Teaching overseas is an exciting opportunity, and one that is being increasingly sought after by educators, especially graduating students or those who have been in the industry for many years. Unfortunately, many people find the process of overseas job hunting confusing and complex. Job seekers can relieve this feeling if they do some research prior to beginning the job search process.
Searching for an international teaching job is much like searching for a local position. It involves planning and effort; after all, “looking for a job is a job.” Job hunting can cause tension and anxiety, so it helps to think of the search as a challenge and a great learning experience. Before undertaking your job search, be sure to read and research to find opportunities. Talk to international recruitment or placement firms to learn of teaching job possibilities and obstacles you may face during your search.
There are unique considerations in conducting an international job search. The market is extremely competitive. While some job seekers will land jobs with ease, many will need to be persistent and thorough to get what they desire. In order to be successful, you must be determined to not give up.
Here are some important points to consider and research before you begin your search:
• Foreign language skills: Depending on what country and type of school you are applying to work in, you may be required to speak the native language to teach overseas. Knowledge of the language required could range from possessing basic skills to being fluent. This is a definite necessary qualification to check into prior to applying for a position.
• Networking application procedures: Before beginning the application process, it is wise to research into what will be required from you. Some application procedures can be lengthy and involved, so it is best to look into what is needed in terms of documents, records, and qualifications beforehand.
• Overseas experience: Some hiring organizations prefer to enlist professionals who have already worked overseas. That being said, there are plenty of opportunities for new teachers or those new to teaching overseas. To avoid culture shock and feelings of homesickness, make sure to fully research the areas you are interested in teaching. Read both the positive and negative to ensure you will be comfortable adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle. Within a country, focus in on specific areas that interest you, this will help to narrow down your job search and ensure you will like the area you decide upon.
• Differences in resumes and correspondence: Before sending your resume and other documents, it is good to research the proper format for your job search documents prefer in the country to which you are applying in. Requirements for resumes definitely differ from country to country, as does overall style and formatting. In order to get your documents noticed by the hiring committee, take the time to find out what they’re looking for.
• Interviewing: The interviewing process can be quite different than a local hiring process. Many times interviews are conducted over the phone, via the web, or if you are applying through a large education company, you can also have regular face-to-face interviews with traveling agents connected to the school. These types of interviews will normally be conducted in a hotel and may require you to travel to a nearby city.
• Women gaining respect in their fields: Some countries, especially in the Middle East, are not as liberal with equal rights as we are in North America and Europe. It can prove to be much more difficult to find work in these types of countries as a woman, and also difficult to find respect, as schools and classes are filled with mostly men.
Finding employment is not the only way to expand your overseas experience, and is not the only way to build your skills. Studying and traveling can be great ways to follow your interests overseas, while gaining credentials future schools will value. Check industry or trade journals, which list available employment opportunities. Ensure that your teaching resume and cover letter is up to date and positions you in the best light to secure an international teaching job.
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