Tailoring Your Resume for a Job in Korea

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When you email recruiters and schools, the first thing they see will is your resume. This may be the only chance you have to make a good impression on a recruiter or school. Recruiters sift through a constant flow of resumes, and pick out only a few to call for follow-up interviews, so it’s crucial that you make your resume stand out in a good way.

First, let’s talk about content.

When you email recruiters and schools, the first thing they see will is your resume. This may be the only chance you have to make a good impression on a recruiter or school. Recruiters sift through a constant flow of resumes, and pick out only a few to call for follow-up interviews, so it’s crucial that you make your resume stand out in a good way.

First, let’s talk about content.

Teaching Experience

After your header and contact information, teaching experience should be the first thing on your resume. Include any experiences when you played a teaching role. Start with any direct teaching experiences within a classroom setting–this can also include TA or tutoring positions in college. If you don’t have any true teaching experience, don’t worry!  Many people get good jobs without ever having taught before.  But it can pay to get creative and describe any experiences that show you work well with children and young adults. Great examples include camp counseling, coaching, music lessons, and baby sitting. All these roles give you the opportunity display your leadership qualities and skills with young people.

Recruiters see teaching experience as an immediate bonus, and it will definitely help you to get an interview. However, be ready to explain your experience in detail during your phone interview because it will certainly be a major talking point.

Writing Experience

Next, it’s time to emphasize what a master you are of the English language. Discuss any times when you have taken on a writing or editing position. In my resume, I wrote a lot about writing for my college newspaper. If you wrote a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, be sure to include it that as well along with a detailed description of the content and the page length. You can also talk about jobs when you did a considerable amount of writing, such as a secretarial or administrative position. It may even be helpful to list any writing-intensive courses you have taken. Many private academies in Korea focus on English composition for high school and college entrance essays.  Make yourself a valuable commodity to these employers by showing that you have a strong background in writing.

Certifications and Awards

Koreans take schooling and studying very seriously (what other country could have a popular TV show called “God of Study”?) so academic awards are always smiled upon. On my resume, I listed that I was part of the National English Society, and the Dean’s List. Additionally, if you had an exceptionally high grade point average (anything above a 3.0), that would be good to include as well. If you have any teaching or language certifications, this needs to be included. Many teaching certifications (TESOL, TEFL, CELTA to name a few) will allow you to negotiate a higher salary.


Designing Your Resume

Besides content, there are a few obvious design elements that should be done for any resume:

  • Stick to one page unless you have several years of teaching experience.
  • Use bolding, underlining, and italicizing to emphasize elements of the resume.
  • Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Grammatical and spelling errors are a red flag for employers hiring English teachers.
  • Have several people proofread your resume.
  • Make it visually attractive. Use enough white space so the eye can move easily from one part of the resume to the next.
  • Use an easy-to-read font. I personally use a serif font for my main text and a sans serif font for my sub-heads.

Photo

Along with a resume, almost all job recruiters and schools will request a head shot.  Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around this slightly uncomfortable request. South Korea is a very image-conscious country, and they want to make that you “look” the part of the native English teacher. The head shot is just as important as a good resume, and may be a determining factor for a job offer. Use a head shot that does not have any other people in it.  Also, use a photo that shows you smiling.  Make sure, however, that there are no visible piercings or tattoos in the pictures.  When I began the application process, I was told by several recruiters that I needed another photo because of my nose ring.

With that, you have all right and working tools to get a good job teaching English in Korea.



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