How to Apply for a Teaching Job in Cambodia and Get It

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Common-sense suggestions to achieve success in your job search

Cambodia has one of the youngest populations in the world. It is having difficulty finding sufficient teaching resources to meet demand.  Primary school classrooms are overflowing. English second language ESL schools are desperate for motivated foreign talent charged up to make a difference. There is no sign of this pressure easing.

Qualified teachers seeking posts in Cambodia enter a market that is keen to offer placements. There are opportunities for applicants with modest credentials. Those with degrees and real experience sometimes take offers on the spot.

The ones with the greatest likelihood of succeeding apply within the Cambodian mindset. This means respecting social norms, expectations, and even idiosyncrasies associated with an ancient culture that is still conservative. Here are a few guidelines to help you apply for a teaching job in Cambodia, and succeed.

Ø     Narrow Focus - Avoid applying for positions you do not qualify for. Search the internet with the right academic keywords and narrow down your results. Then send off carefully considered applications complete with comprehensive CV’s. Preparing applications is like writing examinations. Everything depends on your written word. This could be your one and only chance.


Ø     Photographs - You MUST provide a photograph. Cambodians relate strongly to facial expression. If they cannot see what you look like then they cannot have a virtual conversation. Full-face photographs must be less than three months old and show your head, neck and shoulders. You must dress formally as for business. A necktie for men is optional.


Ø     Cover Letters - First impressions are important because clerks screen applications. Mention the job you are applying for and briefly explain why you qualify. Research the school on the internet and describe how you can help it move forward. In Cambodia, it is customary to visit the school the day after your email, to follow up with the principal or head of human resources.


Ø     Contact Details - Provide your current mobile number, and make sure your phone is charged up and has sufficient airtime. A school head may call back within a few minutes of your email, or leave a message for you to call back when you get it. Teachers are supposed to be organized people. Do not let yourself down!


Ø      Dress Code – Cambodians judge people by the way they dress. Dressing correctly can take attention away from other aspects of your appearance. You may be between jobs or on a holiday, but the school principal is not. Dress conservatively with proper leather shoes. A knee-length skirt is appropriate for women. Men should wear slacks and long-sleeved shirts with collars.

This advice will help you get through the application phase and to the interview. We have recommended average standards. Some schools are more formal and some more relaxed. Others may even prescribe a teaching uniform. Most will welcome you when you qualify, and respect their culture.


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