• Jil Theis

Finding a job in Sydney

Before our arrival to Sydney, many people told us that it wasn't actually that easy to get a job quickly in Sydney and that the paper work/certificates took a while to arrive before you could actually start to work... For us this wasn't the case. We were able to get all certificates, paper work done and found a job within one week of being in Sydney! Here is how we did it:

We chose the CommonWealth bank for two reasons:

1. They are found everywhere in Australia -- you won't have to pay a fee for any cash withdrawal if you use their ATM.

2. They are pretty cheap. You pay $4 a month if your balance is under $2000, and $0 if it is above $2000. (Note that the wages in Australia are pretty high! You should have no problem, as a couple, to make this per month).

As we are a travel couple, we chose to open one bank account for us both. You will receive two credit cards, each with its own name.

Opening a bank account only takes 5 minutes. Make sure you bring your WHVisa and your passports. Go to a Commonwealth bank (they are everywhere) and ask to open an account.

They will ask you for your phone number and TFN number. If you don't have them yet, no panic, you can always add them later.


After asking around, we found that there are three major companies for this: Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone (all of them have the same plans, so really, not one is cheaper or more expensive than the other). We chose Telstra just because they had a better monthly package for my boyfriend, who needed to make regular phone calls to Spain. He pays $50/month which gives him unlimited calls to Spain (other countries are also included, just ask them), unlimited calls in Australia, unlimited text messages in Australia, and 30GB of Internet. However, if you don't need to make international calls, choose a prepaid card like I did. They offer 6 types of prepaid card ranging from $10 to $300. I chose the $30 prepaid sim card in which you get 20GB for the 3 first months and then 10 GB after those three months, unlimited calls and text in Australia and a range of other countries (check the list here). The prepaid card is valid for 28 days and can be recharged very easily.

Don't forget to add your number to your bank account -- you will then be able to use the Commonwealth online banking app!

In order to be registered with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), you have to create a Tax File Number -- which you will have to give to your employer. To do so, you will have to apply for one online. It is totally free but you will need to have an Australian address. Don't panic if you are staying in a hostel or hotel. Just give that address and let the hostel/hotel know. The TFN number takes between 1 week and 28 days to arrive. IF you are not at your given address anymore, just give them a call at this number: 13 28 61.

To apply you will need: your passport number, an address, and your e-mail.

Apply online here.

Again, don't forget to add this to the Commonwealth bank account! They need this information.

If you are planning on working in hospitality or food/beverage sector, you will need to have an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate). Note that you are not allowed to work anywhere selling alcohol if you do not have an RSA.

We did ours on https://www.eot.edu.au/online-courses/RSA/NSW/ . Click on that link to get a $26 discount. This RSA is only valid for NSW, check their website to get your RSA for other parts of Australia.

The online RSA will cost you $124 and will take you about 4 days to complete because there are different steps and assessments that you need to do. You can also do your RSA in a centre but when we checked, there were no availabilities until 3 weeks after, so we opted for the online RSA.

It is very simple and straight forward. There really is nothing to be worried about, however it is time consuming. Make sure you have enough time and that you are in a quiet room when you complete the assessments. You will have to complete 5 sections of readings, each section's questions, 1 role play, 2 audio assessments (one on the computer and one by phone where an assessor will call you). If you are really in a rush you can pay an additional fee to get priority grading. This means that all your assessments will be graded within 2 hours during business days.

Once all your assessments are done, you will receive an interim certificate. With this certificate go to a NSW service center to get it approved and to register your RSA card. The RSA card will be available right away through the NSW service center app, and it will be sent to you by post (this may take up to 28 days). Don't worry, you can already work with the interim certificate, but only up to a certain date (specified on the certificate).

We started looking for work before we even had our Australian bank account, phone number and RSA, which was fine but I do recommend you to do at least the phone number before. If you already have the RSA, your chances of finding a job in hospitality will be much higher.

The best way to find a job, in our opinions, is to print out copies of your CV, and go around the city. Face to face presentation will help you get a job faster.

If you are planning to find a job in a restaurant or bar like us, do practice how to carry 3 plates at the same time. Not all places will ask this, but when we went to drop off our CVs, 3 out of 10 places asked us to show them if we could carry three plates at a time on the spot. Thank god we were prepared (well nearly :p ). If they believe you have enough experience they will probably ask you to come in for a trial!

Show what you are capable of, don't be nervous, and you will get the job -- it really isn't that hard. I didn't have much experience in working in hospitality, but I got offered two trials and both proposed me a job. So do not worry ;)

Darling Harbour -- the view of my current work place!

Most importantly, don't stress about all of this. It might seem like a lot but once it is done, you will be ready to start your life in Sydney! Make sure to enjoy every minute of it!

Comment if you have any questions and subscribe!



Don't Miss Out

Sign Up and Get All the Best Tips to Travel

©2019 by Jil Theis

  • Instagram
  • Twitter