or even work experience within your field, you should also check out LinkedIn

I also highly recommend checking out your university’s job boards, or even your faculty or school’s job boards. They may have Facebook pages or groups you can join to stay up to date with any opportunities. For example, I’m a UQ student, so I often check UQ Student Hub for any job openings, or visit the UQ Employability Centre.

What do I need to prepare to apply?

Have your resume looking sharp and a cover letter ready.

List your work experience from the most relevant to least relevant under the ‘Experience’ or ‘Employment’ section on your resume. Under each one, make a bullet point list with the most important or significant information on top so that it stands out more!

Provide two contact details under the ‘Referees’ section. Employers will likely contact the referees to ensure that you are the right candidate for them. Don’t forget to let your referees know that you have listed them so they are prepared for a potential phone call or email.

If you are applying online, ALWAYS include a cover letter. This will boost your chance of getting hired much more than just submitting your resume. Cover letters let employers learn a little more about you and you are the best fit for the role.

Other top tips from me:

1. Instead of applying online, print out your resume (including your availability of when and what time you can work - this will help you stand out) and hand out the physical copy to the manager. Don’t forget to make a good impression too!

2. Don't be picky. This was the biggest problem I had - but if you really want a job, there’s no time to be picky!

3. If you are applying for the same type of jobs (e.g. retail in my case), make a template of the cover letter because most of the time, the main message is the same and this will save you a lot of time.

4. Your cover letter should be MAXIMUM one page, and your resume should also be short and sharp. We are students, so we can’t be expected to have pages of experience just yet!

Finally, searching for a job can be very difficult and exhausting - trust me, I’ve been there. I was job hunting for almost 2 full months and was rejected from almost every role I applied for before I found one. But don’t worry, don’t give up and don’t let it discourage you. Keep applying to as many places as possible, and soon enough you’ll find the perfect role for you!

Happy job-hunting and I wish you the best of luck!

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