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by Eric Haeg, Course Director of TEFL Campus

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

October is a fantastic month for finding a job teaching English in Thailand. The start of the second term is just around the corner and schools across Phuket need to fill dozens of vacancies.
That may come as good news to job seekers, but the best teaching jobs in Phuket aren’t easy to find. Employers don’t always advertise vacancies and prospective teachers need to put forth old-fashioned effort to find a well-paying job at a decent school.

If prospective teachers want to find employment a timely manner, they’ll want to follow these five tips from TEFL Campus.

Don’t be lazy – Or at least not before you get the job.

As easy as it can be to find a job teaching English in Phuket, a simply introductory post in a local Facebook group isn’t going to cut it. Sounds like common sense, right? Of course it is. Yet, one look through Facebook’s groups for teaching English in Thailand and you’ll see just how uncommon common sense really is.

Sure, this approach occasionally gets seemingly positive replies from employers. However, if an employer offers a job after only seeing a post on Facebook or within a few hours of receiving a CV, odds are that they’re not exactly the type of employer anyone wants to work for. Most good employers don’t reply to unprofessional applicants.

Visit schools in-person – There are a dozen good reasons for this; here are two.

First, this will separate you from the competition. A CV attached to an email will never have the impact of face-to-face communication. Employers want to see if you’re confident; they want to see if you have a teacher’s demeanor. At the most basic level, they want to ensure you’re not just another sweaty bag of flesh stinking of desperation to stay in Thailand through any means necessary. Assuming you can demonstrate you have what they’re looking for in a quick face-to-face chat, you’re already one step closer to an interview.

Second, employers want to interview candidates whom they know are available for onsite interviews and demo lessons. A visit to the school confirms availability may also suggest you’re more committed to Phuket than those applying from further afield.

Follow up – Good stalkers don’t give up and neither should you.

Remember that ‘Don’t be lazy’ advice from above? That means persistently following up with each application you submit. Call every day until you get an interview or are told the school isn’t interested. If your contact person says they’ll call you back and doesn’t, call them back again. Administrators are busy people and sometimes need a polite reminder. Do one better and stop by the school again if you can.

Utilise local Facebook groups – You’re on it all the time anyway so make use of it!

Used in the right way, Facebook groups are rather useful and now act as the new classifieds for job seekers. The two best local groups are Phuket Teachers and Friends, and Phuket English Teachers Forum. And unlike the nationwide groups related to TEFL in Thailand, Phuket’s groups are relatively free of trolls and most members offer good advice.

That being said, one piece of bad advice often seen is to check Ajarn.com for TEFL job vacancies in Phuket. This might work for other provinces, but most job ads there come from Phuket’s largest school and only a few others. There are far more job ads in the groups mentioned above.

Know your supporting documents – Thai employers love supporting documents.

In addition to a professionally produced, grammatically correct CV, schools will typically ask for copies of your bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, picture page of your passport and a criminal background check. University transcripts are rarely needed but you’ll also need a photo. This should be a passport style picture of you looking like you’re ready for an interview.

Get hard copies of these documents printed up and have them ready to hand over when visiting schools. If contacting schools by email, send the files as attachments but be sure the file size is as small as possible. Some email filters will automatically send large files to junk mail.

PHOTOS: TEFL Campus Phuket
AUTHOR: Eric Haeg is the Course Director of TEFL Campus and welcomes all questions about their TEFL training course in Phuket at: [email protected].

- The Thaiger & The Nation