Job Search Tips

When to look for work

  • Develop your work skills from first year. Employers value customer service, team work and leadership skills gained through part time and casual work.
  • In second year, apply for internships and vacation work programs which are advertised early each semester.
  • In final year, students can apply for graduate programs, which are open from March each year for employment in the following year.

Where to look for work

View our resources including discipline specific resume exemplars and career snapshots for targeted job search tips and information.

Volunteering can be a good way to gain experience, learn new skills, make new contacts and obtain a reference.

In regional areas of Australia many job opportunities may not be advertised. We recommend you use all available networks to seek employment. Talk with fellow students, JCU staff, roommates and sporting teams. You could also join a club; there are several at JCU. Check them out at Market Day or contact  the JCU Student Association.

  • Prepare a resume and cover letter. Handouts with information and examples are available from our office on the first floor of the Library in Cairns and Townsville or download them here Resources.
  • Meet with the Careers and Employability team for feedback on your application.
  • Always follow employers' instructions when applying for an advertised job.
  • If you are taking your resume to local businesses in person, be sure to dress appropriately. Your personal presentation is important.

USEP is a free, on-campus employment service that supports graduating or graduated students with a disability (including mental health conditions) who are seeking a final year placement or graduate employment.

The service is available to JCU students in their final year or within one year of graduation who have identified as having a disability and/or who access support from the University due to their disability.

See the USEP webpage for benefits and registration information.

  • Be sure to request permission of your referees before you nominate them in your job application.
  • Keep your referees informed – they need to know what you are applying for so that they are prepared when an employer contacts them to find out more about you.
  • Your current/most recent Supervisor/Manager is preferred. An Academic referee may also be suitable. Avoid personal referees.
  • If possible, use Australian referees for an Australian based job.
  • If using an overseas referee we recommend email contact only.
  • Find out about pay rates
  • Get a Tax File Number
  • Fairwork for award pay rates, flexible working arrangements, leave, terminations and complaints
  • Myfuture has information on unpaid work, trials and skills demonstrations

International students on study visas have different work limitations. Please check the work conditions for your own visa before applying for work.

JCU's International Students website provides relevant visa information.

For more information on visa working conditions, visit the Department of Home Affairs