Journey by Dawn

Finding casual work in Australia: tips for creative people

My 4 years in Australia have been filled with ups and downs, in particular when it comes to finding stable work. Here are some tips to find casual employment and types of jobs that took me a lot of creativity and insight to find.

Before finding work it is critical to make a good CV in English. Even if it takes a week to put together all essential experiences relevant to the roles – it’s the only way. Get free templates through Google – it’s so important to make a good first impression. IMPORTANT: I remember at one point having 3 different CV’s just for hospitality: barista, kitchen-hand, waitress. The CV has to be relevant to the job!

English grammar has to be perfect. I used to really feel for the poor student who would stop by the shop enquiring about work and handing out a poorly written CV, and then seeing my manager glance at the CV for exactly 2 seconds and throw in the bin. Awful! But that’s how cruel it can be. It’s a good reminder that in Australia, hospitality is a cruel industry in general and often you will be pushed to the extreme of your ability to cope. In the end they might still fire you, just because they are ‘overstaffed’ (as if it was your fault).


Barista in Parliament Station – Melbourne 2015

Hospitality jobs are not the best casual jobs you can find! In fact workers are often under paid and work may not be official. This is very bad and I speak strongly against it, besides it is illegal! Here are some tips on finding stable jobs that combine with study and each other:

SIMULATED PATIENT. Don’t worry, you don’t need to get sick! It’s an acting role, where you memorise a script and sit in a room with the examiner, and have 20-40 (depending on your shift) students come in one at a time and practice their client communication. Pay is very good but there are not many jobs as this. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon job. But if you get a full day on a Saturday you may end up with close to 500AUD at the end of the day. In Brisbane see the University of Queensland and Griffith University – they have the largest programs. In Melbourne it’s best with Monash University. Find their email and explain if you had any acting experience and why you find it interesting.


EXTRA WORK IN MOVIES AND SERIES. It may require a bit of an investment for the photoshoot, but it a few jobs you will get it all back. It’s also quite fun, just recently I spend a whole day on the train, as they were shooting some scenes with the main actors in the wagon. You meet interesting people and often even have time to read a book. RealPeople in a good agency, popular in Melbourne.


SELLING HANDCRAFTS. Just recently I began to appreciate the opportunities for selling handmade crafts online. There are places like or even opening your own web-site. It is a lot of work but the results come out amazing and you don’t have to work under constant supervision. There are a lot of tutorials on youtube and it can be a lovely social activity with friends or family while watching TV or chatting about life.


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Handmade 100% wool wrist-warmers


PERSONAL CARE WORKER. This is more of a long term job, because it does require education, a Certificate III in Individual Support. But there are study providers that offer this course for very good value and it can take only 3-4 months to complete. Do good research and make sure it is nationally recognised. Prices can be very reasonable too, but keep in mind you may have extra expenses like the National Police Check and First Aid and CPR. I suggest to go for the cheapest and fastest option because all the skills are learned on the job and every place may differ in how they expect you to do things.

I have to stay this is BY FAR the most satisfying and interesting job I have had in the last 4 years. Providing care for the elderly in Australia is a job that responds to the deep need in this country. There is also a wide variety of jobs besides PAC such as Lifestyle Assistant or Diversional Therapist and even working in the kitchen or cleaning. There are also agencies where you can take up shifts as you go.  Each role may require extra courses to complete, but this work is a lot more stable and has a future in case you decide to stick around for a while.

There are many jobs we can do, but nothing can bring so much satisfaction as helping a person who cannot reach for a glass of water or assisting someone during meal times. Providing care is so good for us as humans. Just the amount of love you can provide though assisting someone is hard to believe. Of course I say this knowing that not everyone has a calling to the same jobs. But if you are hesitant, I say try it. Even if it is by volunteering once a week by reading a newspaper to someone in a facility near you.

Due to the high need of carers it may even be the case that your job will find you! Don’t be afraid, even if you are studying another degree. My friends who did this found stable employment right away while continuing their University studies and I chose the much harder route of hospitality. Having been on both sides I wish I would of done this earlier.

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One of my first photos captured with ISO Canon D800

BLOGGING, YOUTUBING AND PHOTOGRAPHY. This paragraph is under-construction but I am just discovering that for every creative soul modern technologies have amazing opportunities to communicate ideas and messages. I have just recently bought a beginners DSLR camera and started learning photography and every time I am amazed of the things you can do to capture a moment in time!

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