Whether at home or abroad, job searching is no walk in the park. So we’re sharing some tips for how to find a job during your working holiday.

1. Define your objectives

Why exactly do you want a job during your working holiday? Is it purely for financial reasons? Or to learn a foreign language? To gain new professional competencies? Or maybe to make friends at your workplace? Knowing the why will help you know which types of positions to apply for.

If you want to learn a new language or save money for a road trip, you could work on a farm with other travellers or as a cashier at a supermarket, for example. If you want to advance your career in a specific field, then your search may be more arduous.

2. Brush up on your language skills

If you don’t already speak the language of your destination fluently, then you may want to start learning the basics or brushing up on your knowledge.

Knowing even just the basics in the local language can inspire trust and confidence in prospective employers and open new doors.

In partnership with pvtistes.net, Babbel is offering 20% off their language courses. Also try looking for in-person language exchanges on platforms such as Facebook and Meetup.

3. Adapt your CV and cover letter

CV and cover letter formats can differ from country to country, so you may need to adapt yours to fit local requirements.

For example, in France, it is commonly expected of candidates to put their photo, date of birth, and nationality on their CV (Complete guide on how to find and start a job in France). In Canada, however, none of these should be included and it is not abnormal to have a two page resumé. In Korea, you can exceed even two pages. In Japan, you must follow a pre-established template and also include a professional headshot. In Mexico, cover letters are not necessary.

Besides the format, the expectations about the content sometimes differ too. For example in North America, employers like to see numbers that quantify the impact of your work in previous roles, and bullet points start with verbs in the past tense. In France however, bullets should stay at a higher level (without too many numbers) and start with the nominal form of a verb.

It is impossible for us to cover all norms for all countries here, so be sure to at least search online for examples of CVs and cover letters in your destination country. Even if your CV is in English and not the local language, you should still follow the local formatting and norms.

When applying for a position, do so in the language that the job description is written in.

4. Make sure you have everything for work authorization

In some destinations, a Working Holiday Visa is not enough to start a job. For example,

Get these administrative things in order promptly so that you are ready to say yes to opportunities that come your way.

5. Tailor your mode of search

For service jobs at restaurants, bars, hair salons, supermarkets, stores… it is more effective to go in person or call directly. Turnover is high, and they hire quickly. A lot of these openings can be found on indeed.com.

For managerial positions at the local offices of multinational companies, LinkedIn is a great resource. That is where a lot of networking and recruiting happens for positions with more stringent educational and professional backgrounds.

For jobs targeting expats, check out Facebook groups for your destination city or country. Just type some standard keywords in the search bar like “Australia jobs for expats” or “English jobs France” and you should see relevant results appear.

6. Prepare for your interviews

Questions in most countries are pretty standard. They want to know why you applied, what are your experiences and skills, what are your weaknesses, and what you know about their business.

If the interview is not in your native language, check if there is any professional vocabulary you need to know.

Consider starting your preparation before even getting your first interview invitation. This is because you may be called unexpectedly by an employer at any moment. He or she could very well invite you to an interview the next day or even start asking your questions on the phone. So it is wise to avoid being caught off guard.

7. Know your rights as a WHV holder

Compared to other visa types, the WHV is a relatively smaller visa category. This means that when applying for jobs, you might be the first working holiday maker that an employer meets. If they have no idea what a WHV is, they might be hesitant to consider your candidature. It is therefore your responsibility to know your rights, and then patiently and clearly explain them. WHV holders have open work authorization in their destination country; show official articles and documents if you have to.

If after an earnest attempt at explanation an employer still stubbornly refuses to listen, cut your losses and move on. There will be others who are more open.

8. Be flexible

No matter how much you plan ahead, life abroad is going to hold surprises. This goes for the job search as well. Be flexible, be open to opportunities that you may not have otherwise considered back home. A working holiday is the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself, redefine your career, and re-evaluate your priorities. Even the smallest of jobs can teach you something.

And if you really don’t like your job, you can always quit and find a new one! The WHV is an open work permit and is not tied to any single employer.


In February 2023 I moved from Vancouver to Paris. Adventures await.
En février 2023 j’ai déménagé de Vancouver à Paris. Des aventures m’attendent.

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