Korean employers don’t have the convenience of being able to conduct in-person interviews because most people apply for positions from their home country. Therefore, whether a school requests an interview with you depends on a few small variables: the recruiter’s input, your resume, your photo and sometimes a cover letter.
Your resume is the first thing a school will look at. Creating a quality resume that is relevant to the type of jobs you’re applying for – English teaching positions – is an easy way to leave a positive impression. A great resume will definitely generate more interest with employers but a lousy resume will do the complete opposite, leaving the employer with a negative perception.
Just remember, you’re going to Korea to teach English so schools don’t care if you have a degree in rocket science or working experience at a law firm. Schools are more interested in ‘social’ people who will be able to connect with students and keep their interest through a 40 minute class. Ultimately the employers want to know that you’re friendly, comfortable working with people and have a legitimate interest in teaching.
An easy way to spice up your resume
If you don’t have formal teaching experiences (which is totally fine, most of our applicants don’t) make sure to include any relevant experiences on your resume. Things like volunteer work, coaching, mentoring, counselling and even baby sitting are valid experiences that should be included when possible. The best way to display this information is to create a section near the top labelled ‘Work Related Experiences’. Another thing to consider is adding a customized summary at the very top of your resume, right below your name. Explain what you’re resume is trying to accomplish (i.e. find a teaching post in Korea) and why you’re a good fit for the role (i.e. I enjoy working with people, I’m interested in the teaching field, etc.). If you decide to add a summary then try to keep it short, 2-3 sentences at most.
Korean schools require photos from candidates who apply for their positions. It’s a simple document to prepare but it’s also important so make sure to provide the right type of photo. We don’t recommend using a passport photo for application purposes, they look too much like mug shots! General rule of thumb, think Linkedin quality photo, not Snapchat or Facebook or passport quality. Here’s some additional photo advice.
• Only you (no group photos)
• Smile (something that says ‘I’m friendly’)
• Good clarity (blurry photos aren’t advised)
• Light colored background (when possible)
Just to be clear, the photo you submit doesn’t have to be a professional photo from a photo developer. A good selfie from your iphone or android phone is perfectly fine. Just try to keep the recommendations listed above in mind 🙂
Although cover letters are not mandatory, they can (at times) help.
• Cover letters show hiring managers that you’re serious about teaching overseas.
• Cover letters are a great way to ‘introduce yourself’ to prospective employers.
• Cover letters are a great way to highlight your reasons for wanting to teach abroad.
And remember, your CL will likely be read by a Korean hiring manager or school director who’s native language will not be English, therefore, if you decide to make one keep it short, sweet and to the point (1-2 paragraphs is sufficient).
If you have a completely unrelated major and zero teaching experience then you’ll want to consider enrolling in a TEFL certification course (Teach English as a Foreign Language). Securing a job in Korea without one is definitely possible but your options will be limited in comparison to TEFL certified candidates. Why? Having TEFL is mandatory in order to qualify for public school positions (excluding education majors or people with a valid teaching license). TEFL isn’t a compulsory qualification for private school positions but these employers obviously prefer to hire candidates who have a fundamental understanding of Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
There are many good online courses that you can enroll in and complete in a relatively short time frame. To learn more about TEFL certificates and how they will impact your application please visit our TEFL page. If you’re interested in enrolling in a course then you can find a wide selection of courses on our TEFL partners site.
The job market is more competitive during certain times of year. To maximize your chances of landing the best job possible we recommend applying during one of the peak hiring periods when possible. Please visit our When to Apply page for lots of great information on this topic.