Competition podcast: Win the best job in the world

The “best job in the world” or the “island reef job” is a position being offered by Tourism Queensland. The successful applicant will be flown to Australia and given the use of a three-bedroom house on the Whitsunday Islands. Over the next six months you will maintain a blog, work with photos, video and audio to share the offerings of the Great Barrier Reef with the world. For your trouble you’ll take home AUD$150,000 — about US$96,000.

I think you can see why it’s being touted as the best job in the world.

To listen, hit play below or find episode 90 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

Competition is tough though. As we publish this over 10,500 applications have been made by video upload to the official site. There’s still sixteen days to go before the cut-off date. In this podcast we speak to Nicole McNaughton, the PR manager for the project. She talks us through the position and we squeeze some advice for potential applicants out of her. To hear our interview with Nicole, click the play button above or download to iTunes for free.

Tips to help you get the best job in the world

Here are five tips we believe will help you in your application. As Nicole stresses in the interview, it’s essential you closely read the official site and consider everything there.

1. Establish presence as soon as possible.

If you haven’t already, get a Twitter account and get active. Get on Youtube and start making friends — you’ll need them when you launch your video. Start a website, throw some time or money at a design and start posting. This won’t help you get shortlisted, but could be critical during the interview phase.

2. Follow the instructions

Tourism Queensland are after creative people with charisma, but you need to follow the rules. Especially video length. If your video’s 61 seconds long, shave it to 59 seconds. With 10,500 applications and counting, we’d be discarding anything over time without looking at it.

3. Script

They know you’d love to live on Great Barrier. Who wouldn’t want to get $150,000 with a three bedroom house in the Whitsundays?! You’ve only got 60 seconds so you need a strong script.

What should your script do?

Who wouldn’t want to get $150,000 with a three bedroom house in the Whitsundays?!

4. Answer the questions

The application page asks you to do two things in your video:

  • Tell them why you’re the best person for the job, and
  • demonstrate your knowledge of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

If your video doesn’t answer those two questions, you’re wasting your time. And the time of the poor person who’s got to watch over ten thousand applications. Don’t make them (more) frustrated.

5. Catch their eye (and their heart)

You need to stand out from the crowd, shine through the dross. Will they turn off your video in the first ten seconds? That’s probably the difference between the first shortlist and the scrap-heap.

But catching people’s attention, doesn’t mean being a screaming idiot. This is a serious PR job–you need to be creative, endearing, and demonstrate how you can reach out and connect with people. Tourism Queensland is looking for someone who will connect with a world-wide audience and build a following around themselves: prove you can do it.


Hear from some applicants

During the podcast we speak to several applicants.

Khalil Bryan is originally from Barbados but is now living in New York. He tells us about the research he’s done into the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and how he’s looking forward to making amazing memories there.

Dawn Clare describes how several friends from around the world convinced her to apply for the position. It’s obvious she’s good at making international connections. She talks us through her typical day and life on an island.

Mike Walker (video) wants to take six months out of his university teaching schedule to experience life and work in Queensland. He tells us what he imagines a typical day might be like and outlines some of the activities he’d love to be doing.

Sheryl Kayne is a travel book writer, focussing on immersion travel. She believes being able to communicate the experiences one has is key to this position and shares the main points of her application with us.

We couldn’t get hold of Anny Chih on Skype, but we did manage to talk to her via email. When we spoke in late January she had already spent over 50 hours on her application. We think Anny has a very strong application with her tightly scripted video, focussed blog and growing Twitter following.

We want to wish our interviewees and you, our listeners, all the best with your application for the best job in the world. Good luck…and make sure you let us interview you when you’re all big and famous!

Photos of applicants supplied by themselves. “Best job” photos courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Update Dec 2012 – Links to videos have been removed, as the site has been taken down.

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33 Responses to “Competition podcast: Win the best job in the world”

  1. James Hill February 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    I imagine that the real talent is yet to come, as most of the genuine entries, those who have taken their time to create something great should be hitting the vetting process now.

  2. Hailey February 6, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    If you want to get in contact with Anny Chih try joining the ning group of applicants –

    • Craig and Linda February 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

      Thanks Hailey. Craig did “talk” with her via email, but failed to connect for an audio interview on Skype.

      Thanks for the heads up on the Ning group. We didn’t know about that…off to investigate now.

  3. James Hill February 6, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    I think get it in when you’ve got a solid entry, It’s the same with business, no real point in running stealth campaigns. I think Guy Kawasaki said (in relation to startups) that if you’ve got a great idea, ten other people have it as well and being stealth isn’t going to help you.

  4. Zellie February 6, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks so much for putting this together (:

  5. James Hill February 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    haha… Anny’s application remind me of one thing the “wacky waiving inflatable arm flailing tube man” that family guy did a couple years back… hilarious.

    I love it so much, can play it over and over and it always puts a smile on my face.

  6. Reymos February 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    Hello Craig and Linda,

    Well done for such an informative post on our quest for the best in the world. Maybe Im not the best applicant but I have something to offer to QT which beneficial not only for the marketing of this heritage site but having it sustainably. Im wondering if you also applied for the job. Thanks for the tips. I will feature your site to my blog. REYgards

  7. Anny Chih February 7, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    Thanks for putting this together Craig & Linda! I will of course be putting in a link on my website :)

  8. Craig and Linda February 6, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    We’ve been wondering if it would be better to apply early or leave it to the last few days. We couldn’t make a decision, so we’d love to know what people think.

  9. Kate Morphett February 7, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    Go Anny Chih – u will get into 50 for sure. I will vote for you!

    Anny’s Fan (Kate)

  10. Chris February 6, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    Interesting to see and hear peoples strategies! Anny’s application does stand out.

    P.s. stop going on about the weather – I’m in the UK and it’s freezing 😉

  11. Craig and Linda February 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Zellie, you’re welcome. I think it’s the biggest post-production job we’ve ever had with half a dozen interviews to clean up, storyboard and level. It’s a great opportunity though and we’re glad to help out a little.

    Sorry Chris! We put up with the UK “summer” in Hastings and were rained out of summer in the Baltics the year before. It’s just so nice to actually have real temperatures.

    Anything with minus signs or single digits are not real temperatures.

  12. Carrie and Jonathan Kraft February 7, 2009 at 3:58 am #

    Hey guys! Great article and audio.

    I learned that we can submit more than one application. I didn’t know that, and will be giving it some thought today.

    Thanks for the tips!

    With it being so easy to “demonstrate your knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef” simply by pulling up the Wikipedia article and a few web sites on the subject, how important do you think that will be in the process?


  13. Eva Queenslandfan February 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Nice article and well done podcast! I’m also one of the many applicants. I’m really curious how many people are going to apply for it. :)

    Are you also planning to do a follow-up podcast on the best job in the world?

  14. Craig and Linda February 7, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    Thanks for all the positive comments!

    Carrie and Jonathan, I think a large part of the idea of this campaign is to get people to do a bit of research, just to get them thinking about Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. So they’re winning even if you do just pull up Wikipedia.

    In terms of what you put in your entry though, it’s always good to have something unique, perhaps something that other people haven’t found – which is where just using Wikipedia isn’t going to work.

  15. Mike Walker February 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Thanks for including me. -Mike Walker
    Twitter: goatsworth

  16. Katie Haas February 8, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    Great podcast! Really informative.
    I just want to say goodluck to everyone and take Craig & Linda seriously, they know what they’re talking about!

    –Katie Haas

  17. Lifecruiser February 8, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    Great post with some really useful tips! Seems like it’s going to be very tough yes, lots of great applicants, for a job like this you really have to glow to be noticed.

    It’s a pity that there are soooo many – I can’t make myself watching any more videos. Phew.

    Good luck to them all :-)

  18. John Haydon February 7, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    Great post. Wish I didn’t have roots so I could just up and move to Hawaii!

  19. Debo Hobo February 8, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    I’ll take it when can I start?

  20. Eva Queenslandfan February 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Thanks for your reply, Craig and Linda. I bookmarked your blog already. Have a great time in Queensland in April. And keep up the good work! :)

  21. Craig and Linda February 8, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks again for your links and positive comments on the show.

    Yes, Eva, we’ll be following up. We’re going to be in Queensland in April and I”m sure we’ll have a chance to talk with someone at Tourism Queensland to see how things are going. Hopefully we’ll also interview the winner during their employment.

    Reymos, we decided not to apply…although we thought seriously about it. We’ve been travelling full-time for three years now (podcasting for two of them) and the second half of 2009 is our “home” time. We’re heading off again in 2010 so unfortunately the time just hasn’t worked out.

  22. VoteAudrey February 9, 2009 at 4:59 am #

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I’ve been putting a lot of time into my site, adding personal stuff and tons of Queensland things. My official application will be entered next week, because I do want it to be the best possible. There’s a lot of great people in the forum and on Twitter. I hope to continue to network with these travelers even after the application process.

  23. Art Predator February 9, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    Your post and podcast offers valuable information and interesting perspectives for applicants and innocent bystanders alike! Thanks!

    I’ve been reluctant to join Facebook and Twitter…guess that’s what I should add to today’s “To Do” list! After I join the ning where I’ve been lurking…

    Also curious what people think about DIY videos vs getting some pro help like Anny Chih; it’s a great video and my sense is you gotta get noticed first! Even though I could do my own video and production, I’ve asked a friend to help me. I just hope we get it done and uploaded before they hit 30,000 applicants!

  24. Nik February 11, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    Oh my oh my God! That’s most DEFINITELY The Best Job in the World. Thanks so much Craig for the great overview and interview. Oh whee~ I’ll be trying it out for sure. =D

  25. Mike Walker February 11, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    I’m waiting to be approved, but my video is complete. See it on YouTube:
    Mike Walker

  26. Craig and Linda February 11, 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    Glad to hear that people are going to be keeping up the virtual relationships being formed around the application process. I think that has been a really positive outcome of the way the gig works.

    Anny claims to have had no professional report — it’s a family affair with a very talented family!

    Great stuff, Mike. Good luck with your recording and post-production everyone. May there be no gremlins at inopportune moments.

  27. taims February 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    Very interesting post..Keep it up

  28. Craig and Linda February 18, 2009 at 7:30 am #

    With four days left, the official count was at 18,000 applicants yesterday! That’s some submissions pile. I guess there’s going to be a lot of people anxiously waiting to hear the top-50 shortlist.

    You can also read some thoughts on the marketing/social media strategy of Tourism Queensland here.

  29. Craig and Linda February 23, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Just got an email from the PR team:
    *Total applications received – 34,684 from over 200 countries.
    *We received over 7,500 on the weekend alone!
    *The highest number of applicants have come from the US with 11,565, followed by Canada with 2791, Great Britain with 2262 and Australia with 2064.


  30. victor February 25, 2009 at 6:44 am #

    Best job in the world staff:

    I dont know why you rejected my video.

    I read your news regarded this matter and I have to tell you that Im really disappointed since I have seen a lot of videos that show in his length 1.01.
    I dont see in this process what you see in your last news absolute fairness and parity for all applicants.

    If my videos length is 1.01 in your system I dont see why can not be uploaded.

    Absolutely disappointed with you,

    Victor Orrego


    p.s. Thank you for but for mine anyway!!

  31. vita February 28, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    Thousands of applications were rejected for only one reason: organizers didn’t want to pay for the bandwidth!

    World’s best job is ‘world’s worst contest’:

  32. Craig and Linda February 28, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for making this comment thread a lively and enjoyable place to come back to. I know emotions are high and there’s lots of disappointment, especially for those that didn’t have their applications processed. Everything doesn’t have to be positive, but this isn’t really the forum for personal complaints however. Please consider what you’re adding to the public discussion as you post.

    We’re not censoring people, but we will moderate to keep the conversation of use to all visitors.

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