Monday, July 9, 2012

Reader Question: too young for a Uni Job in Korea?

This question from 24 year old Sean:

"You mention that the 30-50 age bracket is the most suitable. As far as your own experience of living and working in Korea is concerned, would you say that this is pretty much standard policy for hiring or more of a rule of thumb? You see, I've applied for at least 15 teaching Uni positions in the last two months. Some of them have required as little as a BA and teaching experience while others have required much more. I have a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree, a TEFL certificate (maybe not so useful as I thought), and over two years of teaching experience (18 months of which have been in Korea) - yet I have not had one single reply (never mind an interview invitation). Having read your blog, and having spoken to a few Korean friends, I am starting to come to the conclusion that my age is making it nigh impossible for any of my applications to be even considered."

Hi Sean, the biggest question I have for you is why you only applied for 15 jobs.  In my own recent job search for another uni job in Korea, I applied for 17 jobs, and these were only the top uni jobs in Korea that were equal to or better than my current job conditions and in Busan or Seoul.   My thinking was that I'd just stay in my current (most excellent) position if nothing worked out.  I'm wondering if you did the same thing, which may have been your downfall.  Even with my 5 years of Korean uni experience at the same uni, plus Masters/Celta, I only got 5 interview offers.  So, as you can see it's quite competitive and someone like yourself with no Korean Uni experience might not even get a second look. If I was in your position, looking for my first uni job, I  would have applied to 40 or 50 jobs and taken anything I could have gotten.  Even "uni-gwans."  Then, you could have moved up to bigger and better in your second or third year, with a bit of uni experience on your resume.

As far as the age thing goes: yes, you are quite young.  Maybe in your picture you look even younger than you really are?  In Korea, age is everything.  And people even a year older than each other cannot be "friends" but are considered "elder sister" or "younger sister."  If you think about uni students, the boys would have left after their first or second year to do 2 years of military service.  So, if you teach them where they're seniors, they could actually be the same age as you, which can be quite dangerous in terms of them trying to intimidate you, not having respect for you, etc.

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