Maybe you’ve been searching for a long time for a university job in South Korea, but are finding it difficult to get interviews, much less job offers. There are some common possible reasons for this, but the best advice I can give you is to check out the book, How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams to make sure you are noy making any obvious mistakes.
Top 10 Reasons why you can’t get a University Job in South Korea
1. Education It’s really hard to get a university job in South Korea without a Masters degree these days. A few years ago, you could slip by with a BA degree, but times are changing and requirements are far higher these days.
2. Experience It’s not easy to get a university job with only a year or two of teaching experience, even if you have a Masters degree. Places may also be reluctant to hire you if you have never taught adults.
3. Age If you are either younger (less than 30) or older (more than 50) than the ideal, it can be really tough for you to even get interviews, no matter how well-qualified you are.
4. Gender and Country of Origin North America females are generally preferred and if you don’t fit into either of those categories, you might be overlooked in favor of someone who is both of those things.
5. Appearance As I mention in the book numerous times, appearance truly is everything in Korea. If you are anything but well-dressed and groomed and reasonably attractive, it can be quite difficult for you to get a job. You have to put a picture on the resume and hope that the university likes what they see. Obvious physical defects and not being white are often huge strikes against you. Or, maybe you don’t present that well at an interview due to things like B.O., facial hair, weight or ill-fitting clothes.
6. Lack of Knowledge about Teaching If you make it to the interview stage, but keep failing it may be because it is obvious that you have no idea about teaching. Almost all interviewers will ask at least one question about teaching methodology to sort out the amateurs from the professionals in the classroom. Consider this carefully and buff up on your English language teaching knowledge if necessary by taking a class such as the Celta.
7. Lack of Networking If you are not getting interviews, it is perhaps because you don’t know someone on the inside. Many of the top jobs are never advertised publicly and are instead filled through word of mouth, through friends of current foreign teachers. If you are reclusive or not a cool person and just don’t know that many people in Korea, you will have a hard time finding a university job.
8. Lack of Professional Development See #6. This can really set apart the “real” teachers from the “amateurs.”
9. Non-Professional Application Package If you are not getting interviews, consider your package carefully. I offer a wealth of advice in How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams on this topic.
10. Not Applying to Enough Jobs In the book, I talk about what to do if you are not a top candidate and have a few strikes against you such as your country of origin, lack of experience or age. I suggest applying to ANY and ALL university jobs in South Korea. Treat it like your full-time job and get obsessed with it. You need to apply for at least 50+ jobs in order to get a few interviews and eventually jobs offers. Maybe you are a less than ideal candidate but you are being too picky and only applying to the very top jobs that even someone well-qualified would have a hard time competing for.
A couple years out in the countryside working at a job with a high number of teaching hours, less than full vacation, or low pay will help you tremendously in competing for the best jobs in the future.