How to Get a Decent Job in Sydney – Tips & Tricks

Hi guys,

Sebenernya saya bukan WHV warrior yg punya pengalaman paling bagus soal mencari dan bekerja di bidang hospitality di Sydney. Seperti yang sudah saya tulis di postingan sebelumnya, saya punya beberapa pengalaman pahit dalam pekerjaan2 saya sebelumnya disini. It takes me a lot of courage to share my bitter experience from my jobs here. It’s such a shame that I couldn’t do the things that, I thought were simple and easy jobs, well enough. I’ve also read some other Indonesian WHV warriors’s amazing experience telling how fast they could learn to do their jobs in such a short period of time and even finally became a supervisor. Tapi biar bagaimanapun juga, saya tetap ingin berbagi tentang apa yang sudah saya pelajari dari pengalaman2 pahit saya disini. Somehow I believe bad experience is actually a better teacher, right?


These tips & tricks will be most relevant for female WHV warriors who are looking for hospitality jobs as wait staff, customer service or any customer facing positions. Not applicable for kitchen hand/chef/cleaner etc. Lol :p

Jadi, kita mulai aja dengan kisah saya di restoran Itali kemarin. Long story short, I was again, kicked out! Anyway, in the last few weeks saya juga sudah tidak happy kerja disana karena chef2 Itali yang ganteng dan suka ajak saya ngobrol juga sudah dipecat oleh head chef nya. Jadi saya tidak punya teman ngobrol lagi karena yang lain cuma suka ngobrol dengan bahasa mereka sendiri. Saya pun sudah beberapa minggu kepikiran ingin quit dari resto ini, namun saya agak santai dan picky dalam mencari pekerjaan baru karena biar bagaimanapun juga, pekerjaan di resto Italy ini lumayan simple dan gajinya juga cukup OK. Dan karena supervisor nya juga baik, saya jadi agak bingung bagaimana caranya saya mau ngomong quit. Tapi ternyata Tuhan memang punya rencana baik buat saya. Seperti gayung bersambut, akhirnya saya dan salah seorang waitress Itali lainnya ter-eliminasi dan digantikan oleh orang yang akan dijadikan supervisor baru di restoran ini. Saya tidak perlu bilang quit dan somehow saya merasa lega keluar dari restoran ini πŸ™‚

Terus, kenapa koq saya sekarang PD banget mau sharing tips & trick getting a decent job in Sydney? Karena job hunting saya kali ini agak lumayan, guys.Β I was jobless for 10 days but this time, being jobless was not as bad as before. I got a lot of interviews and trials almost everyday and I actually became more picky in choosing which one I want to do. And the most memorable experience in job hunting this time was getting an interview and trial with Merivale group! Merivale is one of the most prestigious companies that owns various restaurants, bars and clubs across Sydney. Walaupun akhirnya saya tidak berhasil mendapat job di Merivale group, saya merasa belajar banyak dari interview & trial selama 2 jam di salah satu restoran mereka. Saat ini saya sudah bekerja sebagai waitress di sebuah cafe yang sangat cosy dengan gaji $22/hour nett.

How did I look and apply for jobs this time?

  1. Apply online/SMS

I have to admit that 99% of the job interviews and trials I got in Sydney (including in hospitality) is from applying online. I use either email or SMS/MMS to send my resume. Seperti yang sudah diceritakan oleh teman2 WHV lain, website2 yang kita gunakan untuk mencari pekerjaan di Sydney adalah: Gumtree, Seek dan Indeed. For casual jobs in hospitality, you can always rely on Gumtree. There are also hospitality job ads on Seek and Indeed and usually they would offer better salary since the ads are paid so the companies that post the ads are bonafide. I think I only got one trial from Seek for a Cafe All-rounder position at Bourke Street Bakery. The other ones I got, including the one with Merivale, are from Gumtree.

2. Walk-in/drop resume

I would say this method does not work well in Sydney, unless they tell you to do so in the job ads. I only got one call from drop in resume which was from the Italian restaurant I worked at before.

How does my resume look like?


Write a short headline to describe about your strengths, qualities and visa status. Write what most employers want to look at, i.e.: friendly, strong customer service skill, good English (and any other languages), etc.

How to land a trial from the interview:

From my experience doing interviews with some potential employers and especially Merivale, these are some of the characteristics they look for in wait staff:

  1. Confidence

Speak clear English with lots of confidence. Work on your intonation to create friendly and happy voice. You have to at least look like an outgoing person who’s not afraid to chit-chat a bit with customers. This is what the Merivale & my current cafe managers told me when they interviewed me.

When I was going through a group interview with Merivale, I was with 20 other interviewees from many nationalities. There were only 2 Asians, but the other Asian girl was actually a New Zealander. So, basically I was the only one that comes from Asian country. They asked us to introduce ourselves: name, age, nationalities, hospitality experiences and if we were a drink (alcoholic drink), what we would be and why? I said I would be a red Sangria because of its daring colour, its sweet and refreshing taste and it’s made of mixed of fruits which represents lots of passion in life. I believe I gave a good answer since the interviewers responded me with enthusiasm and of course, invited me for a trial at one of their prestigious restaurants, Mr. Wong πŸ™‚

2. Be happy and friendly

SMILE A LOT! Like, really a lot when you talk with and serve customers. No matter how grumpy the customers may seem. You still have to put on that happy smile on your face whenever you interact with customers. When my current manager interviewed me, he asked what my strengths were. One of the strengths I mentioned was that I am friendly and he was happy to hear that. He said, most people would say they are hard working and diligent. So, he was glad that I mentioned something different and thus he invited me to do trial on the next day πŸ™‚

3. Flexible availability

Most of the time, the employers want to hear that you are available during any day of the week and ready to start immediately. Unless they already state in the job ads that they only need you on certain days and time of the week. But still, ready to go ASAP is crucial.

Trial Time

Based on Australian law, the maximum period for unpaid trial is 2 hours. If trial takes longer than that, you actually have the rights to get hourly pay. I usually will be flexible if the trial is 3 hours but won’t take it more than that. My trial at Mr. Wong took 2 hours + 30 minutes training and they paid me $50 πŸ™‚ Sedangkan di cafe tempat saya bekerja sekarang, trial nya 2 jam unpaid. If the trial takes you 30 minutes or even less, most likely you don’t get the job.


Formal outfit for trial at Mr. Wong

When you’re on a trial, of course you just need to listen well to directions. Ask lots of questions whenever you forget or unsure about something. Ini yang saya suka dari pengalaman saya bekerja dengan Westerners. Mereka mau sering ditanya dan maklum kalau kita masih agak lupa2 kalau baru 1-2x mengerjakan. Mereka selalu bilang: never assume, just ask clearly. Ask me or anyone else in the team. Ask a lot even though you think it’s a stupid question!

In some trials, directions will be clear and you just need to do whatever the senior/manager trains you to do. Some other are not that clear. I personally don’t like it when I’m not given a clear direction of what to do. So, I will just do whatever I can and not care about the outcome.

After the trial, if you get the job most likely they will ask you to come and start working the next day or the next few days. They have you on schedule right away! If they tell you they would send you the roster tomorrow or call you back, it’s a strong sign that you don’t get the job.

After my trial at Mr. Wong, I really liked that they gave me evaluations and feedbacks. They are really professional. They told me that I already had the confidence and style they looked for. Unfortunately, it seems that I didn’t have enough experience as a floor waitress, because I previously focused on handling the till and only took orders for takeaways. And Mr. Wong is a big deal, guys! Restoran mereka punya 2 lantai dan di masing2 lantai ada sekitar 100 meja. Di hari-hari sepi seperti Senin, rata2 mereka kedatangan 500 customer. Waktu melihat ukuran restoran dan mendengar load pekerjaannya, terus terang saya sudah agak menciut dan nggak yakin saya akan sanggup kerja disana. Yah, saya memang punya tekad setiap saya berganti pekerjaan disini, saya mau pekerjaan saya makin mudah dan gajinya makin tinggi. Karena saya takut visa saya judulnya berubah jadi Working too Hard Visa πŸ˜€

Dalam hati saya yakin, pekerjaan itu juga jodoh2an. Pada waktu saya datang untuk interview di cafe tempat saya bekerja sekarang, saya suka sekali dengan tampilan cafe ini yang luas, terang dan cozy. Di saat saya masuk ke dalam cafe, saya sudah memantapkan tekad saya untuk bisa mendapat pekerjaan disana. Et voila! Yes, I got the job just right after the 2-hour trial. They put me on the roster straight away and asked me to start working the next day.


The cafe layout

Jadi kira2 begitu tips & trik buat kamu yang pengin keluar dari jeratan Asian employers atau underpaid jobs. Communication skills and confidence are the keys to open the door to a better opportunity. Jangan selalu mengeluh western employers itu rasis karena sebenernya kita semua memang pada dasarnya rasis. Just try to think and act like them, maksudnya dalam hal outgoing, friendly dan polite nya yah. Supaya mereka merasa kita akan bisa beradaptasi dengan team member lainnya. Keep trying and good luck!


Ariesa Lie


3 thoughts on “How to Get a Decent Job in Sydney – Tips & Tricks

  1. Lidya ovianti says:

    First of all congratulations for your new job πŸ‘πŸΎπŸŽ‰
    Really enjoy reading your blog.
    You inspired me to not give up looking for a decent job here in brisbane.
    Thank you for sharing girl…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. asti says:

    kak ariesa,
    nanya dunk..
    kalau misalnya dari airport ke apartement nih, by taxi, sepertinya lebih pricey drpd uber ya? cuma karena gk ada kartu kredit di indo, gk jadi opsi d naik uber..
    trus OPAL card ( untuk public transport di ausie ), bisa beli juga kah di airport?

    saya bakal nyampe Sydney tgl. 4 nov.. kind of worry.. ahhaha.. secara gk punya siapa2 disana…


    • ariesalie says:

      Hi Asti,
      Aku belom pernah naik taxi biasa nih selama disini.. pertama x dateng sini naik uber pake account temenku. Jd aku bayar cash ke dia. Aku jg ga pernah cek di train station airport ada jual opal apa engga. Sorry yaa ga banyak bantu. Tp bisa koq naik train pake one trip ticket walopun jatohnya emg lbh mahal sih.


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