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looking for work while backpacking?

How To Find a Backpacker Job

You've arrived in the wonderland of adventure and unforgettable experiences known as New Zealand; you're armed and ready with your working holiday visa and you have a CV dressed to impress....so now what? How do you go from a person who wants a job to a person who has a job?

The good news is work is not hard to come by in this country. And don’t think because your visa limits you to temporary work you won’t be very attractive to potential employers. In fact the opposite can be true – that little piece of paper is a golden ticket in many ways. Seasonal workers have something of a reputation as bringing fresh and enthusiastic approaches to the work place – what employer doesn’t want that. Additionally seasonal workers are known to be generally hard working, knowing they are only going to be around for a limited period. Another highly sought after attribute by employees.

What you will need to focus on is getting that job as quickly as possible rather than eating away at your hard-earned and saved funds. Again, you’re in luck. There are lots of ways to find a job and as long as you stay pro-active you are likely to find yourself working within a couple of weeks at most.

Think Outside the Box

We’ve said that work is easy to come by in New Zealand but we should have qualified that with...... ’if you are flexible’. If you have something very specific in mind (I only want to work outside doing something which is more fun than hard work) or you’re fussy (I can’t work weekends/after 5.30 pm/I can’t get my hands dirty) then the job search may prove a little harder. Remember, that job might look a little unappealing in theory but who knows....it might actually end up being a great experience. And anyway, even if it really turns out to be not all that, you can just remind yourself you’re not going to be doing it for very long.

Backpacker-Specific Job Listings

There are more than a few backpacker-dedicated job listing resources dotted around the web. For starters you can check out ours here on this very site. 

We’ve got pages and pages of opportunities, listed in an at-a-glance easy-read format which includes date posted, job title, location and whether it a paid position, accommodation-only position or one which is both paid and includes accommodation. Clicking on any listing will bring up further details. There is everything listed on here from working on an animal park farm to bar work and everything in between.

Newspapers and Job Boards

Any newspaper will have job listings but local publications are often much better resources for temporary job hunters. You might find this kind of printed material in local shops and garages as well as libraries and hostels. To really get on the ball and ahead of the pack find out when each of these come out so you can find and apply for any jobs at the earliest possible opportunity.

There are also some backpacker-specific publications such as the free magazines you will find in hostels which have job listings along with all kinds of other helpful nuggets of information for the backpacker looking to work.

Notice boards are another great way of finding out about any jobs going. You might find these in supermarkets while almost all hostels have some kind of notice board which might prove useful.

Recruitment Agencies 

Recruitment agencies are the middleman, there to match those who want jobs up with those who want to find workers. Most of the recruitment agencies are free to join and most typically specialise in or focus on certain industries so they are a good additional resource for all those who have something a little more specific in mind. Some of the positions available are only advertised through recruitment agencies so you won’t find them elsewhere. A good range of agencies can be found here and includes the likes of those who specialise in certain areas such as horticulture and viticulture, construction and engineering, hospitality sectors and IT/office.

Job Package Providers

Because there are so many people entering New Zealand with the idea of working to bolster their travel funds, a whole industry has grown up around this very thing. One such is the working holiday makers' job packages which are offered by any number of companies. These can be a real god-send for anyone who sees the entire work finding process – CVs, job searches, IRD number etc - and the issues on first arriving in New Zealand as one rather large and overwhelming mountain.

One such package is that offered by Base – the same folk who run a hostel network known for its fun vibes. The Base Work and Travel Package gives you, along with a few other bonuses, airport transfer to your hostel and several nights accommodation with breakfast included but most importantly a year’s membership of Job Search New Zealand. This membership includes -

  • In depth orientation from a designated local guide which covers all you need to know when living, working and travelling in New Zealand with continual support throughout your stay
  • Help with setting up a New Zealand Bank Account 
  • Help with setting up your IRD Number 
  • SIM Card 
  • A jobs consultation and a personal 1:1 service for putting together your CV
  • Luggage storage for 1 month
  • Personal post handling service
  • Mail, photocopy and fax service
  • 1 year member-exclusive access to a job search website
  • 1 year personal service in Auckland at Job Search New Zealand’s office  Get the full low down and current package prices at http://www.stayatbase.com/packages/work-and-travel

Online Job Searches

For many of us our first port of call for anything in this day and age is to hop online and get researching or checking so you probably don’t need to be told to make some online job searches. You don’t even have to move a muscle from the comfort of your hostel (a hostel without wifi and/or computers for guest use is rare). Simply type 'job listing websites New Zealand' in a search to get hundreds of returns or go for something more general which has a job listing section such as Craigslist New Zealand.

You can of course start doing this before you ever set foot on New Zealand soil or before you reach the actual location in which you’d like to find a job. It probably doesn’t need to be said that before you spend ages preparing job applications you should check any job listing dates to be sure they are recent.

Some good starting points for job listing sites include -

Of course if you have an exact company in mind you should check out their own website for job vacancies and recruitment news. 

The On-Foot Face-to-Face Tactic

In such a digital age it can be easy to forget that sometimes another way – and even the best way - to do things is the old-fashioned way. In the case of job searches this means loading yourself up with a few copies of your CV and getting out there. Getting out there might mean going into hostels, hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, cafes........in fact anywhere you can cheerily ask the manager if there are any jobs going. Kiwis are an approachable warm bunch and showing your enthusiasm and initiative in this way will not hurt your job hunting cause at all and may pay off quite quickly.

Farm work | Dairy work New Zealand Find seasonal work in New Zealand Work for Greenpeace Work For Backpackers Work at Skycity Reclaiming tax - Working Holiday NZ
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