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Jobs in Adelaide: A guide to employment for students

While you’re living and studying in Australia, the terms of your student visa allow you to work as well. This not only provides you with a valuable source of income, but it can give you experience in the field you’re interested in and an opportunity to network with locals.

However, the job market is competitive in Adelaide, with loads of other students, graduates looking for work. In 2017, every job advertised had 46 applicants. So you’re going to have to stand out in order to be noticed.

What are the legal requirements for international students working in Australia?

On a valid student visa, you are legally allowed to work up to 40 hours a fortnight while school is in session. This limit is to ensure that you are able to complete your studies to a high standard as well as work. During the holiday periods between semesters, you can work as many hours as you want.

Volunteer work, unpaid work and works required for your studies does not count towards this 40 hours.

How to find employment in Adelaide?

There a few ways to find employment opportunities in Adelaide.

Arguably, the best way to find work is by word of mouth. Alumni groups or professors may be able to refer you to someone they know or know of entry level job openings in their industry.

There are also plenty of other places to look for jobs.

There are a number of online sites such as Try looking at Michael Page, Ambition, Jobsearch, Adecco, Jobsjobsjobs, Slade, Adzuna and Hays. You can try listing with an agency, either a generic one or a company that specialises in roles or industries. For healthcare roles, try HCA. You can find IT roles at Ignite, Peoplebank and Modis. Accounting roles can be found at KPMG. There will also be job boards on campus.

How to apply for jobs in Adelaide?

CV/ Resume

Keep this short, about two pages long. Start with your most recent roles and include only what’s relevant. If you’re new to working, include all work experience but tie it back to the role you’re applying. For instance, if you were a waitress, it shows you relate well with people, work well under pressure, and take orders well.

List your academic qualifications and achievements, with your current studies listed at the top. Show the dates you’ve been doing this.

It should be clear, concise, and easy to read. Remember that your potential employer doesn’t know about your previous jobs, so they should be able to understand what your role was by reading your CV.

Cover letter

This is no longer than one page, and tells your future employer everything about you that’s not in your CV. It should be written specifically for the job you’re applying for. Look at the language in the advertisement; if it asks for someone who is highly motivated, reflect the language. For example, "I am a studying towards my food science degree and I’m wanting an entry level job into the industry. I’m highly motivated to learn as much as possible in the workforce so I can apply my learnings in my education".

Submit these as PDF’s to avoid any formatting problems.

Then, prepare yourself for an interview. Whether it’s online or face to face, the format will be the same. Your future employer will ask a range of questions. Take some time now to think about relevant examples—and these could be from life, they don’t have to be work related. Think about the situation, what was required of you, what you did in this instance, and what the result was.

For instance, an interviewer may ask: "Tell me about a time that there was conflict with someone, and how you resolved it”.

Your answer could be something like: “When I was a waitress, a customer claimed his food was too cold. I gave him the choice of having it reheated, or an entirely new dish plated up, which would take longer. I got it reheated as per his instructions. The, I spoke to my manager who said I could offer him free dessert to make up for the inconvenience. The customer was very happy in the end.”

What are your employment rights as an international student working?

You have the same employment rights as every Australian citizen.

  • Your employer must pay you the correct rate for the number of hours worked.

  • They must provide a safe workplace.

  • They cannot take money from your wages except for tax and other legal requirements

  • You cannot be paid ‘cash in hand’

  • They cannot force you to alter your legal requirements

  • You cannot be discriminated against due to race or religion

  • You are allowed to join a union or other industry association

  • You are allowed to ask your rights, and not be punished for speaking up If you think you’re being mistreated, contact

Average salaries in Adelaide

Australia has a minimum wage. This is the current lowest rate someone can be paid. It differs across a range of scenarios, so make you understand what the minimum gross pay is for your role.

Most entry-level roles will be set at this lowest wage rate, and as you grow in seniority, how highly qualified you are and duration of employment, your wage will increase. Generally, employers will have pay reviews every year at about the same time. Overall, the average full-time salary in Adelaide is $87,895 gross, differing across industry and job type.

Other things you need to know

Bank Account

You will need an Australian bank account for your wages to be paid into, if you don’t have one already. You can apply for these online if you have all the necessary documentation.

Tax File Number (TFN)

An Australian Tax File Number, this is how you’ll pay tax to the government on your earnings. Apply for it while you’re in Australia itself, you cannot do this when you’re out of the country. Go to and follow the instructions. You’ll need to enter:

  • The country you reside in normally

  • Your legal name precisely the same as your passport

  • Any other names you may be known by

  • Passport number

  • Date of birth

  • Your spouse details if applicable

  • Your current postal address

  • Contact details

How much tax will you pay? Your employer takes care of paying the correct tax amounts. This tax calculator will help you to understand how much of your salary is take-home.

Want to study in Adelaide? Get started today

Find out how IDP Education can help you study in Adelaide. With a wealth of knowledge about learning institutions and visa requirements, IDP have the skills to help you get to where you need to be. Start planning your study in Adelaide today, call us at 1800 664 700 or book an appointment to speak to our counsellors. 

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