How to find casual work while studying

A male student in barista uniform is preparing a coffee in a café

As an international student studying in Perth, maintaining a good work-life balance is essential. Taking a break from your desk and getting some savings in your pocket will mean you have more to spend on exploring everything WA has to offer.

Can international students work in Australia?

Yes! Your international student visa automatically grants you working rights, although there are some conditions. Make sure that you understand these thoroughly.

Whilst student visa holders were previously only eligible to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight, the Department of Home Affairs has recently made changes. International student are now able to work an unlimited amount of hours. However, it is important that you do not let your working hours impact your studies or attendance in classes. Maintaining satisfactory attendance in your course and course progress is a condition of student visas.

What kind of work best suits students?

The best type of work for you will depend on your schedule, skills and interests. There are different employment types in Australia, with some better suited to students.

If you want to get your head out of the books for a couple of hours a week without burning yourself out, casual or part time work is the best. Being employed on a casual basis is the most flexible option with no fixed amount of hours, but usually a higher hourly pay rate. Part time work includes a fixed term contract and/or permanent position with benefits such as annual leave and personal/carer's leave.

These types of employment can fit around class schedules, whilst building your out of the classroom work skills and funding your living expenses and adventures in Perth.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is a useful resource when it comes to working in Australia. The FWO outlines your working rights and the different employment types.

Where should I look for jobs?

The Jobs and Skills WA jobs board works closely with employers and business owners to connect them with potential employees, with application links and criteria all in one hub sorted by industry. You can also visit a Jobs and Skills Centre for free advice and assistance with your job search.

Sometimes the best way to look for jobs can be walking around shopping or food hubs, and looking for hiring signs. Make sure you have a printed copy of your resume handy and go and say hello! This will make more of an impression on potential employers than applying online.

What are some of the best jobs for students in Perth?

There are plenty of industries to choose from in Perth. Restaurants, cafes and bars are often looking for more staff. Plus — given the social nature of the business — working in hospitality is a great way to meet more people.

Bartending will get you to the centre of Perth's exciting nightlife. If you have classes during the day, picking up some hours mixing drinks in the evening is perfect. Once you have a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate, you can impress your friends with your fancy cocktails knowledge!

Waiters can dive further into Perth's multicultural food scene. As an international student, you could work in restaurants that serve food from your home country. This is a great way to stay connected to your culture. There are also different tiers of restaurants to work at – from fine dining at Crown Perth to intimate, family run eateries.

If you're an early riser and want to sneak a couple of hours of work in before your classes start, barista work is for you. Getting a barista licence is recommended. You can seek training at any coffee manufacturer or training centre to help you perfect your first latte art heart!

Apart from hospitality, working in retail is a popular option for international students. These kinds of roles can help you develop valuable skills such as communication, money handling, and customer service.

How to prepare for the job search

Having a strong resume is important when looking for jobs. Your resume should include the most relevant and up to date information about your work history and what skills you can bring to a workplace.

If you need advice on preparing a resume in Australia, visit the Jobs and Skills WA website. It offers a range of resources and useful information about finding a job in Australia. You can also call a Jobs and Skills Centre on 13 64 64 for expert resume support.

StudyPerth's ProsPER offers a range of free resources for international students to learn business skills, industry insights and tips on perfecting your resume and cover letter. 

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