ESL South Korea


Applying For Jobs in Korea

Applying for Jobs in Korea can be a long and complicated process if you don’t know what you’re doing.  So find out everything about application for employment in Korea, and help speed things along.

Job Application in Korea

Applying for Jobs in Korea can be a long and arduous process, especially if you’re unprepared for all the red tape that inevitably accompanies getting all the necessary documents and shipping them halfway across the world to be scrutinized by serious immigration officials.

My first experience with the Korean application process turned out to be a headache inducing pain which cost me a lot of extra money in courier fees due to wrong instructions and me sending the wrong stuff.  Well, please benefit from my experience, read on, and avoid making the same mistakes 🙂

The process itself is pretty much the same for any school or university type job you apply for and it doesn’t make too much of a difference whether you’re in your home country or have been living in Korea for a year or two, everyone is treated with the same amount of modest distrust.  Not that Korean immigration is distrustful, in my experience, not at all.  They’re just very secure and the few cases of foreign idiots who got caught with drugs or some other unsavory substance, have made them even more particular.

If you’re using a recruiter then you should know that these guys get paid (either by the school or you or both), to handle some of the red tape for you, but it’s still worth reading through the application process to know what you should expect.  Most of this will still be applicable to you.

Here’s a step by step outline of the normal application process you’ll go through when applying for a teaching job in Korea, either at a hagwon, or through EPIK:

1 – Find a job.   In any other line of work this can be a daunting task filled with uncertainty, but in Korea, it’s a breeze.  The demand for English teachers in South Korea greatly exceed the supply and you’re bound to find many open positions at just about any time of the year.  These can be found on the Internet, through a recruiter or if you want to teach at a public school, through EPIK.

2 – Fill in an application form.  Some hagwon franchises might require you to fill in an application form and submit it via email.  EPIK applicants have to fill in the standard EPIK application form of about 20 pages which include things like a self-medical assessment, lots of personal questions and a personal essay.  The application form will usually be provided for you when you inquire about the position through Email or on a website.

3 – Have an interview.  In the old days, Hagwon owners were desperate enough to employ people without even speaking to them, but those days are long gone.  If your application has been received and accepted, the school (or your recruiter) will usually schedule a time for a telephonic interview.  The interviews are often done through Skype video-chat as well.  Hagwon owners will often call you personally, or someone from their franchise who speaks English well.  My first hagwon interview lasted a total of 2 minutes and the questions had almost nothing to do with teaching English.  My second interview (with EPIK, more strict) lasted over an hour and covered everything from personal traits to my view on marijuana.  So it really differs, best to be prepared.

4 – Send your required documents to Korea.  If your new boss likes your English accent and you get accepted you’ll have to send a whole bunch of notarized, apostilled and stapled documents about you and your life to your future employer in Korea.  He/She will then take this unbelievable heap of impossible administration to the offices of Korean immigration (in Korea).

5 – Have some green tea to prepare your taste buds for what’s coming 🙂  It takes about a week for immigration to go through everything and once they’re sure you’re not a serial killer, you will be issued a Visa number.

6 – Receive your Visa number.  Your employer will now email you your Korean E2 Visa number which usually looks something like USB009000435 (That was my first visa number, don’t use it now!)

7 – Apply for your E-2 Visa at your closest Korean embassy.  One last hoop to jump through:  You’ll now take this visa number and a bunch of other documents along with your passport to your local Korean immigration office (in your country of course).  I can’t tell you what exactly they’ll require of you since every country and every office has its own requirements.  Usually involves an application form, some photos and sometimes a quick interview.

8 – Buy your plane ticket.  Once your visa is safe and stamped into your passport you can proceed to purchase one economic class return or single ticket to Incheon (The Airport next to Seoul).  Remember that your employer is paying for this, makes buying the ticket much easier 🙂

9 – And away we go.  And that’s it!Don’t be dismayed if it looks gruelling.  If you take it step by step and call in the aid of either a recruiter, or your future employer, the whole process can be completed without too much headache.