From the land down under that brought you the "Best Job in the World" — island caretaker! — comes a contest for, not one, but SIX dream jobs: chief funster, outback adventurer, park ranger, wildlife caretaker, taste master, and lifestyle photographer.
Each of the six jobs takes place in a different state or territory of Australia and involves a six-month contract with a salary package of A$100,000 (US$97,200) including all accommodations, food and expenses.
Tourism Australia received a whopping 620,000 applications from 196 countries. Naturally, chief funster (which involves reviewing festivals and events) was the most popular job, with 20.2 percent of the applicants going for that one, followed by wildlife caretaker with 19.9 percent and park ranger with 17.5 percent. The others got about 13 to 14 percent of the applications.
So, how do you qualify for one of these "best" jobs?
In the case of chief funster, they're looking for someone who is the "life of the party" to, essentially be a professional partier for six months and then write reviews and Tweet about it. When it comes to wildlife caretaker, you have to do more than feed the dog — you have to be ready to wake up the kangaroos and swim with the dolphins and sea lions. And, for the taste master job, you have to be ready to "eat your way around the state" in western Australia, being equally comfortable in a bar as foraging for your own food —don't forget your fishing pole! (Read all of the job descriptions.)
Regardless of the job, you have to be good at storytelling — blogging, Tweeting and making videos about your experience. They've narrowed it down to 18 finalists, all of whom submitted a 30-second video as part of their application.
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In her video application for chief funster, Holly Easterbrook from the UK rapped about her mad party skillz and then jumped out of a plane. In his bid for wildlife caretaker, Nick Tilley of the US bragged about bathing elephants in Nepal and then offered to take his pet turtle Yoda out for ice cream. (Watch video applications from the 18 finalists here.)
Generating buzz was also part of the task. The finalists were selected based on their ability to generate publicity and support for their application over the course of two weeks, including finding influential figures to endorse them for their chosen job. Among the celebrities they recruited were a US talk show host, an Olympic gold medal winner, an Academy Award winning actress, a German supermodel, and a world champion boxer.
The finalists will be put through a one-week test in June — call it the Olympics of tourism. Events include: Reviewing Perth's best restaurants, attending VIP parties and festivals in Sydney and feeding the kangaroos on Kangaroo Island.
(Now those are Olympic events I'd be willing to "train" for!)
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The winner from that first "Best Job" contest in 2009, Ben Southall, went on to be a professional tourism ambassador and runs his own production company.
His advice for the finalists? Be yourself. Get out! Demonstrate your love of the outdoors. And don't forget to talk about what's great about Australia.
That's good advice for any job seeker: Don't just talk about yourself and why YOU want the job. Demonstrate a knowledge of the company (in this case, the entire continent of Australia), what you like about it and what you bring to the table.
These "Best Job" contests have been a huge boon for Australian tourism. STA Travel, one of the campaign's partners, reported travel bookings from the US doubled during the contest from a year earlier, bookings from Germany jumped 42 percent and bookings from the UK increased 17 percent.
Tourism Australia plans to take it further, promoting "working holidays" in addition to regular vacations for anyone who missed out on one of the "Six Best Jobs."
The "Australian Working Holiday" Facebook page already has over 437,000 "likes" and over 8,700 people are "talking about it."
Winners of the six "Best Jobs" will be announced on June 21.