Some recruitment strategies for older teachers
I 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.
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.
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)!
A few suggestions from Joyjobs:
If 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.)
Make sure you have your Skype account listed.
Eliminate phrases like "I have 35 years of experience".
Do not mention "grown up children" in your summary. Say, "no dependents".
Edit your CV to include only most recent employment history.
Make sure your CV is formatted properly (Do use The CV/Resume Sampler! It's all pre-formatted for you.)
Refuse the temptation to list every workshop you have ever taken. List only the most recent ones.
Do not submit your old letters of reference with your application. You may post them as Testimonials on your recruitment webpage (no dates are needed.)
Have 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):
Croatia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Korea (South), Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Russian Federation, Georgia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Brazil, Malta, Japan, Peru, Kenya, Colombia, Romania, Chile, Latvia, Uganda, Jordan, Lebanon, Switzerland, Bolivia, Italy, Poland, South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, Honduras, Czech Republic, Austria, Portugal, Israel, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Taiwan, Congo, Mozambique, Togo, Senegal, Ecuador, Guinea, Azerbaijan, Uruguay and probably many other countries.
Visa age restrictions:
58: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, China
60: India, Iraq, Kuwait, Mongolia, Morocco, Thailand, Qatar, Singapore
62: Bahamas, Myanmar, Netherlands Antilles, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines
65: Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Turkey
Teachers' reports differ. Age limits also fluctuate depending on the job seniority and other circumstances. Some schools have been able to negotiate wavers, etc.
“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.