Finding work in Sydney on a WHV

27 Aug 2019 | Cole Dziatkewich

Are you currently on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) and struggling to find work in the competitive Sydney job market? It can be really tough. I get it.  I’ve been there myself.  I know exactly how that stress feels.  You have made the difficult and brave decision to pack up your life back home and move overseas to an unfamiliar country.  You have left your friends and family behind to pursue that Australian dream.  It was a hard decision, and although your loved ones back home have supported you, in the back of your mind you probably weren’t sure how it would all work out.  Ideally your plan was to go off and see the sights, and then settle down in Sydney and make some solid coin.

So you finally arrive in Sydney with your WHV all sorted. The land of opportunity and adventure awaits. You’ve done your bit of travelling and got selfies from all the of the East Coast highlights – Sydney is the end of the travelling trail!  The time has come to put on your big-kid shoes and attempt a life of over-seas adulting!  (The funds have also run a little low and your desperate to start seeing your savings go up instead of consistently down).

You have vamped up your resume and thrown together a quick cover letter.  Seek becomes more addictive than Tinder, and you find yourself clicking that “apply button” more times than you’ve ever swiped right – but no one comes back.  “What is the problem” you ask yourself.  “Why isn’t this easier?”  “Whats wrong with me?” “I think have the skills for the role, so why am I not being considered?”

If this sounds like you and you’ve been struggling to find work in Sydney on a WHV – I’ve got some insider tips for you!!

Here’s the insider scoop:

  • Recruiters see you are on a working holiday visa and instantly know you cannot commit to a job for more than 6 months.
    OUR SPRINT TIP – You’re better off to aim for temp roles instead of contracts.  And as I am sure you know, due to visa restrictions you’re not in a position to take on a permanent role either. SO put your energy into finding roles that are suitable for your time in Australia, a lot of companies really utilise and value the support of travellers!  They even advertise for them –  (little Seek-tip:  use a keyword search for “WHV” or “Backpackers”). You can register as a temp with Sprint here.


  • You’re not familiar with organisations and recruitment agencies here in Australia that you should be approaching.
    OUR SPRINT TIP – Google is your best friend!  Do your research and know what industries each recruitment agency works with.  There are larger agencies out there that cover a wider variety of roles and industries (these may be your best shot), but there are also boutique agencies that only work with certain skills and industries (like us).


  • You will take anything that puts food on your plate and pays your rent, but no one is taking the bait.
    OUR SPRINT TIP – It’s REALLY important to be applying for roles that can be backed by your experience.  Recruiters will only put forward candidates who they are confident can take on a role and hit the ground running with little to no training required.  If you have a background in retail sales, but your applying for a role in finance, chances are you wont be put forward.  Be realistic and honest with the skills you have, what value can you bring to a short-term role?


  • You’ve applied for roles you’ve got experience in but still hearing nothing back.
    OUR SPRINT TIP – Recruiters get a million applications for roles each day.  Your CV needs to stand out and shine!  Clean it up, check for spelling errors, use a unique lay out – make yourself memorable….be jazzy!  Definitely make sure you get a spare set of eyes to look over it.


  • When you land an interview with a recruiter, what next?
    OUR SPRINT TIP – Keep in mind most recruitment agencies see candidates on an appointment basis only – it’s a fast paced industry and time needs to be set aside to sit down and chat.  If and when you do get to meet with a recruiter make sure you look smart and presentable….treat it as an interview.


  • Don’t be too fussy when you are first getting local experience.
    OUR SPRINT TIP – Be prepared to do the grunt work.  For the first while don’t be afraid to settle for something out of your comfort zone, you may gain even more experience whilst adding funds to your account.  Look for call centre roles and contact centre jobs – they need a large volume of people and the turn over is usually higher so they are constantly taking on new employees.  These roles are also fast-paced so usually require quick onboarding – you could be starting in a matter of days!  Use it as a stepping stone to network and gain some in skills.  You will also meet a lot of other traveller’s and make some new friends.


  • So how do you make sure that you are first in the know of any opportunities that do come up?
    OUR SPRINT TIP – Get involved!  Follow agencies on LinkedIn, Facebook and Insta – roles are always coming and going quickly and often times these venues are the best ways to advertise!  Also make sure to sign up for job-alerts!


How can Sprint help?

We wish we could help absolutely everyone, but we are just a small boutique agency!  We pride ourselves on always getting back to every single applicant – whether good news or bad we never leave anyone hanging.  We will always try to point you in the right direction if we can’t help you at our end.  Hey, its what sets us apart from the rest.  We only specialise in the Office Support and Administrative space so if you’re getting in touch to ask us to help you secure that role as a teacher or in hospitality I am afraid we just aren’t your team.  However, if you have oodles of experience as an EA, PA or in general office support, then get in touch cause we’re the ones for you!

As someone who was been on this journey and is now living permanently here in Sydney my final tip is this: just remember that it can be frustrating; it can seem hopeless – but don’t let  a few setbacks get in the way of your dreams.  Set yourself achievable goals and be realistic with your expectations – there’s a wealth of opportunities out there, just make sure your reaching for the right ones!

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