Agencies – or hunting international school jobs

Whether travel or teaching, I’ve never really had much luck with agencies.  I have registered with a few over the years – from teaching in the UK to Manpower in NZ (when we were so hungry we were growing food from scraps).  I’ve found them all like this to begin with:

Friendly Teacher Recruiter
Friendly Teacher Recruiter

But more “this” after about week 3:

Leanne will get back to you...
Leanne will get back to you…

Last time I was looking jobs in Asia I started with Teach Anywhere.  I had previously been in touch with them re: teaching in the UK and should’ve known better.  They’re very keen to sign you up, but once they realised my CV was less than ordinary they became very hard to contact.  They also seem to be incapable of understanding that my interest in librarian jobs meant *gasp* I was looking for a librarian job!  I kept getting interviews (literally principals phoning me) without notice, or for jobs I had told my Teach Anywhere recruiter I was not interested in.  Not surprisingly the recruiter became less friendly.

I found that although their website doesn’t publish names of schools, it is relatively easy to figure them out.  I also made a list of major cities and started googling: “CITY + teacher librarian + jobs”.  Using these masterful techniques I found a librarian job on a school’s website and contacted the principal.  He happened to be on holiday about an hour away, met me for coffee and offered me the job.  Interestingly he had paid to register the job with Teach Anywhere and been told they had nobody available (!)

That said, I am considering a proper agency this time.  Back in 2009 I had no library experience and was working part-time in a rubbish tip.  I had nothing to lose.  I also had no idea how much I loved being a librarian.  I think it’s reasonable to expect a school who can afford to pay to recruit staff should be able to pay to look after them.  Not always the case, but if you’re going to use a free agency you may just get what you pay for.

A friend from Darwin recommended Search Associates and managed to get jobs through them in top schools in Indonesia, China and Cambodia.  She also has a lot more solid teaching history than I do, so may have done just as well without the agency.  And she still had issues with jobs, so it’s not a guarantee there won’t be a crazy staff…

Other agencies I’ve heard recommended include TIC Recruitment and ISS.  It cost my mate about $250 to register with Search Associates, which gave her access to job listings, a dedicated recruiter, an online profile and admission to job fairs.

Still undecided so I’m off to google…:)

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