Over a few drinks with the gang last night, it was decided that I should write a post about how to get a job in Korea. So the following are the best hints to secure a stress free journey.
1. Prepare yourself; Sounds a little obvious but it’s surprising how many people are totally under prepared. First, coming to Korea doesn’t come over night. If you are serious about coming to Korea then start getting the visa documents ready NOW! These include an updated c.v. and a nationwide police check among others.
Revise your c.v. to angle more towards any volunteering/teaching experience to give yourself a head start. You should look like you want the job, not just that you want a year-long vacation! Use easy English since you don’t know who will actually read it. There’s no guarantee it’ll be the native English teacher.
Apply for a nationwide criminal check A.S.A.P. Being from Ireland, it’s easy but Americans need an F.B.I. check that can take about 6 weeks to get so applying now is the way to go so as to avoid stress later on.
2. Put time in to getting a good picture; I’ve known schools to choose the teacher based on their picture alone. The first school I worked at,I used to interview and choose the new teacher. Once,a guy, who did an excellent interview almost didn’t get the job because he looked “too scary” in his picture (that’s what my director thought anyway). My advice is to go to the trouble of making yourself look great, going in and getting a proper passport picture taken and send that instead of an old one. It doesn’t always happen that schools here pick based on pictures, some of them actually go to the effort of reading c.v.’s but it will definitely help your case if your picture shows you at your best.
3. Prepare for the interview; All of us take this one for granted because we’ve done interviews in the past. However, coming to Korea is different, it will most likely be a telephone interview with either the native teacher, a Korean teacher or in some cases the director of the school. Some schools have the Korean teacher do it and you should remember that English is not their first language. Speak slowly, clearly and try to add a bit of enthusiasm to your voice. If they come away feeling you really want the job, then your more likely to get it than if you sound like you don’t care. Also make sure the place you take the call is quiet. It’ll be hard enough communicating without the added pressure of noisy surroundings.
4. Don’t just take the first job you get; This is a rookie mistake. Sometimes people are so anxious to get here that they simply don’t ask the necessary questions. When you finish the interview, ask questions, why is this teacher leaving? what hours would you work? any weekends involved? what is the apartment like? how far is the apartment from the school? are there any other foreign teachers at the school? if so, ask to speak to one of them or get an email address and ask them for an honest response. The last thing you need is to go to a terrible school because it will ruin your whole year.
5. Have a good attitude; Korea is different. It’s a big step for anyone to drop their whole life and just come here for a year. For my first 2 weeks here, I had to be escorted everywhere by my neighbour and co teacher because everything and everyone looked the same. Now, I consider this place home so don’t let the small things bother you. Go with the flow, have a good attitude, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Life in Korea is really great and a great thing to put of your c.v. in the future.
If anyone wants to know anything else just drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org.