www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica

TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 10/22/2022

Some common job search mistakes

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

The Costa Rica job market is very strong. It cannot be compared to Korea, China or some European countries, but in Latin America it is definitely in the top level. However, having a strong job market does not mean schools will be knocking on your door, begging for you to join their school. Grads need to be proactive and take their job search seriously, or they risk placing themselves in an unfortunate situation. Here are some common things that grads do which you need to avoid.

No sense of urgency
Only you know your deadline for finding a job. This can depend on your financial situation, desire to travel /study or your lifestyle. However many grads make serious miscalculations when deciding their deadline for finding a job. Grads take their  time looking for a job and 2 months later find themselves in serious financial trouble. Here is why: 

Finding a job takes time.
You might find a job in a few days or a week, but it might take a few weeks. Calculating when you start looking for a job, based on the optimistic assumption that you will find a job easy no problem, is a recipe for disaster. 

You might not start right away
Very rarely will the director say “you’re hired and you start tomorrow.” Unless it is an emergency, schools will allow plenty of time to find the right teacher and for training. This means even after you find the job, it might be two or three weeks till your first day.  

You might start out at part time
Schools don’t often fill up a teacher’s schedule right off the bat. They need time to make sure it is a good fit before they commit. This means teachers might be working 10ish hours per week before they get up to the 20-25 full time hours.


The relaxed, prolonged Job Search
This can be as dangerous as the late job search start day. You need to treat your job search like it is your first job in Costa Rica. That means a good 8 hours per day. Going out for a few hours per day, seeing one or two schools is going to get you in trouble. Costa Rica is a great teacher market, but that does NOT mean that jobs are just falling off the trees. Wake up early and work hard at finding that job that you traveled thousands of kilometers to get. Like I mentioned above, you will probably have some time off after you get hired before you actually start teaching. Use that time to relax, AFTER you get your job.


The Pijama Job Search
I’m not saying that nobody has ever gotten a job from simply sending out emails from the comfort of their living room. I will say that your chances are much much better if you get out of your PJs, get on a bus or two and actually go to the schools you want to apply at. The reasons are simple, you make a great impression, you have a better chance of getting an interview, and you stand out from all the other applicants. Directors don’t answer every job application email that they get, pure and simple. There are too many of them. However, rarely will they turn down or ignore someone who makes the effort and shows up at the school. It is just common sense. 


Off The Momentum Cliff
You start off great. Tonnes of energy and spirits are sky high. However after a few non call backs, some great leads that fell through plus a scattering of out and out rejections, your confidence is on the floor and you are having a hard time getting out of bed, let alone looking for a job. There are close to a hundred schools that our grads can work at. Unfortunately it is very common for them to apply at 10 or 20 and then lose confidence. Some if these grads even give up and go home telling everyone there were no jobs in Costa Rica. You must stay focused. Looking for a job is not fun, in any country at any age. You just have to keep going until you exhaust the list of 100 schools, and then you start again from the top because they might have something the second time you call. 


Looking for the home run
The best way to get full time hours is to get part time hours. Get your foot in the door, do a good job, and your school will give you more hours. That’s how it works. Also it’s not a bad idea to be working for 2 or even 3 different schools, picking up 8 or 10 hours at each. This prevents you from having to depend 100% on one school to give you all your hours, and also allows you to decide where you want to be picking up your hours from. 

The bad news is that a job is not 100% guaranteed in Costa Rica. The good news is that we have an incredibly high success rate at our school. The jobs are out there, Costa Rica is an excellent ESL market. You just need to do what needs to be done in order to get those jobs. Stay focused, look hard, avoid the pitfalls above, and you will soon be a proud member of the teaching profession.

During our 4-week, onsite TESOL course, we will give you even more tips on interviewing for ESL jobs!  Sign up today!

How our TESOL Trainees find Jobs in Costa Rica

ESL Interview Tips

How to Build Your ESL Resume

More Interview Do's & Don'ts

Don't forget to share this post!