103 Things to Do to Get a University Job in South Korea

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102 Ways to Get a Uni Job in Korea

University Jobs in South Korea: Want One?

How does 5 months of paid vacation sound to you? Pretty good, right? It’s kind of why everyone and their BFF wants a university job in South Korea. But this makes it not so easy to get this oh so sweet of jobs. However, Jackie is here to help you with 103 things you can do if you want to get that university job in South Korea. Take some action NOW. Go out there and get the job you want!

As they say in Korea, fighting!

103 Things to Do to Get a University Job in South Korea

1. Meet the Basic Requirements-You’ll need to get a visa to teach English from Korean immigration.

2. Get Obsessed-Those who put ridiculous amounts of time, energy and money into their job search often get rewarded.

3.Learn Everything You Can-The more information, the better! All about University Jobs Korea on YouTube.

4. Look Beautiful-In Korea, appearance is everything. Never forget this.

5. Look Professional-Ditch the backpack, flip-flops and instead do as the Koreans do. This means wearing your best business formal attire.

6. Hire a Professional Photographer-Don’t just throw up any old picture on your resume, but get one done by a professional. You should of course be wearing your best.

7. Ditch the Facial Hair-Clean shaven is the look you need to go for.

8. Ditch those Piercings-Conservative is what’s required in Korea.

9. Get a Master’s Degree-In anything is the basic requirement. How to get a university job in South Kora? Well, this is kind of step 1!

University jobs in Korea

10. Get a Master’s Degree in TESOL, English or Education-This will make you stand-out from the pack and is basically necessary to compete for the top jobs.

11. Don’t Give Up-Only have a BA but still want a uni job? Here’s some advice for you: Uni Jobs in Korea with only a BA. 

12. Get a CELTA-Universities want teachers who know how to teach. While not all recognize the value of this certificate, some do. Will the CELTA help you get a university job in South Korea?

If you want to go for a cheap and fast one just to beef up the resume and have something to talk about in interviews, consider: International TEFL and TESOL Training.

International TEFL and TESOL training


13. Be in Korea-Not many places are willing to hire from overseas via Skype interviews. In-person reigns supreme.

14. Get the Timing Right-The semesters start in September and March and hiring happens from 1-12 weeks before that.

15. Play Chicken Well-An astounding number of universities hire very last minute, so if you can hold out until a couple of weeks before the semester starts, you may slip in there even if you are not the most qualified candidate. Welcome to Korea, land of the last minute.

16. Have the Right Passport-Canada and USA reign supreme. Everything else is a distant second.

17. Look on ESL Cafe Korean Job Board-36% of teachers get their university job in Korea this way.

18. Use Profs Abroad-It’s a paid site, but it’ll save you a ton of time.

19. Go to Chronicle of Higher Education-A few people I know got jobs through this site.

20. Check Koreabridge-It’s how I got my university job in Busan and there are always a few local unis that place job ads on here.

21. Join Foreign Teachers in Korean Universities-Get all your questions answered and see the last minute job openings which often get posted.

22. Treat it Like a Full-Time Job-Looking for a university job is your new job. Get ready to be busy and be prepared to spend a ridiculous amount of time on it.

23. Don’t Waste your Time Learning Korean-It’s really not necessary. 

But, if you must, use Beeline! It’s not boring like most of the other stuff out there.

24. Get your Paperwork in Order-Organization is key to this whole endeavour so make sure you have all the required docs and that they’re scanned.

25. Make a Spreadsheet-Again, organization is key to getting a university job in Korea. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of which places you applied to and when as well as any follow-ups.

26. Ooze Professionalism-Don’t be that obnoxious guy out on the town because nobody will want to be your coworker and they might even go out of their way to give you a negative recommendation when they hear that you applied to their university.

27. Don’t Treat People Like Job Vending Machines-If you meet a university teacher, don’t go in for the kill too early. Treat them like a human being, you know?

28. Join KOTESOL-You’ll meet teachers from just about every single university in Korea this way.

29. Get Involved with KOTESOL-By involved, I mean actively. It’s by far the best form of networking you can do in Korea.

30. Do a KOTESOL presentation-Teacher training looks impressive on the resume to say the least.

31. Go Where University Teachers Can be Found-Board Game Clubs will likely be far better for this than Adventure Korea trips.

32. Be the Right Age-30 to 50 is prime time! Older or younger, it’s possible but it’s not easy.

33. Invest Some Money-Get nice photos done as well as have your documents printed on high-quality paper.

34. Tripel Chek your Resume and Cover Letter-Grammar/spelling mistakes = application tossed in trash. Yes, Koreans will notice.

35. Get some Friends to Check your Resume/Cover Letter-Even better!

36. Get University Teachers to Check Your Resume-The best possible plan.

37. Read Directions-Follow the job ad directions precisely. They want email? Email them. They want XYZ in the subject line? Write XYZ. They want it by mail? Mail them.

38. Prepare Reference Letters-In Korean is even better. If it’s in Korean, get a neutral middle party to translate the gist of it for you to make sure it’s actually positive.

39. Get Published-Even informally is fine. More formal stuff is even better. It looks great for the university if you can publish while you’re working there.

40. Get Proof of Employment from Previous Jobs-There is an official document in Korea that employers are required to give you by law. Make sure you get this because universities will probably ask for it.

41. NEVER Burn Bridges-Hate you hagwon and can’t wait to get out there? Can’t stand your co-teacher? Do all you can to leave on a positive note because any potential employer will likely phone them to get a reference. There are not actually that many teaching positions for foreign teachers in Korea and it seems like everyone knows everyone.

42. Make a Detailed Lesson Plan-Not all jobs will ask for one, but some do. If they don’t, you could bring it to your interview for some extra brownie points.

43. Gifts and Favours are Important-Never forget it.  University jobs in Korea often depend on them!

44. Engage in Professional Development-Whatever you want to do, do it but always be trying to get better at your craft. It can never hurt your chance at a position by actually being a good person, and it can certainly help it!

45. Prepare for a demo-lesson-And you better make it killer.

46. Put only Relevant Stuff on the Resume-Only education related things! 

47. Buy this Book: How to Get a University Job in South Korea

It’s equivalent in awesomeness to this post, but has like 10x more detail. It’s the best $2.99 you’re going to spend all year.

48. Make a Plan-And make it detailed. Finding a uni job in Korea is difficult and takes lots of work. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about taking any sort of uni job you can get when you’re just starting out. Even part-time can lead to a ton of hours in the future. As long as they give you a visa (or you’re married to a Korean), you’re gold.

49. Join this Facebook Group-University Jobseekers in Korea

50. Shorten up that Resume-One page is enough! Who wants to read more than that? Nobody, especially someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language.

51. Include Personal Information-Nationality, age, visa status in Korea. University jobs in South Korea demand it.

52. Avoid a too Complicated Resume-Remember that the person screening your resume likely doesn’t speak English as their first language. Make your education and experience with teaching adults crystal clear.

53. Use Internet Explorer-Yes, IE is pure evil and crashes like every 2 minutes but you’ll need to use it if you have to download a university application form.

54. Have a Solid Cover Letter. Follow these tips for a 3 paragraph power-letter. 

55. Learn How to Actually Teach-Real teachers can smell another real teacher from a mile away. Be one of them.

56. Talk to People-Drop the word to anyone and everyone that you’re on the prowl for a uni job in Korea.

57. Start Early-It can take months to network as well as get things like criminal record checks or sealed transcripts. Preparation is key is you’re serious about getting a university job in South Korea.

58. Consider this Job Search Method. Profs Abroad calls it their #1 tip! 

59. Gather a Housing Deposit-Many universities offer housing allowance instead of providing housing. You’ll often need a deposit of 5-10 million Won if you don’t want to live in the ghetto.

60. Do Mock Interviews-Get your English teaching friends to help you.

61. Get a Sex Change Operation-Korean universities like to hire the ladies more than the men. Sure it’s sexist but it’s also reality. As a bonus, you can get a nice trip to Thailand out of it. Joking, kind of. But, hey, if you’re serious about getting a university job in South Korea, you might want to consider it?

62. Use Correct Language-It’s important in Korea!

63. Consider immigrating to Canada-It’s just for the passport, eh? It’s kind of too cold to actually live there.

64. Understand Korean Culture- Korean culture tips from My Life! Teaching in a Korean University.

65. Update Your References-Make sure all their contact information is up-to-date as well as that they’re still “friendly.”

66. Avoid Negotiating Salary-You’ll get what you get and there’s usually no room for negotiation. This will just be a big turn-off for those on the hiring committee.

67. Avoid Negotiating Interview Times-The people interviewing you are likely far busier than you are. And it’s also a bad sign that you won’t be willing to bend over backwards to make your boss happy.

68. Call in “Sick” if Necessary-Your hagwon won’t give you time off to go to a university interview? No problem. Just use a sick day.

69. Check out this Website: University Job Korea.

70. Get Plastic Surgery-It really is the land of the beautiful. For all things rearranging face, head straight to Gangnam. Give up all rights that you think you have against discrimination against this kind of thing. In Korea, there is no such thing.

71. Speak Clearly-Your interviewers want to know that the students will be able to understand you easily. I explain it all, clearly, in this YouTube video.

72. Be on Time for the Interview-Go early if you are unsure about location. University campuses are notorious for being difficult to navigate, especially if you’re not stellar at Korean.

73. Don’t Ask too Many Questions-Show that you’re just chilled out and can go with the flow. Nobody wants to work with someone who is all needy and annoying.

74. Think About Why You Can’t Get the Job-Maybe it’s one of these reasons. Why You Can’t Get a University Job in Korea.

75. Bring 2 Copies of Documents to Interviews-You never know and they could definitely come in handy.

76. Like “How to Get a University Job in South Korea” on Facebook.

77. Get an Interview without Experience-It really is possible, perhaps. Read this article. How to Get a University Job with No Experience. However, university jobs in South Korea seem to be scarce these days, so the more experience, the better.

78. Join this Facebook Group-KOTESOL.

79. Be Humble-For your first university job in Korea, you’ll need to take what you can get. Don’t be picky.

80. Build a teaching portfolio-Online is easiest, but in a binder would work too.

81. Smile-Koreans love friendly teachers.

82. Be Outgoing-If you’re really shy, you probably won’t make a great teacher.

83. Lose Some Weight-The thinner the better!

84. Answer the personal questions-Yes, they’re considered rude in a Western country but in Korea, it’s totally normal.

85. Follow Instructions Carefully-I said it before, but I’ll say it again because it’s so important. Some video inspiration. Seriously. University jobs in South Korea all have different application requirements and you really need to pay careful attention to this.

86. Don’t Waste Your Time-In person visits might not get you the results you want. In-Person Visits: Only for the Desperate?

87. Bone Up on Teaching Methodology-Yes, some universities actually ask about this kind of thing in interviews. Consider a TEFL Training Course to help you with this.

88. Network Some More! Network your way to a university job in South Korea. 

89. Cold Call if Desperate-It’s time-consuming, but some people do find jobs this way. Make the rounds to the universities in your area. However, see #86 for why it’s not the best use of your time.

90. Make a Back-Up Plan-University jobs in Korea are difficult to come by these days. Make a plan in case things don’t work out.

91. Get Experience with Adults-Teaching adults at a hagwon, or even high-school kids is the best way to get experience that universities will consider relevant.

92. Go to the Countryside-Everyone wants the jobs in Seoul or Busan. Consider other options if you really want to get a university job in South Korea.

93. Take the Terrible Uni Job-The one with low pay or not much vacation. Get the experience and then work your way up in the world.

94. Consider the Contract Carefully-Not all university jobs are created equal. Here are 12 points to consider. 

95. Pay Attention to What you Do Online-Yes, universities do “Google” you to see what you’re up to. A terrible online reputation can certainly hurt you.

96. Marry a Korean-Get that coveted “F” visa and you’ll have plenty more options. Plus, you may get other extra benefits such as a nicer apartment, or more housing allowance.

97. Prepare Handouts for Demo Lessons and Interviews-Koreans like to see some tangible results from your “hard work.” Don’t be shy about spreading about your goodness.

98. Follow me on Twitter- @bolen_jackie

99. Follow this board on Pinterest- University Job Korea. You’ll find lots of useful stuff about getting a university job in South Korea.

100. Apply for all jobs, even if not really qualified-while it may be kind of annoying, you may slip in at the last minute if a school gets desperate.

101. Follow up on Applications-Give it two or three weeks and then send a quick email.

102. Follow up on Interviews-A quick email saying that you appreciate the opportunity, nice to meet you, etc. never hurt anyone.

103. Join my email list: it’s free! If you like this awesomeness, well the emails are ever better. It’s the most useful email you’ll get all week, guaranteed, or your money back.

Have your Say about a University Job Korea

Do you have any tips or tricks for someone who wants to get a job in Korea? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other job-seekers, like yourself find this useful resource.

Last update on 2019-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. Nathan Koh

    Does that also mean you need to be a native English speaker? From an English-speaking country like the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia? Are there any options for nonnative English speakers, provided that they have teaching experience and a TESOL degree (MA from an English-speaking country)?

    1. Nathan Koh

      Got it. Just saw your video on You Tube, thanks for posting it. Sorry for asking a question without checking out the video first. Too bad it won’t work for me… No passport from one of the mighty seven. I wish they assessed as in other ways (years of experience, publishing and teaching records, education level, etc.).

  2. Alexis

    Do you really get 5 months of don`t-have-to-come-into-work vacation (NOT deskwarming) AND enough money to live on?

    …because that sounds too good to be true. I’ve read a lot on the Internet about these magical jobs, but there *is* that old adage “If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.”

    I did read where you wrote that many places require you to do English camps or English clubs in part of the vacation time, but it still sounded like, even if that were the case, you still got 2 months or more of vacation per year. Plus, I actually really like doing English camps and clubs, and I’d do stuff like that on vacation happily, as long as I got actual vacation too.

    I don’t want to disbelieve this, but I want to confirm that it’s actual vacation and not deskwarming. Could you tell me a little more about what you do in your vacation time?

      1. Alexis


        I like teaching and there is a lot more to a job than vacation, but….I know I would be a lot happier if I didn’t have to deskwarm for almost 4 months and got more than 2 weeks REAL vacation.

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