So you’re studying in Sydney and need a bit of extra income? There are plenty of great casual jobs for students around Sydney’s university scene that can get you by – without taking a toll on your studies! Other than the obvious money incentive – because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a bit of extra cashflow? – getting a job is a fantastic way to socialise, make new friends, and brush up on your English skills if you’re an international student.
Being the biggest city in Australia and home to roughly 5.6 million people, there’s a whole lot going on in Sydney. It is a really popular destination for backpackers who often pick up contract work for a few months at a time, so there’s a pretty steady flow of jobs available as people come and go. This type of contract or part time work is really handy when you’re studying, so that you can have flexible hours during busier exam periods and work around your class timetables. Plus, you’ll probably want some free time just to get out and enjoy the stunning Sydney lifestyle.
So, what do you need to do to get part time student work in Sydney? First up, it’s good to know your rights and get your affairs in order so you’re ready to apply for jobs.
Things you’ll need to get work in Sydney
An Australian bank account. Having one of these makes it much easier for employers to pay you, and in fact some employers won’t hire you unless you have one. If you’re an international student, the account you’ll need is called a transaction account and any bank you contact should help you set one up pretty easily.
An Australian Tax File Number (TFN). You’ll need to apply for one of these via the Australia Taxation Office and it basically just helps make sure you’re not over-taxed on your earnings.
Know your rights. Minimum wage in Australia is set by Fair Work and is currently around $18 per hour, but this is subject to change over time. You should brush up on the amount that you are entitled to before applying for a job so you can ensure you’re not being ripped off!
Prepare a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume. This is very important when applying for student jobs in Sydney, and will generally be asked of you by prospective employers. You’ll need to list your previous work experience, training and skills to show your capabilities and help employers assess whether you’re the right fit for the position.
A CV should always include:
- Name and contact details
- Education and qualifications
- Employment history and professional experience
- Technical skills you have relevant to the job
- Personal interests and notable achievements
Depending on the job type, your CV will either be submitted online via the relevant application, emailed through to the employer, or for more social jobs like hospitality and retail, dropped off in person after having a chat with the manager.
Note: as an international student, your Australian student visa allows you to work up to 20hrs per week, so just make sure to respect that! If you’re earning minimum wage, that means roughly $366 per week extra income without chewing too much into your study time. That’s a solid amount for happy hour beers, takeout and fun activities in Sydney.
How to find student jobs in Sydney
The easiest way to find jobs is often online, with websites like SEEK and Career One amongst the biggest databases for job-seekers in Australia. Otherwise more tailored websites like the Backpacker Job Board and Student Edge, or specific Facebook pages, like The Sydney Bartender Exchange or Sydney Nanny & Babysitting Jobs, could be a good place to start!
Alternatively, there are student accommodation providers in Australia (like us!) that offer jobs within their residences and many universities that have jobs available on campus. A big advantage of this kind of employment is the convenience of working where you live/study and of meeting other students, as well as bypassing the sometimes daunting challenge of searching the city for jobs.
You can also sign up for OneShift, which matches employers and job seekers for both one-off shifts and casual employment. Failing that, don’t be afraid to get out there and introduce yourself to local businesses!
Top 5 student jobs in Sydney
A popular job for students in Sydney, bartending is social, flexible, and perfect for those with long daytime uni hours looking to work nights. Most of the popular bar strips in the Sydney CBD and surrounds are on main streets and quite safe at night, with most bars closing at 2am.
There are a variety of establishments out there to choose from, ranging from chilled beach bars, RSLs and pubs if you want something more low-key, to trendy cocktail bars and pumping nightclubs if you’re after a more dynamic workplace. The inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills has a bunch of options available for students looking for some bar work. Check out the whiskey room at the Clock Hotel, Tio’s upbeat Mexican party vibe and extensive collection of tequilas and mezcals, Li’l Darlin for fancy cocktails or Goros for a Japanese-themed neon-lit karaoke joint.
You’ll be expected to chat to customers, pour beers, keep the bar clean and tidy, and otherwise serve champagne, wines and spirits. Depending on the bar, cocktail making skills might be required, but many venues offer training in these areas for inexperienced staff who are keen to learn.
You’ll also need a RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate) and RCG (Responsible Conduct of Gambling Certificate) which are really easy to obtain and will cost you around $200. All you need to do is complete a 1-day course offered by a number of different companies, and then you’re good to go.
Pay is usually $20-25/hr and often more on Sundays. You can also earn tips if you offer quality service throughout the night, although tipping is not required in Australia.
Also really popular with students, working as a waiter is another social job with flexible hours. Australia is the coffee capital of the world, and there are cafes and restaurants everywhere! Whether you’re wanting something convenient around the corner from where you live, or there’s a certain area you particularly love and want to spend more time in, you’re sure to find multiple options available to you.
Suburbs like Newtown, Surry Hills and Bondi Beach for instance are known for their epic cafe culture and are a great place to start looking if you’re dropping off resumes. Some of our Surry Hills favourites include Single O (amazing coffee!), Three Williams and Le Monde for brekky service, or Bad Hombres’ Asian Mexican fusion dishes and Chur Burger’s, well, burgers for lunch and dinner.
There are also catering companies like Benchmarque and Alseasons that hire waitstaff for private functions, events and hotels. Note that any venues that serve alcohol might require you to have an RSA.
As a waiter, you’ll usually have a lot of contact with customers, which is an awesome way for international students to practice their English skills. Your role would generally include taking orders, carrying food out to diners, clearing tables and cleaning.
Hours are usually in the morning, lunch time or dinner depending on the establishment. There’s often a policy for free or half price meals for wait staff, which is an awesome perk to help you save a few dollars on tasty treats. Although not as well paid as bartending, the average hourly rate for waitstaff is around the $18 per hour mark, with the chance to make tips.
As Australia’s largest city, Sydney has a lot to offer when it comes to retail. There are an abundance of chic retail districts through Paddington, Surry Hills, Mosman and the Sydney CBD, a sprawl of large shopping centres, and plenty of smaller independent stores to pick from. They are literally everywhere, and they’ll be an ultimate test of your ability to restrain yourself and your tight student budgeting skills. Surry Hills is well known for its vintage stores and quirky boutiques, so you’re in for a colourful retail experience if you’re working locally.
Retail work is really flexible and can easily be tailored to suit your student timetable. It can be either an easy part time job, or a great stepping stone to moving upwards in the ranks (and pay) of the store. Many future employers also value the kinds of customer service and teamwork skills you pick up working retail.
Generally you’ll be interacting a lot with customers – great for international students practicing conversation, working the cash register, facilitating sales and keeping the store clean and tidy. Wage is on average around $19/hr, and you’ll often get perks of discounted threads from the store to keep you looking fresh throughout your semester.
Nanny & Babysitting
If you like kids and are comfortable with the responsibility of looking after them, part time nannying could be a great fit for you. Families often need help a few days a week or on certain afternoons, and it’s a fantastic way to improve your English with a (generally) forgiving audience! Sometimes families are after nannies who also speak a language other than English, so this might be a good “in” to the position if you are an international student studying in Sydney.
Your job as a nanny could include picking up the kids from school, helping them with homework, minding them during the day or even sorting out basic meals for them (provided by the family, of course) and small household chores. Developing a relationship with the kids and the family can be really rewarding work, and you’ll have the advantage of being paid in cash – usually from $20/hr. It’s also a great way to spend more time outdoors if the family lives in a nice coastal suburb like Bondi, Bronte, Coogee or Rose Bay and they’re happy for you to take the kids to the beach or the park in the afternoons.
If the nanny role doesn’t work with your uni schedule, shorter babysitting roles often pop up on community notice boards, websites such as Find A Babysitter and Babysitters Now, or even on Gumtree. Great for filling in free evenings and making a quick extra buck. If the kids go to bed early, you can often get some study done before their parent/s get home. Getting paid to do assessments? Now that’s more like it.
Perfect for anyone who isn’t super keen on customer service and doesn’t mind working solo, food delivery is an easy option for students wanting flexible hours. The number of food delivery companies operating in Sydney is forever rising – I mean, who doesn’t love the convenience of ordering in? – and you can be sure that no matter what night it is, somewhere, somehow, someone will be ordering pizza. Or Thai. Or Chinese. Or whatever it is you’re delivering. Darlinghurst and Surry Hills are among the most popular suburbs for food delivery in Sydney, right near the major Sydney Universities so you won’t be far from your studies!
Though some companies like Menulog require you to have your own vehicle, a number of them like Deliveroo and Uber Eats also have the option of getting around by bicycle. Handy for international students, and also a solid way to essentially get paid to exercise.
The great thing about food delivery work is you choose exactly when you want to work. These are generally run via smartphone apps and you decide when you want to be active for work and which deliveries you want to accept. Awesome for filling in quiet nights and for getting to know your way around the city a little better. Pro tip: don’t work on an empty stomach. Likely to be torture smelling all that food if you’re starving!
FYI, food delivery drivers can earn on average around $16-24/hr.
So there you go – our top five jobs for students in Sydney. Whether you’re after a busy, social work environment or want to make money from the convenience of your car, there’s plenty of work out there that can fit your uni timetable and help you earn some extra income.
Good luck on your job hunt!