After teaching English at various schools in Thailand for several years, I considered moving away from Bangkok and trying my hand at teaching in South Korea. One of the top markets in the world for EFL teachers, salaries are high in Korea, accommodation is usually provided and the perks are plentiful. That’s why it’s such a popular destination for thousands of teachers every year.
During my job search, I checked with friends already teaching in Seoul and Busan to find out which are the best times of year to apply for a teaching job in South Korea, or would any month be feasible? According to them, and to my subsequent experience as well, any month is a good month for finding a good teaching job, but if you apply in some months your choices of jobs to accept will be even higher.
If you are considering teaching English in South Korea, and want the best opportunities to come your way, here are the months you will want to apply.
July is the best month – For anyone looking for a first job in South Korea, July is the month you should start mailing applications or, if you plan on going to Korea to job hunt, it’s the month you should be setting yourself up there. That’s because Korean schools do most of their hiring in August as semester begins in September, so you want to be scouring job boards for vacancies or already in Korea and calling schools about interviews.
Don’t be shy about calling a school either, as that can often get you a foot in the door ahead of other candidates who simply mailed their resume.
November until April – The second best time of the year to apply for a teaching job in Korea is from the beginning of November until the end of April. That’s because it’s the period where far fewer teachers are looking for work, meaning the competition is a fraction of what it is in July. It’s also when schools realize they need teachers they didn’t plan for, or when problem teachers have been let go but a new teacher needs to be found to fill the vacancy.
During my first time of looking for a job in Korea, I started my job hunt at the beginning of February. Within only a week, I had two job offers and another one the week after. As it happens, I chose to remain in Thailand as a good opportunity came up there, but if I had wanted to move to Korea quickly, in my experience at least the jobs were definitely out there and easy to find.
The rest of the year – Like much of the rest of Asia, South Korea is a wonderful country to look for an English teaching job at almost any time of the year. With the possible exception of December, as the New Year will soon arrive and Koreans take holidays, you should easily be able to find a teaching position you’d love to accept whether you apply in the peak July month, or in November, February or May.
Just remember, prepare an informative resume, dress well for the interview even if it’s just via Skype, and let the interviewer know you are excited about the chance to teach English to students in Korea. With thousands of vacancies coming up each year, it shouldn’t be long before you’re signing a contract and on your way.