Torontonian chases ‘best job in the world’

She’s chasing the best job in the world.

Alice Wu, a Toronto journalism graduate, heard about the job from her sister near the end of a three-month stay in Hong Kong. She created a video application, submitted it and returned to Toronto on Feb. 24.

The application features some “think-outside-the box” questions to add humour to her entry: “Is there a species out there that can rival the batfish for impersonating Mick Jagger?” she asks of the pouty-lipped sea creature.

“I tried to make my video livelier, because a couple of the ones I watched online kind of lost me,” Wu said. “I figured the best idea was to put some comedy in there.”

To date 34,000 people have applied for the so-called “Best Job in the World”: Island caretaker for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The job calls for applicants to perform the duties of island caretaker for six months. In return the successful applicant receives $125,000 to explore the islands, blog about his/her experiences and essentially promote what this beautiful destination has to offer.

The application process involved submitting a 60-second online video showcasing talent and creativity. The deadline was Feb. 22.  The top 50 short-listed finalists are to be announced on March 2.

Shana Pereira, Tourism Queensland’s regional director of the Americas, said that of the overwhelming number of video applications they received, the 50 short-listed choices will mostly come down to personality and presence.

“We are really looking for someone who is adventurous, charismatic, a little bit technically savvy and who’s able to promote and sell the islands of the Great Barrier Reef to a global audience,” Pereira said. “So it has to be someone that people like to watch, who is very engaging.”

Wu, who spent last summer working for CBC Radio in Halifax, ultimately strives for a career in foreign correspondence. So for her, this six-month contract on the Great Barrier Reef would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It would also make an impressive addition to her resume in a competitive industry that’s been hit hard by the economic crisis.

“In school they always tell you, ‘It’s hard to get a job, so start out small and work your way up.’ But even small is hard to get into these days,” Wu said.

Tourism Queensland received so many entries that they planned to cap the applications at 30,000, A surge in interest over the last days before deadline, however, convinced them to keep it open.

Once the 50 finalists are announced on March 2, the public can vote for a favourite video online. The most popular video will then represent the “wild card” choice, guaranteeing the applicant a spot with the 10 finalists in the interviews, which takes place from May 3-7 on the islands themselves.

Link here to view Alice Wu’s video.

Filed by Laura Godfrey