5 Backpacker Tips to Land a Job in Cairns

Having trouble finding a job in Cairns?

We know it can be tough, but here are some tips and tricks to help improve your job-landing odds.

1. Choose the right time

For casual jobs, choose the most appropriate time of day to apply. So often, travellers apply to restaurants or cafes at their busiest times. Managers are not going to go into detail about job vacancies during their rush.

Do some research and come in when they have enough time to chat.

Choosing the right time does not just refer to the “time of day”. If you are coming to Cairns to look for farm work, choose the right time of year.

For example, sugar cane planting generally runs between June and November. Watermelon and pumpkin season is around October to December.

(Tip: If you are here already, have no fear – banana farm work is generally all year round, with some quiet periods.)

2. Look employable (shocking – we know!)

Cairns may be a beachy city, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get a part time job looking like you’ve come straight from the beach. Believe it or not, some people stroll into shops looking for jobs in their bikini.

Even though you may be a backpacker (with, likely, a limited clothing supply), employers want to be able to picture you in a professional setting.

Remember – first impressions matter (and are often the only thing employers have to go on to decide “yes” or “no” to your CV) – so make it count! Borrow or buy, but no beachwear!

(Tip: Apply on your own. If you show up with a friend, you may appear less serious and put the employer in an uncomfortable position if they have to choose one of you to hire.)

3. Be prepared with contact info and necessary documents

If a company can’t call you, they can’t hire you.

Do your due diligence and at the minimum find out what certificates you need in the position you are applying for (for example: your RSA for serving alcohol). The same goes for your tax file number (TFN) , at least know what it is and express you will be getting it soon (from the post office or online. See our Working in Cairns page for more details).

4. Have a sharp, professional, and relevant CV

It is fourth on the list because it seems like common sense – make sure your CV is up to par. Have someone look at it for spelling mistakes. Make it relevant for the job. If you are applying for a travel agency, do not only include bartending experience.

If you are trying to improve your odds and apply to many different types of jobs, have a different resume for each. For example, have a bartending resume, a barista resume, and a travel agency targeted CV (if you have relevant experience for all three). It may seem like a lot of extra work, but it is worth it!

As per typical Australian culture and if you are comfortable with it, include a picture.

Lastly, make it as short and concise as possible. Some of these companies are getting 5 CVs a day during the busy season.

5. When in doubt – get help

Peterpans on Grafton Street (directly in front of Gilligans) holds a job hunting club every Tuesday at 5pm. Come out, get more job seaking advice and meet some people in the same position. The club is mostly geared toward 2nd year visa work and other casual positions.

We also work with Staffing Solutions, if you are looking for a more permanent position.

Lastly, come chat with us – we have people coming in every week with tips on who is hiring. We have been around in Cairns for so long, we have seen everything!

We are here to help make sure you do not make the common backpacker mistakes we often see.

Bonus tip: Try to stand out (in a good way!). For example, something as small as handing your CV in a letter envelope, adding a touch of colour to your resume, or smashing your trial by being so helpful they could not possibly give the job to someone else!

Good luck! 🙂

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