Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How do you get a uni job in Korea?

A common question I get from those working at the hagwons/public schools in Korea when they hear of my 5 months vacation and 15 hour work-week is how I got this job. And this is what I tell them:

1. The most important thing is networking. While you can find jobs through places like ESL Cafe, many of the best jobs are not publicly advertised. And for the more entry-level uni jobs here with lower pay or poorer working conditions, they often get filled at the last minute through a friend of a friend of a friend. The semesters start in September and March, so from 1-4 months before is the time to be looking/applying. KOTESOL is a good place to start for networking. Some places even do on-site interviews at the conferences. I got my job through emailing all the people that I knew who had uni jobs and asking where I could send my resume.

2. Qualifications. A Masters in anything is standard. In TESL or English or Education is even better. Those with a BA and a couple years experience can slip through the cracks and often pick up the bottom-tier jobs and the last minute ones.

3. Your application. It has to look professional! Do a search on the internet for what is required.

4. The interview. You have to look professional! Wear a suit and tie. Come with extra resumes/passport copies/transcripts, etc. Have a demo lesson prepared even if they say it's not necessary. Phone interviews are extremely rare. Be prepared to be in country. A good way to do it is to work a summer or winter camp to get your feet on the ground with of bit of money and then go crazy applying for the last minute jobs that come up.

5. Unless you're really lucky, you probably won't get the all-star job right off. Be prepared for a year or two of substandard conditions and then you can move your way up in the world of ESL in Korea.

6. Research! Check out the Korean forums on ESL Cafe. This topic had been discussed in endless detail.

Good luck :)

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