Finding Work in Perth for English language students…and why there’s never been a better time than now!
As an English language student in Perth, you may be looking for ways to support yourself financially while you study and improve your English language skills. In addition to helping you pay for your living expenses, working while you study can also provide valuable work experience and help you build your professional network. We would normally say ‘it can be challenging to find work in a new city’, but that’s really not the case in Perth at the moment – the very serious labour shortage facing the city has been big news in recent months.
Even just walking around the city, you can see signs up on a very high percentage of shops, restaurants and cafes. The signs come in two types….either “We are closed/working reduced hours because we can’t find staff’ or “Staff wanted!”.
This blog is all about the ways in which you can find the ideal student job in Perth, and hopefully at the highest pay!
Understand the Legal Requirements
The first step to finding work in Perth as an English language student is to understand the legal requirements. Normally, English language students in Australia are eligible to work up to 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session, and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. Because of the very serious shortage of workers in Australia, until June of this year students are able to work as many hours as they like. Officially, we will see the old system (20 hours a week) start again from the middle of this year, but it’s likely that the government will choose instead to extend the current situation.
The legal minimum ‘casual’ rate of pay is around $27/hour. There is absolutely no need to ever accept less than this, and you should not consider accepting less to work ‘cash in hand’. Remember that on weekends and public holidays, you should receive a much higher rate of pay. Keep in mind that this is the legal minimum, and many companies are paying much more now to attract good staff.
Improve Your English Language Skills
It’s an obvious one, but the more you go about improving your English language skills, the wider the range of higher paying jobs that are available to you. Practicing your English speaking, reading, and writing skills can also help you feel more confident and prepared for job interviews.
In addition to improving your language skills, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs of Perth (just a little bit different to other Australian cities, and probably very different to your home country). This will help you to understand the expectations of employers and make a positive impression during job interviews. Remember during the free ‘Lexis Workshop’ sessions each week we can teach you some basic interview techniques!
Research Job Opportunities
Once you have a clear understanding of your eligibility to work and have improved your English language skills, the next step is to research job opportunities. There are many resources available to help you find work in Perth, including job boards, online classifieds, and of course here at Lexis. Some popular job boards for English language students in Australia include Seek, Indeed, and Gumtree. You can also use online classifieds like Facebook Marketplace to find part-time or casual work.
Lexis also has information on job opportunities for our students, and the Lexis Workshop also covers resume and cover letter writing workshops.
Utilize Your Network
Your professional network can be a valuable resource when it comes to finding work in Perth. Reach out to your classmates, teachers, and other English language students for advice and referrals. Attend networking events and join student organizations and clubs to meet people in your field and make connections. If you have friends or family members who live in Perth, they may also be able to provide leads on job opportunities. Another great option is to drop into the Perth Student Hub and chat to the staff there – many employers contact them looking for students for work.
Build Your Resume and Cover Letter
Having a strong resume and cover letter is crucial when it comes to finding work in Perth. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and includes any relevant work experience, education, and skills. It takes a few more minutes, but tailor your cover letter to each job you apply for, highlighting your qualifications and explaining why you would be a good fit for the position. If you need help with your resume and cover letter, come along to the Lexis Workshop for some resume and cover letter writing help.
By the way – the biggest mistake international students in Australia make when applying for jobs is NOT to have a cover letter! Spend a few minutes writing about yourself, and why you want the particular job…it’s well worth the extra time.
Taking the next step
Arriving in a new country, the first job is the hard one. Don’t be too worried if your first job isn’t ideal for you. Work hard, get some local experience and be ready to take the next opportunity when it presents itself. The best thing about work in Perth is that there is a real culture of ‘bringing workers in’ there…that means that companies are very open to employing international students, and very open to providing career pathways and sponsorship.
Looking back over the years, I can see many of our former language students who have built quite remarkable careers for themselves in Perth, moving from basic ‘student work’ to professional or management positions (there are lots of examples of this in the mining industry in particular).
Overall, Perth is unquestionably the best option in Australia for international student work at the moment, with possibilities extending from entry level work all the way to professional positions. Best of luck in finding the perfect role for you!