The Ultimate Guide To Job Hunting On Gumtree In Australia

Do you know which tree Australia is famous for? It is the gumtree. There a thousands of different kinds of this tree out there. And one of them can help you find a job while you are backpacking Down Under.

Well, not really talking about the plant here. The most established online classifieds website in Australia is without a doubt Gumtree. There you can buy and sell just about anything. It also features a job section which comes in very handy for travelers who are looking for work. And the best thing about it is that is super easy and totally free on top of that.

In this article I will share with you all the tips and tricks you need to succeed.

Gumtrees are everywhere in Australia - and they can even help you to find a job

There are two ways of job hunting via Gumtree, which I would like to call ‘active job hunting’ and ‘passive job hunting’. The first one works basically like any other job board or websites like Seek or Indeed. The second one is the online version of putting up a note on a notice board. So, I will explain both of them in detail and give you all the tips on how to effectively use them.

However, first things first. You should start by creating a Gumtree profile which is completely straight forward. Have you done that? OK, then it is time to continue reading.

Active Job Hunting on Gumtree

So this one works like any other job website. First you go to the homepage and next to the search bar you select the category ‘Jobs’. In the location field you can enter the city closest to you and change the search radius or you can be quite vague about your location and enter something like ‘Western Australia’. The auto fill on that part of your search helps you to easily find possible locations that you can enter as keywords. Now we come to the field that says ‘I’m looking for…’

You can play around with the details you entere in the search bar

Get your keywords right

What is it that you are looking for? Well, a job of course. However, you need to enter keywords to match the corresponding ad titles. Usually the ad titles of possible employers are something like ‘Need two fit backpackers to help on my farm’ or so. So I would recommend to enter keywords such as ‘backpacker’, ‘work and travel’ or ‘working holiday’. You can play a bit with it and see what results are coming up. Be creative and think about what people might have put in their ad when looking for some helping hands.

Your search results might look like this

Now you can spend a bit of time browsing through different job offers and hopefully you will find something that suits you. There are different ways how to play around with the search results you obtain.

Which location should you choose

What is the right location to enter in the search bar? Often hard to say, unless you are looking for something in your town and nothing else will do. Otherwise you go several options.
For example, if you are not in one of the big cities enter the town closest to you and change the radius. Usually as soon as this area includes one of the big cities you will end up with lots of results and it makes it harder to look through all of them. You can also enter a whole state as location and refine your search by choosing one of the areas on the left.  For instance, you could enter ‘Queensland’ and then click on ‘Gold Coast Region’ on the left under ‘Places’. Just play with it!

Found the right location, but there are so many ads

Travelers who are looking for a job in one of the cities will usually end up with a lot more results as I mentioned before. Here you might refine your search by only looking in a particular category of jobs as for example ‘Hospitality and Tourism’. This you can also filter on the left. You have a lot of options to play around with it. Have a go!

Play around with location and categories
You can filter search results by location and category

Got your dream job - how to get in contact

So, let’s assume you found a job offer you are curious about (hopefully it is not just anything to fill your wallet). How should you proceed now?

Well, you obviously have to get in contact with your future employer. But what is the best way? Is it best to email people, to message them via Gumtree, call them or pop in directly? Of course not always are all of these options available, depending on which details your potential boss publishes on Gumtree.

No matter how you get in contact, one thing is always important. You should have an up to date resume that is tailored to that certain industry or business you are applying for! Is it a hospitality job, are you working on a construction site or are you going to work on a farm with animals? What is your relevant experience? Did you regularly go horse riding? Maybe not a job, but definitely livestock experience. You can be creative on that one, but don’t be too creative if you know what I mean. 

This might be your next dream job

Now it’s time to get in contact. There are no fast and hard rules on how to go about it, but from my experience I like to give you the following tips.

  • Writing emails:

Generally, I found that writing (whether emails or Gumtree messages) takes way more time than a quick phone call. Therefore, when you are on a job you cannot send that many applications out, especially when you are trying to avoid copy and paste. I think a mix of copy and paste (to save time) and individually addressing someone is the ideal compromise. And believe me, you notice when you get a job application from someone that looks like it could just be sent to any other employer as well.

Beware of copy and paste!

Yeah, I have send out copy paste job applications in which I forgot to change the name from the person I was writing to in the email before to the name of the person I was addressing then. Trust me, if you start an application with “Dear Mrs Miller” then Mr Name-is-actually-completely-different is not going to give you a job. No. That one is gone!

For that reason I like to put dashes (‘Dear ——-‘, ‘I worked as a ———- before’, etc.) in my template as they are easier to spot then the wrong names or descriptions when you quickly browse through your 3498134th job application. But as I said before always insert at least one individual (related to that certain job offer) part in your email, message, etc. that you are sending out.

However, it can go both ways. I also read classic copy paste ads where people were looking for employees, such as “Looking for enthusiastic backpackers for the summer season 2016…..” Yeah, but now winter is approaching. Ah, and by the way, it is 2018!

Is it really worth your time?

Writing takes a lot of time. So think about if it is worth putting that much time and effort into an email or message. Of course, the best thing is to address as many employers as possible. However, there are jobs that might not get you super excited and you think ‘Ah, if nothing else works out’ and then you see on top of that that the ad has already 500-something views. And it has been posted only a few hours ago! These two factors are also a good benchmark. OK, so in that case it is up to you if you think it is worth writing that person. Most likely your mail will never ever be read.

Writing emails might be a waste of time
Sometimes writing emails might be a waste of time
  • Giving your future employer a phone call:

If a potential future employer provides his phone number (and does not insist on applying via email) then I think it is so much better to go for a quick phone call. First think about what business it is and what might be their busy time. Avoid calling in during busy times!

Over the telephone there is so much more information to get for both of you. Even from a call as short as a minute or two there is a lot to pick up on. People can gauge if you got a good command on the English language, your general attitude and much more over the phone. Often important for customer service jobs.

You also get a good feeling about your future employer. Is that man or woman on the other end trustworthy or rather dodgy? Was there something weird about that conversation? If you got a good feeling about it all then also email your resume.

  • Popping in to your new workplace in person:

Most of what I said about phone calls holds true for applying for a job in person just as well. A good thing to ask is at what time the manager or boss is there to come back at that certain time and date and have a quick chat with him or her and hand over your resume. Also, ask for their name and address them with their name and show some self confidence and manners. I know the first one might be trickier than the latter. It comes with time. All that can go a long way!

 Well, you can always be wrong about first impressions, but more often than not it is good advise to trust your gut feeling. You think I am exaggerating? Maybe. But try it yourself! I think the longer you travel, with every new person you meet, the more different jobs you had, the more you develop your people skills.

Active Job Hunting in a nutshell

Just one more time to sum it all up.

  • Play around with some Gumtree search metrics like keywords and location
  • Refine your search by choosing particular job categories like hospitality or farm jobs
  • Have a kick ass resume that is up to date and tailored to that industry
  • Get in contact via email (takes time, beware of copy and paste), over the phone (good to get to know the other person) or pop in (avoid busy times and ask for manager or boss)

This is what I like to call active job hunting on Gumtree, but there is also another way to look for work using this platform while traveling. I refer to it as passive job hunting and it is very efficient once you put in the initial effort.

Passive Job Hunting on Gumtree

When I am talking about passive job hunting on Gumtree, what I mean is simply posting your own ad on Gumtree. This is totally easy and takes a bit of effort the very first time you do it. But after that it only takes a few minutes each time you want to set it up.

So what kind of ad are we talking about? Just like employers can look for backpackers you can post an ad in the job section tagged ‘I’m looking for work’.

Posting an ad to look for a job

By now you should have set up an account for Australia’s most famous online classifieds. All you need to do now is click on the button ‘Post an ad’ in the upper right corner of the website. Then you log in (if you are not already) and choose a title. Usually you should go for something like ‘Italian backpacker (24 years old) looking for work’ or sometimes it can be a bit more specific if it is farm work for the second year visa that you are looking for or whatever else might be.

Think of a fitting title for your job hunt

After that you choose the category ‘Jobs’ then you would usually go for ‘Other jobs’ and then ‘I’m looking for work’. We can argue about which category to choose and if employers are also going for the same search techniques I discussed in the active job hunting part. So, feel free to go for a different category if you will.

Then a new window opens and you choose ‘Advertised by private’, ‘Job type’ should usually be ‘casual’, under payment you choose ‘hourly rate’ and if you want to set a range of wages is up to you. I personally never did it.

Now that all the right boxes are ticked there comes the most important part. The field that is called ‘Description’. These up to 4000 characters are your chance to promote yourself, to show your skills and to make some employer looking for workers interested in you. And last but not least, stand out from the masses.

You can have a look at ads from other backpackers. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer looking for a backpacker and see what you think would work and what wouldn’t. Be creative, be honest, be effective, be informative and much more in how you design the description about yourself.

Here you want to prove to your future employer that you are the right person
Here I will show you one of my ads I put on Gumtree while I was in Adelaide and looked for quite a particular job (that should be fun) and not just anything. Notice that I put my past work experience in bullet points and easy to spot as some people won’t read through all of it. This is supposed to give you some inspiration and probably far from perfect although I changed the whole thing on several occasions during my travels. So please feel free to give me feedback.

my name is Philipp, I am from Germany, 30 years old and I am on a 417 visa (already 2nd year) which is valid until March 2018.

I am in Adelaide at the moment and looking for a quite particular job. However, if this is the right job I would go ANYWHERE for that. My dream job would be a mix of lots of different things. A mix of hospitality (kitchen, housekeeping, waiting tables, bar work, reception/office, etc.), hands on work (gardening, renovation, livestock work, etc.) and more, whatever you need a hand with. So ideally the job would be some kind of all rounder position at a roadhouse, homestead/farmstay, bush camp, a coastal resort or anything that loosely fits that description.

I’ve already worked at a homestead north of Perth and along the Gibb River Road. Both were places with lots of tourists visiting and I loved the variety of work involved there and the general lifestyle. So, ideally I would like to go for something that is similar to that and I would be happy to relocate. In those places I did gardening, renovation work, burning rubbish, housekeeping, helped in the kitchen, served customers, bar work and lots more.

Back in Germany I was a teacher and I have already my fair share of experience with all sorts of farm work, on a cattle station, a homestead, labouring, picking, in hospitality and more. Among the jobs I have worked are:

– general farm duties, fencing, maintenance and small repairs
– driving motorbike, ute with trailer, tractor, forklift, quad bike
– work with sheep: mustering, shifting, vaccinating, feeding and checking water
– set up and manage irrigation
– renovation work, lots of painting and gardening
– different picking jobs: tomatoes, apsparagus, beans, potatoes, grapes and other vineyard work (pruning, wire lifting, delegging)
– deckhand on a prawn vessel
– hospitality: dish washing, working at bars, as a waiter and for events, housekeeping, cleaning, etc.

I am always happy to go for something new where I could learn a skill or two and don’t mind some physical work and long hours. I am happy to give you a hand wherever it is needed. Going a little remote is also no problem as you can see from my previous jobs. If you are interested just give me a call or text me (I prefer that) or send me a message or mail. In case you want me to send you a resume I am happy to do so. Now if that sounds like the kind of person you are looking for don’t hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Updating your ad is easy

All you have to do is putting in the effort to post a decent ad in the beginning. If you then copy the text in your description field into a text file, you can delete and put your ad up on Gumtree again within less than 5 minutes. I did this every so often to keep it on top of the ad list without the need to pay for it. It takes a bit of initial effort, but once you have set it up job hunting doesn’t get more effective than this.

By the way, that ad above didn’t help me to find that dream job I was looking for. But as I said it is extremely fast to set up and I got lots of people contacting me. However, none of the jobs seemed right and eventually I changed my plans completely and ended up with an ever better job, I guess. Yeah, stuff like that will happen a lot to you on the road. It keeps things interesting. And a lot of travelers probably agree with me.

French backpacker looking for work
Passive job hunting on gumtree is one of the best ways to look for jobs
Now here comes my personal favourite and I know that it is also going to be a controversial topic, especially among female backpackers.

Add pictures to your Gumtree ad

In short, what i suggest is to add pictures of yourself to your Gumtree ad, especially photos showing you working.
The idea came to me when I was looking for work in the very beginning and when I had a glimpse at what other backpackers were writing. I saw two ads basically saying the same and looking for something similar (couples that were looking for a job on a cattle station). Both couples had work experience in the respective job as they stated. But there was a major difference.
The one ad had no pictures whatsoever and the second one showed the girl on a quad bike, the guy doing some fencing, both working with livestock. Doing this, handling those tools. All covered in red dust. They looked like they can handle some hard work!
So, if I was now to decide which one to employ, well I would have gone for the couple with the photos. Not even knowing if they would have been the better fit. This is marketing. And you can do that as well.
So, ideally you put some photos to your Gumtree ad making you look professional. Not you hanging out at the beach or what not. The best thing is if you got pictures showing you at work. And if you haven’t got anything like that. Well, then you have got a little mission for your next job. Take a photo that shows you at work!
And I know that some girls might argue that as soon as they put up pictures of themselves they get weird requests and there are dodgy guys out there replying to their ads. While I heard these kind of stories from some (and can totally imagine that) and others could not confirm it at all I would say it is up to you.
And if it just one weird request, just ignore it. At least give it a try. It can make such a difference! However, I don’t want to push anyone. But just to let you know, even as a guy posting ads on Gumtree with photos you will receive the occasional weird message. Believe me!
Uploading photos of you working to your ad can make a huge difference
Just like you should save your description text in some text file keep your pictures somewhere handy to access. And remember to take a photo of you working every now and then so your job portfolio grows over time. This is very helpful, especially if you are going to stay longer on your working holiday and you are probably going to work many different jobs along the way.
One last thing I like to mention when it comes to uploading images on Gumtree. As your wifi connection sometimes tends to be sh*t in Australia you might find yourself giving up on the uploading process. So maybe just leave it with what you got so far, save the ad and continue adding more pictures later on. 

Last steps and your ad is up and running

Now you have to enter your contact details and the area where you are looking for a job. Unfortunately, you cannot look Australia wide for a job. This is not possible. It will always be confined to a small area. That is also the reason why I posted the above example ad in different cities. As I said, just play with it a bit and see what results you get.

All that there is left to do now is to press ‘Post ad’. Then you can have another quick look if you are happy with your result and usually it takes a few minutes for you ad to go online while Gumtree is looking at it for double posting and other potential issues. If you ever have any problems with posting just contact their support, they are very helpful and quick.

At the end of the day, do not get frustrated if no one answers to your ad. Sometimes you get a lot of feedback, sometimes none at all. Even in the same place one week might not yield any success and then you do it all over (takes just a few minutes then) a few days later and people are calling you “Hey, I saw your ad on Gumtree, are you still looking for work?” and there you go!

Passive job hunting in a nutshell

To sum it up again, here are all the steps to take to succeed at job hunting with your own ad.

  • Set up a Gumtree acount
  • Post an ad (category ‘Jobs’ then ‘other Jobs’ and ‘Looking for work’)
  • Fill out the description box (promote yourself, work experience, make use of bullet points)
  • Copy your description text into a file for quick updates of your ad to stay in the top results
  • Add pictures to your ad (photos that show you working to prove job experience)

Now this is passive job hunting on Gumtree. In my opinion one of the best ways to find a job Down Under as a backpacker. Takes some time in the beginning, but once you set everything up – bam – job hunting as efficient as possible.

Gumtree is a great way to look for jobs when you are on a working holiday in Australia. It is very popular among backpackers and also quite a lot of employers use it to look for people on a work and travel visa. Especially when it comes to typical backpacker jobs in hospitality, construction and fruit picking.

Try to make use of both concepts I explained here, the ‘active job hunting’ and the ‘passive job hunting’. In the meantime you might want to work some other job that is easy to get for a short period of time. A mix of job hunting on Gumtree combined with other ways of looking for work and I promise you it won’t take long until you earn those dollars for your next adventure.

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