Advertisements

Job Hunting

Since I always try to keep my eyes open for new opportunities, I don’t feel like it’s been ages since I’ve looked for a job, but this fall it sure feels like I’ve entered a new era.

When looking for jobs teaching English I rely on my network and two websites, tesol.org and chroniclevitae.com. These two sites have the better jobs. Dave’s ESL Café tends to have poor search filters and worse yet any fly-by-night English school can and does place ads there. I found the dreadful job at KNUE in Miho, South Korea on Dave’s.

This time around I’m branching out. I’m looking for jobs on library websites, which has been straightforward and I’m also using new services like Ziprecruiter.com. So far Ziprecruiter has been the best of the new internet services. Once you set up an account, you get suggested jobs that align with your skills, interests, education and experience. It’s quite tailored and several jobs have “One-Click” applications. Once you’ve applied, you receive emails about when the employer looks at your application and if they look two or three times. Each time the email tells you something like “only 17% of resumes are looked at three times,” which is encouraging.

I’m also testing out Handshake, which University of Illinois offers. Those jobs are relevant to my degree in Library Science. Handshake offers posts on other professions too.

Some other sites like Localwise.com clog your email with lots of unrelated jobs. For example I’ve gotten jobs connected to engineering or physics, areas I have no expertise in at all. Even worse, they sell your email address to anyone so I’ve gotten emails about “opportunities” to sell life insurance. So you have to be leery unless you want to spend your days unsubscribing to spam.

Advertisements

FYI

I did recover that darn interview video off the the university. I’m not too hopeful though.

Returning

After a lot of back and forth with the University of Macau,I’ve decided to return to Jinan where I’m happy and know what I’m getting into. In teaching overseas there’s a lot of unknowns. Like many teachers, I’ve been burned by broken promises and false claims.

The trouble I ran into with this job arose over housing. As I’ve said, that was my first question when I was offered the job. I was told, very clearly told, that all overseas hires would get housing.

Then six weeks or so later, we learn that we have to apply for housing. There are 350 apartments and 1200 eligible employees. A point system would be used. Distinguished Professors get 75 points. Associate Professors, 60 and Assistant Professors 40 and Senior Lecturers and secretaries 20. Huh? Secretaries are valuable and I’ve done that work, but it does not require higher education and it’s not a source of a college’s reputation. Teaching is.

How insulting!

housing points

I’d get 30 points. Hardly in the running.

The contract, which was in Portuguese, stated that it superseded all communication between the employer and employee. Thus a director’s email promising housing had no weight. I wanted to practice negotiating, but my requests for changes in the contract were denied. I wasn’t just asking for special treatment for myself, but for all in the department.

In my interview I’d specifically asked about how the administration treated and supported the department. I got a bland “I think they value us pretty well” sort of answer, but the housing policy showed that wasn’t the case.

The problem with interviews is that you don’t really know what you’re getting into. No one honestly answers the tough questions.

I have reached a time in my life where I’ve learned to stand up for myself and insist on a certain kind of communication and organization from a prospective employer. As enticing as a salary might be, I realize it’s better to mind the red flags rather than move forward with a potentially iffy, hence stressful job.

I am looking forward to returning to Jinan in the fall so all’s well. I think in EFL and other fields there’s a temptation to disregard red flags. That’s usually a mistake. Job hunter, don’t sell yourself short. Hold out for a job worthy of your competency and dedication.

Another Job Hunt

I got a job offer in March. A job with good pay, working on a new campus for a respected university. I immediately inquired about housing and benefits and was informed that housing is arranged. The sample  contract I saw listed good benefits including health care. Since I enjoyed the people I met, I accepted the job.

I also made the mistake of not continuing to job hunt. In fact, I wrote to two contacts to withdraw my application for jobs that seemed quite good. Also, I informed my current employer than in the fall, that I’d be teaching elsewhere. My current job has been given to someone else so my only chance to remain here would be if someone had to back out.

Well, now things don’t look so certain.

I got an email from someone at the new university and she mentioned temporary housing. I inquired about the adjective and learned that new hires got 60 days of temporary housing. I was told I could get my own housing. While that’s possible, it’s not what I wanted ever. I prefer the convenience and will sacrifice space for the proximity to the campus. Also, there’s the issue of the university not coming through with what they said earlier. That’s a red flag for me. I’ve had a couple horrendous jobs and I’ve learned from them. Better safe than sorry.

Moreover, the new campus isn’t ready so we won’t teach there till second semester. If I got my own housing it would either be on the island with the current campus or on Hengqin Island where the new one is being built. The fact that we’re talking about different islands does make a commute sound like a hassle.

So I’m waiting for further information from Human Resources. I’ve been waiting since Wednesday.

I don’t like that the question that I asked in plain language and got an answer to is now void.  I don’t want to move three times in five months. While I do have a good impression of the department director, I recall that at EBUS/Xiangjiang High School, I liked the program manager/director. Sometimes they really don’t have much power to solve problems. I can’t find any information about the school on the internet. Reading a detailed blog could provide some insights.

As it now stands, I’m trying to be patient and hopeful. The problems aren’t insurmountable and how they’re handled will tell me a lot about the school.

Finding a Good EFL Job

There are so many dodgy EFL jobs out there and good programs like JET or Fulbright’s English Teaching Assistant can’t possibly hire everyone so how do you separate the good from the bad from the ugly?

  1. Try to get personal references, i.e. only work where someone you know has – recently that is. I did ask Korean friends about KNUE and by reputation — an outdated reputation evidently, they said it was a good school. Since then these friends have profusely apologized.
  2. Check out the school on Wikipedia and on blogs. I interviewed with a school in China a few years back and had a strange feeling about it. For some reason, the interviewer asked me whether I was bothered by Christians. On Wikipedia, I found a daily debate raging over whether the school was a bastion of missionaries.
  3. If the person who’s interviewing you sounds flaky or say doesn’t know simple things about the program like what book is used – end the interview. You don’t need to take the first job you hear about. There are plenty of opportunities in this business.
  4. Ask to see photos of the housing if it’s provided. If they won’t give you any, don’t bother the housing must be horrid. Also bear in mind that the photos they show you could be of a model that bears no resemblance to where you’ll live.
  5. Nowadays there are plenty of jobs that pay airfare and visa costs so don’t take a job that doesn’t cover that. You should not have to pay to get a job in this field.
  6. Any other ideas? Comments welcome.

Disclaimer

Dear Fellows, The State Department has requested that any Fellows who maintain their own blog or website please post the following disclaimer on your site: "This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are the English Language Fellows' own and do not represent the English Language Fellow Program or the U.S. Department of State." We appreciate your cooperation. Site Meter
%d bloggers like this: