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Older Teaching Candidates, Age Limits

Quote: older teachersJust to let you know my husband and I got jobs at a school in United Arab Emirates.

We followed your planning carefully and were consequently offered a job after every interview we had!

We have signed a 2-year contract and are delighted with the package deal. We are working for a New Zealand principal, too!

We have told lots of people about Joyjobs and how excellent your information, service and ongoing assistance was.

—Paula and Bryan Ashby
New Zealand

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Quote: older teachers I just wanted to let you know that thanks to your website and your insiders guide to landing a teaching job overseas I received two job offers.

I was so prepared that I got a job offer from the first school that interviewed me. I couldn't believe it! I also scored interviews with nine different schools.

My two offers were from schools in Vietnam, which I found quite funny since I never in a million years even considered Vietnam.

I clicked right away with the recruiters from United Nations International School in Hanoi Vietnam and I received the offer 8 AM the second morning of the fair! WOW!

Later that day I had two other schools call me back for 2nd interviews! So it was a success!

Thank you so much for guiding me through this whole process! What a wonderful resource and I will recommend it to others.”

—Karen W.

Quote: older teachersYou are amazingly helpful, and so quick to respond.

I absolutely love your company, and recommend it to everyone who is in this line of work.

—Rebecca K.

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Some recruitment strategies for older teachers

By Robert Jones, Joyjobs member (67 years old)

Robert Jones - AsiaI corresponded with you a few months ago about the problems I had been having with the international schools´ rejection of older teachers. I kept at it, and have now signed a contract with a school in Southeast Asia. Age wasn't even mentioned. What did I learn from this (sometimes painful) process? Older teachers need to approach the recruiting process a bit differently.

First, skip the early job fairs and early job announcements. Between the national laws of some countries and individual school hiring policies, applying early will be an exercise in frustration. (With the usual disclaimer to not pass up an individual situation that you may really want.) Schools will not be direct. They will always find some sort of excuse to not consider your application and dance around the real reason.

Second, if you want to go to a job fair, go to one close to where you are now during the peak of the hiring season. Otherwise you run a real risk of spending a great deal of money with little result. More than a few people I know came back from job fairs very disappointed and disgusted by the treatment they received from the schools. Use the Internet and Skype to do most of your job hunting.

Third, make some changes on your résumé. Don't go back more than 10 years when listing your experience. Employers aren't interested in what you did over 10 years ago, so there is no need to emphasize the fact you have been around a long time.

Another change you should make is remove your graduation dates from your resume. You have the degree and a prospective employer will find out the date soon enough, but this tactic gives you a chance to tell an employer what you can do without giving him/her a chance to say "no" right away. For example, one of my colleagues always begins his communication with an prospective employer by asking if his age is an issue. It's is not too surprising that most say "yes, it is" and the interview is over before it begins.

Finally, do not give up on your job search. I have come across quite a number of older teachers who simply got discouraged and quit looking.

quote The international school job market extremely tough and competitive for anyone over 50, and you have to be willing to keep going until someone gives up and hires you. This seems to happen in May or June when schools are more willing to set aside their biases to get positions filled.
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Also the schools that are hiring at this point in time are usually not the "sexy" schools that everyone wants in Europe or Asia. But if a teacher is truly interested in international teaching and not a paid vacation in Western Europe, teaching at these schools should be just as interesting. (Of course the individual school should be checked out for any serious problems present.)

So, it's off to Asia and the adventure continues (at age 67)!

―Robert Jones

A few suggestions from Joyjobs:

visa / age buttonIf you use AOL, switch to Gmail or Yahoo. (The current AOL is sleek and modern, but the brand is associated with the dawn of the internet.)

visa / age buttonMake sure you have your Skype account listed.

visa / age buttonEliminate phrases like "I have 35 years of experience".

visa / age buttonDo not mention "grown up children" in your summary. Say, "no dependents".

visa / age buttonEdit your CV to include only most recent employment history.

visa / age buttonMake sure your CV is formatted properly (Do use The CV/Resume Sampler! It's all pre-formatted for you.)

visa / age buttonRefuse the temptation to list every workshop you have ever taken. List only the most recent ones.

visa / age buttonDo not submit your old letters of reference with your application. You may post them as Testimonials on your recruitment webpage (no dates are needed.)

visa / age buttonHave a professional photo taken. We will Photoshop it to make you look good!

Finally, you have to understand that for most schools it is not the "age bias" but the visa restrictions that make them hire younger teachers. When the host country does not impose visa restrictions the schools will normally recruit candidates of all ages.

No visa age limits (as reported by schools):

Age restrictions:

55: Tanzania

55-60 (reports vary): Oman / Muscat

56-60 (reports vary): Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam

57: Colombia

58: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, China (reports on China vary)

55-59-60 (reports vary): Indonesia

55-65: UAE* (after 60 annual work visa is expensive)

60: Ghana, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Mongolia, Morocco, Philippines, Qatar,  Sri Lanka, Singapore (unofficial), Turkey, Thailand*

60-65: Nigeria*

62: Bahamas, Myanmar, Netherlands Antilles, Malaysia

63: Albania

65: Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, *Turkey, *Taiwan, *Cambodia, *Hong Kong

*Some schools report no age limits or other variations, e.g. loss of benefits after a certain age.



“I know from personal experience that Japan and Vietnam have mandatory retirement at age 65 and Peru's retirement age is 70. Thank you for sharing this information.” — Judith B.


The host country's retirement age for its citizens and the visa limits for foreign workers may not always be the same.

Sometimes there are discrepancies between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education. They can change their requirements at any time.

Schools may also have their unofficial preferences.

age limit

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