Part 2 – Globodave’s Guide to Backpacker Jobs and How to Find Work When Travelling!

Welcome to the second installment of my guide to finding work abroad in the guise of a backpacker – you’ll find part 1 here. This shorter section will explore the methods a hard up traveller can use to source work whilst overseas based on my own first hand experiences. Remember, backpacking isn’t all bungee jumps, nights out and multi-day kayaking trips (unless you or your parents are incredibly rich); in reality topping up the dwindling bank balance keeps you in baked beans and puts a roof over your head!

Baked Beans - The Backpacker Choice
Baked Beans – The Backpacker Choice

Stuck for reading time? Here’s a quick overview of the hints and tips I’ll be putting forward in this article:

  • Email yourself a copy of your CV to easily print out in an internet café.
  • Take a pen drive or external hard drive containing your CV.
  • Email yourself a photocopy of your passport details page, invaluable, not just for job searching!
  • Do a Google search for your “profession + recruitment agency + destination” and use your common sense!
  • Word of Mouth – ask backpackers travelling in the opposite direction to yourself what the work situation ahead looks like, no substitute for first hand word of mouth accounts, ask them for contact names and telephone numbers.
  • Look out for Backpacker Expo’s organised by Universities or companies such as the one listed below.
  • Get some bottle! If you know where you want to work, door knocking and enthusiasm can go a long way!
  • Don’t forget to consider working for board and lodging (WWOOFing or I fed baby wombats for weeks in exchange for delicious food and rustic farmhouse accommodation.

For those lucky folks who decided not to study the world’s most generic degree subject (like myself who chose Sociology!) and instead focused on a specific profession, securing at least 6 months work experience before leaving the UK, will give you a good chance of avoiding the ‘unwashed’ fruit picking crew and earn decent money in their ‘career job’. Medically related professions are ideal for this, for example, my girlfriend at the time applied from England to work as an Occupational Therapist in Rotorua, New Zealand and had a job lined up before she arrived. A good CV, and a solid telephone interview (probably on Skype these days) was all she needed. Meanwhile, as I noted down in part 1 of this guide, I was sawing my fingers off working as a kitchen hand for pittance per hour.

Bubbling, steaming Rotorua, New Zealand
Bubbling, steaming Rotorua, New Zealand

Agencies are key to picking up professional work abroad, and although it’s a complete kop-out from myself to not list 100’s of agency websites in this quick guide, I’m simply going to ask you to Google: “recruitment agencies for [insert profession] in [insert country]” and see how you go! In countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, these agencies are plentiful so anyone with a good profession and a smidge of experience shouldn’t struggle. Your host country has the same problem in reverse in that most South Africans, Kiwi’s or Aussie’s hot foot it to the UK to earn ‘the pound’, meaning the skillset in their home countries dissipates as quickly as they can be trained!
I’ve obviously focused on the medical professions above but the same theory applies to engineers and other specialist