Ahh the big question. Australia - the land of opportunity? Possibly.
Now my story is that I arrived here four weeks ago, and got straight on applying for every position I was qualified for (mainly cafe, customer service and bar work) online, and in person going round shopping centres and high streets throwing my resume at anyone who would take it. I also did a Responsible Serving of Alcohol (RSA) course for $39 because I found that every bar or licensed restaurant was asking for one. It was just a four-hour course with a test at the end. Everyone passed, and they'd printed the certificates for everyone before the course even started. You get the idea.
After two weeks I had my first shift at a French cafe three train stations down the line from my family's house. That was one I'd given my resume into in person, and the manager asked me on the spot to come in a few days later for a trial shift. I'd also had a trial shift at a cafe round the corner from there, but I didn't get that one.
I heard back from several jobs, and had a few interviews in various places, but in total I'd given in over 50 resumes. So by no means do you just walk into the first job you apply for, unless you're really lucky. This is my experience, and may be because I've been looking at places quite far out from the CBD, because it's a long commute from where I'm staying to the city centre, even though it's well connected with public transport. Another limitation is that I can't drive. For an update on my job situation a month down the line, you can read my newer post.
Now to get your foot in the door, I've learnt that telling the whole truth doesn't get you far. Everywhere I went into wanted me to have experience using a coffee machine, so in the end I started saying that I had. So when I was given my trial shift at the French cafe I went straight back to a cafe that I'd given my resume into earlier that day where I'd had a chat with a really nice woman. I explained the situation and she gave me a lesson on the coffee machine, and I went back a couple of days later for more training in return for doing some cleaning and washing up. And it served me in good stead, because I got the job at the French place! And I got very good feedback on my coffee from the customers at the place I did my training, and they said that they would keep me in mind if they needed anyone in the future.
So being cheeky can pay off. And that's something I would never have dreamt of doing a few months ago. I guess I've learnt that you need to be prepared to do what it takes to get where you want to be. Just say yes.
A week after starting at the French cafe I went into a very fancy restaurant towards the CBD and asked if they were looking for staff, and before I knew it I'd done a trial shift that evening and had landed two shifts a week there.
I'm also doing leafleting for an estate agent, at a rate of $100 per 1000 leaflets I deliver to houses. So that's a bit of extra pocket money, and I get to see a lot of suburban Melbourne, which I wouldn't have if I wasn't doing that. And it's exercise too.
Now, with these two part-time jobs plus leafleting, I do have things to fill my week. But I worry about the stability of my income. Especially with the French cafe, as it's cash in hand, $12/hour (which is well below the national minimum wage of $16.87) and I just kind of fell into the job. I'm doing one or two shifts a week there. The restaurant is paying me $16/hour, and are paying me into my bank account, so that will be taxed.
So I do have money coming in, and I suppose it didn't take too long to find jobs, although I did put in a lot of work to find it. I would say that the best way to find work is to hit the streets, give in your resume to absolutely anywhere and everywhere, even if there's no job advertised, and hope you hear back. That's how I got lucky.
I think I found work here more quickly than I would have done back in the UK, but it wasn't as easy as a lot of people made out before I got here. Just be prepared to put your back into it. And if you're staying in a hostel then they can often help you out. I didn't have that luxury, staying with family.
Here are some useful websites you can use to find work. But as I say, going door to door was what did it for me.
And if you're looking for rural work to get your second year working holiday visa, then this looks good: