Marketing Yourself

Getting that Fantastic English Teaching Job in Bangkok

How to Land the Job you Want in Bangkok

You might as well find out right now that Thailand and Bangkok, are more conservative than you might have imagined.

What about the big bar and party scene you ask? Well, yes, THAT is here, but it is a business and you aren’t being hired to drink and party.

Teachers are awarded high status in Thai culture and the term reserved for higher level teachers – Ajarn – is also used for physicians and monks. So, it is a bit the equivalent of being called “doctor” or “reverend” at work and this is the type of person your potential employer is looking for. Someone their students can respect.

Yeah, they want the “doctor” or the “reverend” teacher for less money than a doctor would earn, but know that you will likely be making a multiple of what Thai teachers earn, sometimes as much as four times what they earn. Thus there is some expectation that you will present yourself and dress and groom yourself professionally.

This means that you will, ideally, dress professionally for your interview.

For males that means a long-sleeve shirt with a tie (yes, even though you might be able wear a short-sleeve dress shirt with no tie once hired – Thank God!), freshly pressed slacks and well polished shoes. Women also should dress conservatively.

Any tattoos should be covered, piercings and other accoutrements of modern fashion should be left at home.

Are there people who are hired in spite of showing their “tats” and metal sticking through their eyebrows? Yes. But why not stack the deck in your favor when interviewing?

It is also important to know that bathing and cleanliness are highly valued in the culture. Thais can be quite sensitive about smell. Notice the huge deodorant sections in most stores in Thailand.

Bathe well before an interview and slather on the deo. The weather can be quite hot and sweaty in the city and you may well show up covered with sweat. You’ll look, smell and feel a lot better for the interview if you were squeaky clean when you left.

Some of the city’s larger employers hire over 100 native speaking English teachers. Don’t wait for them to advertise, head on over and drop off a resume, smile a lot and who knows, they may well have an unexpected vacancy next week.

Be aware that it is common in Asia for applicants to include their photograph with their resume. You may also be asked questions in an interview that would be considered illegal in many Western countries.

There is a HUGE culture difference between the East and West – get used to it and enjoy it. You may well be asked if you are married – maybe even why not, if not!

Be ready to provide an on-the-spot short demonstration lesson. You won’t often be asked to do that, but I know someone who was and lost the job by having to wing it at the last moment. Be prepared – just in case.

Don’t forget to get yourself a professional email address. The author of this page once reviewed a teacher’s resume that used an email address quite similar to:

Right . . . they didn’t get the job.