Perth, Western Australia (WA) is a beautiful city to live, work and study in. Getting your first job as an international student can feel intimidating, but with WA’s low unemployment rate(opens in a new tab) and booming economy – plus, all of the support available to you as a TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) student – now’s the perfect time to look for work.
Working while studying is a great way to meet new people, add skills to your resume and earn a bit of extra money! Plus, if English is your second language, working part-time in Australia can help you improve your English language skills and build your confidence in communicating in professional environments.
Here’s what you need to know about working as an international student in Perth, and how to look for your first job.
Working as an international student in Australia
While working in Australia, it’s important to be aware of the visa conditions for international students.
The cap on working hours for international students is 48 hours per fortnight. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs(opens in a new tab), the reasoning behind the cap is to ensure student visa holders are able to focus on obtaining a quality Australian education and qualification.
If you are an international student, working while studying, you must maintain your course enrolment and have satisfactory course attendance with satisfactory course progress.
In other words, it’s important to keep up with your studies while working. When starting your first job, it might take a little bit of adjustment to get the right work/study/social life balance for you. Your TAFE college will be able to support you if you need advice.
The best first jobs in Perth for international students
‘Casual’ or ‘part-time’ work is best suited for students as it can fit around studies, and the perfect entry to Australia’s workforce.
Casual jobs are paid by the hour or day and tend to have a changing or flexible work roster. This means it’s easy to change your shifts from week to week and swap with colleagues if other commitments arise. Casual jobs tend to pay a higher hourly rate as they don’t include annual leave and sick leave.
If working part-time, you are contracted a certain number of hours per week. While less flexible, you are guaranteed a consistent weekly income and you receive perks such as annual and sick leave, which are not granted in casual roles.
Jobs in retail and hospitality are popular among students, as they offer flexible working hours to accommodate studies and may not require prior experience. There are retail jobs available in clothing stores, cinemas, pharmacies and supermarkets, for example, at Coles, Woolworths, Kmart, HOYTS, Big W, ALDI and local IGAs.
You can also look for work in cafes, restaurants and bars, but keep in mind you will need a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate for jobs that require you to serve alcohol. Many TAFE WA colleges offer RSA courses, so you can check if one is offered on your campus.
Other jobs to consider are administration and reception roles, tutoring, nannying, rideshare driving, food delivery and freelance work in writing, graphic design or website development. Think about your unique skills or hobbies, and how you might be able to turn that into an income.
How to boost your employability
While looking for your first job, you should continue to boost your employability. Continuing to build your experience, gain new skills and grow your network will only help you in the future! For example, you could:
Create a portfolio
Ensure you are workplace ready with a polished resume that includes your work experience, skills, interests and references. If relevant to your industry, create a LinkedIn profile to increase your visibility to potential employers, showcase your skills and network with others.
StudyPerth has helpful tips on how to make your resume and cover letter stand out(opens in a new tab).
Consider volunteering at a charity or community program while studying in Perth. It’s a great way to meet people and give back to the community, plus it will impress future employers. It will help you widen your professional network as you will meet staff and other volunteers working within the industry who might become useful connections in the future.
Work placements and internships
If you have the capacity, it’s really useful to intern during your studies. While often unpaid, an internship provides valuable industry experience and looks great on your resume, giving you an edge over other graduates when seeking full-time employment after graduation.
Where to look for jobs in Perth
TIWA offers resources for your job hunt, and StudyPerth has a jobs board(opens in a new tab) for international students. You can check out WA TAFE’s Jobs and Skills Centres(opens in a new tab) for advice on training and employment. They are located at TAFE campuses in Perth metropolitan area as well as regional TAFE locations.