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5 questions about getting a job at a Korean university
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TECO



Joined: 20 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beaver.

You should consider youself extremely fortunate.
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buddy bradley



Joined: 24 Aug 2003
Location: The Beyond

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
BA, American University, Communications


Wait a second. You can land a uni gig here with a BA?
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Gord



Joined: 25 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mashimaro wrote:
So my Computing Degree could help me land a Uni job?
I don't have teaching quals. just a year in a hagwon teaching all ages.


Unlike hagwon jobs where there are very few applicants, most university jobs have dozens and possibly hundreds of people applying because everyone wants in on the low workload.

Experience really helps. I applied for one university just to see how my resume would stack up, and I was told to come in for an interview and that the job was basically mine due to my government experience. But since that meant I would have had to quit the government job and move away from my super apartment, I declined the job.

If you just have a generic resume, presentation really helps. Politeness on the phone, etc. From what I learned in talking to the people at this one university was that many of the candidates tended to think of themselves as being superior because they were white and spoke English, or at the very least came across like that instead of being sincere. "What can your university do for me?" instead of trying to ask what the university wanted in a teacher. Don't do anything that suggests you aren't a team player as there are 100 people behind you trying to get the same job.
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hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many MA's from a Japanese University do you see teaching English in Korea. I'd say very very few if any at all. A school in my opinion would not hire someone with a Japanese MA to teach English when the market is full of Western University MA's. Why? It's a selling point. Schools want to "sell" the teachers education to the parents and to the university students. By selling I mean, marketing. They figure a western MA will attract more students vs a Japanese MA when it comes to teaching English.
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TECO wrote:
Beaver.

You should consider youself extremely fortunate.


I do.

buddy bradley wrote:
Wait a second. You can land a uni gig here with a BA?


Damn right.

Gord wrote:
Unlike hagwon jobs where there are very few applicants, most university jobs have dozens and possibly hundreds of people applying because everyone wants in on the low workload.

Experience really helps. I applied for one university just to see how my resume would stack up, and I was told to come in for an interview and that the job was basically mine due to my government experience. But since that meant I would have had to quit the government job and move away from my super apartment, I declined the job.

If you just have a generic resume, presentation really helps. Politeness on the phone, etc. From what I learned in talking to the people at this one university was that many of the candidates tended to think of themselves as being superior because they were white and spoke English, or at the very least came across like that instead of being sincere. "What can your university do for me?" instead of trying to ask what the university wanted in a teacher. Don't do anything that suggests you aren't a team player as there are 100 people behind you trying to get the same job.


That's a good addendum.
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TECO



Joined: 20 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Japanese M.A. ?

Posts I've read in The Chronicle all as for M.A. degrees from "Western" Universities.

American schools are the preference here among Chinese/Koreans - Not Japanese.
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buddy bradley



Joined: 24 Aug 2003
Location: The Beyond

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's strange that a BA is basically (note: basically) all that is needed to work at a university.

I still feel that I'm too young (read: immature) to do that yet. I can, however, see myself doing it when I'm thirty. Maybe in China, where British-sounding accents aren't as discriminated against like in Korea.

Besides, the way I feel about Korea now, China is looking brighter and brighter (sorry, bad day). Chinese is a good language and I want to improve my Chinese. Hopefully when I get over some of the bitterness that I feel about Korea I'll want to do the same with my Korean.

Anyway, good luck finding a uni gig. Seems like you'll need it.
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Alex Buffa



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 7:51 pm    Post subject: Re: 5 questions about getting a job at a Korean university Reply with quote

dminn wrote:
I have applied to over 30 openings at Korean universities that I have seen on this site. However, I have not received a favorable response yet. On paper, I think I meet the required qualifications.

- Native English speaker from the US
- MA in Linguistics from a Japanese university
- BA in International Studies from a American university
- 4 years teaching experience part-time in Japan
- Fluent in Japanese; beginner in Korean

I have lived in Tokyo for the past four years. In my opinion, that shows that I can successfully live overseas and adapt to a different culture (I don't know how the universities view it). Here are some questions I have for fellow forum members:

1. Is my experience in Japan a positive or a negative in my job search?
2. Is the fact that my MA is from a Japanese university a negative?
3. Is being married a factor?
4. Is being Korean-American/non-white a factor?
5. Without connections or introductions from friends, is my job search near impossible?

I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

-dminn



Let's try to put some things into perspective.

Being native speaker is what is required

Your M.A. is from a Japanese University which is not from an English speaking country, some may not consider this a suitable M.A. (in their opinions and pass you over for a native M.A.)

Your B.A. is fine, but that's all you have that is from native education.

Teaching experience is fine..but if you have been teaching children in Japan for 4 years, you have ZERO experience to contribute to a university setting. Teaching adults does help a great deal, and a uni language center would be more useful. Being p/t does not help.

to your questions...

1. Is my experience in Japan a positive or a negative in my job search?

No, but since many Koreans hold a prejudice against Japan it may be with some employers. I suspect your Japanese M.A. is your biggest drawback.

2. Is the fact that my MA is from a Japanese university a negative?

See question 1.

3. Is being married a factor?

I'm married, but my personal circumstances do not impose on my university. The uni does nto provide me housing since I already own my own apartment here. If you require the university to provide extra large housing for you and your wife, their "budget" may not permit it and they may settle for a single teacher. It depends on how much more work they have to do to accomodate you, and many employers don't want the extra hassle.

4. Is being Korean-American/non-white a factor?

Officially: no
Unofficially: yes

Many do get positions, but there is an underlying prejudice. You are not representative of the stereotypical westener and adding insult to injury your M.A. is Japanese.

5. Without connections or introductions from friends, is my job search near impossible?

I don't believe that things are imposssible, then again you may find yourself taking alot longer to find a suitable employer. There are some GREAT employers in this country and it takes time to find those who are more understanding of your personal circumstances.

My suspicion is that your personal circumstances are not very suitable for finding a position easily in Korea, and also take into account that you can be replaced with a more "suitable" instructor when convenience comes around.

Something to think about.

Alex
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rudyflyer



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Location: pacing the cage

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think hell is freezing over I'm agreeing with Gord. Thats excellent advice about how to stand out for a univ interview. I had an interview with a univ and came across as a humble person with the creditials to add to the univ community. There were a ton of people interviewing who came across as Gord mentioned according to Mrs Flyer who interviewd later with the univ.

turned out we both got offers and are heading there in march
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JennyJJ



Joined: 01 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dminn,

I will be the voice of dissent here, just a little of the devils advocate. I am on my second university gig here, ten years apart. The first was in 1993. Following is just my opinion, and not meant to p*ss anyone off . . .

Personally, I do not think that trucking around a big portfolio of past work, homework, etc., really helps at all. This seems to be the new in thing to do, but I am not sure it really helps. Oh, coincidentally, those people did get the job, but the relationship is probably not causal, nor even contributory. Do have a sharp, preferably color resume with you, and all the required documents, just in case.

Your qualifications are fine. Nonwhite is a bit of an issue, but there are so many little issues that come up, do not worry about it. Mine is that I look old and tired. I am a bit old, but I am NOT tired!
So, what the heh? We all have a few handicaps of one sort or another.

In my opinion, you need only to alter your strategy.

The number one problem you are facing is that you are responding to ads on Daves ESL. Schools are swamped with resumes when they advertise here, a couple hundred resumes would not be a big surprise. It is almost impossible to get your head above the crowd.

Apply only to schools that have not advertised. Visit them. Get the job before it gets to the advertising stage. Schools do not look forward to the process and most professors hate it. Search way in advance. My current school offered me a March 1 job in October! They knew they were going to have an opening and wanted to get it taken care of. I used a connection, but you see the point about catching a position before it actually comes open.

You may feel like it is not feasible to visit schools personally, but really that is the only way if you do not have connections. Korea is a very person to person oriented place. They are a bit afraid of foreigners and they can easily see that you are not and will not be a problem if they can sit and talk with you a while. Do not worry about not having an appointment, this is not a cold call, okay it is, but you will never be treated that way. You will be surprised how cordial the visit can be. I am a very shy person, at least when it comes to meeting strangers, but you will find people here very helpful if you come with a good attitude.

Do the school visit exactly the same way you would do an informational interview back home. Professors always have friends at other schools, do not apply just there, ask for their advice on where to go, how to go about it, who might have an opening. If you approach it this way, they do not have to be uncomfortable and worry about how to say no and they might connect you with another school.

You probably already know the gaku from Sun Tzu:
All strategy is based on deception. Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
Koreans love this approach.

If you can, as others have mentioned, try to go more than once, send a thank you note.

Also, consider schools out in the countryside rather than Seoul. There is less competition. Everyone wants to be Seoul for some reason. You can always change schools later.

Try using a recruiter for the initial contact, let them be your connection. Then negotiate on your own.

Be creative and think about how to do an end run around the competition.

Enough for now. I suspect that I have stepped on more than a bit of the consensus thinking, but that is exactly what you need to do to get out of the crowd and land the job you want.
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Mashimaro



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: location, location

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post Jenny. Thanks a lot. Some people with good jobs in Korea (University, Chaebol, whatever) seem a little reluctant to give advice about how others can get into it.. Looking out for number 1 guess, it's understandable.. anyway I digress, thanks for the common sense advice. Smile
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desultude



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Dangling my toes in the Persian Gulf

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the_beaver
Yeah. . . let's see. University hiring season is about over, but it comes on large two times a year and a little smaller another two times a year, so if you intend to come to Seoul to try it in person, time it right.


I know about the hiring for March, and for September, but waht are the other two times a year?
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

desultude wrote:
I know about the hiring for March, and for September, but waht are the other two times a year?


Mini hiring seasons for the beginning of vacation programs are around November/December and April/May. There are usually a couple of last minute hires just before semesters start as well, because some people decide not to teach, or to leave, at the last minute.
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JennyJJ



Joined: 01 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dminn,

I forgot to mention that using the strategy I suggested for you, I landed both of my positions with only one short interview for each. No one else was interviewed. A little personal type work will go a long way in Korea.
Take the first uni job you can find. Then change after a couple years for something that you have made the contacts for.
Good luck!
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JennyJJ, in response to your opinions above:

Yes, a lot of people get jobs without being completely as well prepared as I outlined above (most people, in fact). BUT, believe me when I say that I would not be in the position I am without that prep. My school has two campuses, and I was slated for the other one (outside of Seoul), but my portfolio the Seoul position, which I wasn't even being considered for.

A friend of mine, with a similar portfolio (he took the idea from me and ran with it) didn't even have to do the second interview on the strength of his portfolio.

It has to do with the idea you mentioned of being creative: trust me, few people have a portfolio like mine.

I agree with you that getting experience at any university is a good idea. I worked at a great university (with a horrendous hours to pay rate) to get the experience.
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