Work while you study

A lot of students, domestic and international, contact The Guild looking for guidance and advice to find work while they study. We’ve created this guide that starts with applying for your tax file number to joining your union once you’re employed.

Table of Contents

Get Ready

Tax File Number

To legally work in Australia, you need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). If you grew up in Australia, you probably already have one after signing a form in school. If you’re from overseas, you’ll need to apply now online.

Australian Business Number

For some jobs, like being a driver for a so-called ride-sharing platform, you will need an Australian Business Numbers (ABN). Often you will also need an ABN for contract or self-employed work. Having an ABN can be a big responsibility as you will have to file your taxes and superannuation but if you’re still keen apply for an ABN here.

Next up: Get experience and skills and get seen.

Get experience and skills


We all know the conundrum. You see all these jobs advertised and they ask for experience, but how can you get experienced if you can’t first get hired? International students experience extra stress because it can be hard convincing Australian employers how relevant your experience overseas was too.


Murdoch Guild Volunteering has all the contacts to help you find volunteering opportunities. You’ll learn new skills, meet new people and have lots of fun doing it. All that experience looks great on your resume and shows bosses you’re a real go-getter. Learn more about volunteering here.


Murdoch Student Emerging Leaders is a Guild and Careers Centre initiative to give select Murdoch students a comprehensive and enriching volunteer experience. MSEL students work in teams to create real change in the community. Learn more and sign up here.


Even though you might be studying the skills at uni to become a veterinarian, a teacher, an engineer or whatever, you won’t learn the skills you need to get a casual job like how to make coffee or drive a forklift.

Skills Capability Series

Employers often like candidates who have had some training in one form or another. While most training programs can be expensive, the Guild has the Skills Capability Series which provides free professional development workshops for Guild members. You can learn more and sign up here

Job Ready

The Guild Job Ready program provides Guild members with discounted training courses that will help you score a casual job while you’re studying. Find out more.

Now that you’ve got skills and experience, make sure you put it in your resume. If you’re all set, it’s time to get looking for work.

Get Seen

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Your resume, or curriculum vitae is the first thing bosses will see when you apply for jobs, so it’s important to make yours as good as it can be. The Murdoch Careers Centre can give you personalised resume advice and resources to help you to tailor your resumes and cover letter for each application. Join one of their drop in sessions or email them now.


Sometimes you may be lucky enough to land a job just by talking to the right person. At the very least, others may know about job opportunities that would suit you that you hadn’t heard about. Networking is where this magic happens. Murdoch’s Careers Connect page lists upcoming events to connect you with industry professionals, along with all the resources you need to stand out.

Online profiles

Have you ever searched your name online? It can be a little frightening what you’ll find out and you can be sure that bosses will search your name before they interview you. Make sure your social media profiles show your best side and build yourself a professional profile on LinkedIn.

Have you filled in your resume and online profiles but find they are looking a bit thin? Maybe add to your experience or skills. If you’re satisfied though, it’s time to start looking for work.

Get Searching

You now have your TFN and maybe an ABN, you have experience and skills to show off. Your resume is glowing and your social media is on point. Hopefully you have some idea what you want to do because it’s time to start searching for work!

Job search sites

Gone are the days of scouring the newspaper for work opportunities, everything is online. There are countless big online job sites, but these are three of the most popular, covering thousands of businesses in every industry imaginable.

Temp Agencies/Labour Hire

Not all jobs are advertised on the sites above. Sometimes business are too small to advertise on those sites or they only need staff for one off events or projects. That’s where temp agencies and labour hire comes in. These are companies that you sign up to work for and when they have work available, they’ll send you out to different worksites. Often these are locally based, with close connections to nearby businesses, so try searching for labour hire or temp agencies in your suburb or nearby.

Labour hire is especially recommended if you’re planning on doing work on the vineyards or other seasonal work during the semester break. They’ll get you up and working and send you to various places that need your labour.

We will mention two places in particular though.


Sidekicker comes highly recommended. You sign up on the app, submit your profile and browse available jobs. You’ll get paid through Sidekicker and the people you work for should hopefully leave you a good review to help you find more work.


We’re recommending Ecojobs because they are based here in Murdoch. They will send you out to do a variety of environmental work around the city and tend to favour candidates with skills and knowledge in this area.

Specific businesses

Often the biggest businesses don’t advertise their jobs on the sites above because they are so big that they are effectively always hiring, especially retail and hospitality. To get work with those chain fast-food places, or hardware warehouses, or a casino, it is best to apply directly on their website. Even smaller workplaces will have a jobs page on their website so if you really have your heart set on a certain company, it’s always best to contact them directly. We’re going to mention three of interest to Murdoch students though.

Murdoch University

The uni employs heaps of students for various positions around campus like IT support, tutoring and student ambassadors. Keep a close eye on MyMurdoch for work opportunities for students as well as the uni’s job’s page.

Murdoch Guild Jobs

Sometimes the Guild is hiring! The Guild employs casuals at our cafes, bookshop and the tavern. We also occasionally have professional positions come up for suitably qualified people. Submit your resume here.

RAC Arena

Murdoch university students are preferred applicants at RAC Arena. Contact them here.

Get informed

Know your rights

Once you are working, it is important to know your rights. Some bosses are good, but unfortunately wage theft, underpayment, unsafe workplaces, and other atrocities are still seen in Australian workplaces. Fairwork have a comprehensive guide to your rights at work and are where you go to dob in unfair work practices. We recommend their information sheet for international students to everyone because it is such a succinct summary of the issues students face in casual employment..

Join your union

Unions are worker controlled co-operatives that fight to ensure workers are treated fairly at work and not taken advantage of. If getting your head around all the rights above feels a bit overwhelming, then join your union. If you’re not convinced then consider the other benefits union membership offers. Unions are on your side to ensure you are not exploited at work.

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