What are the dos and don'ts of finding a job in Thailand?

Hello everyone,

Where is the best place to start when looking for a job in Thailand? Is it better to job-hunt by directly contacting the company of your interest, or should job-seekers rely on a recruitment agency, for example?

Are there any unique aspects that job-seekers should consider when preparing their CV/résumé and cover letter? Should a photo be included?

Do you have any tips on interview conduct in Thailand? Are there any particulars, such as greetings or behavioural customs?

In you opinion, is knowledge of the local language or a regional language necessary to successfully apply for a job? What level of the language should job-seekers have mastered?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


The best advise I can give for those considering looking for a job in Thailand is, don’t.  Unless you are an entrepreneur or have a very unique skill set that Thais desperately want, you are going to have a very difficult time.  If you have not started and run successful businesses before then there is no reason to assume you could do it here where you don't have the home court advantage.

The limited quota for better expat positions in international firms are filled from the head office and they often shift their people between offices in the region every few years.  All positions below that level are fill by locals.

There has alway been a grey market of sorts where you are not offered a work permit or a visa but the government has been cracking down on that kind of illegal work with spot inspections and tightening visa controls on people doing boarder runs.  Proceed at your own risk.

The people who are successful finding employment locally usually speak Thai and have the patience to spend six months or a year developing social contacts.  It is a lot of work for an employer to hire a foreigner so most companies forgo the headache.  There is always teaching English but unlike the old days when you only needed to be a native speaker, these days you need specific credentials.  Some find work with NGOs but I have no experience with that.

My job experience is a couple decades out of date but back then all the jobs I got were offered to me by someone I met socially and I had some face recognition from being on several Thai TV shows.

I am sure someone else will say their experience is different and I am sure they are right.  I just though I would start this off as no one had bothered to post.

I would unfortunately have to agree with villagefarang, don't come to Thailand looking for a job. I have seen too many posts of people looking for work in Thailand without them realizing that Thailand is generally speaking not interested in hiring foreigners. Thailand could definitely use some up scaled  job skills. However Thailand is very protective of it's labor market, even if it limits it's own growth. So be it.

I have seen many posts about looking for work in Thailand. Most often I have refrained from responding to such posts. Looking for a job in Thailand as if you are looking for a job in the next town is not the same thing. As a non Thai person getting a work permit in Thailand is a very difficult task, unless you have an appropriate sponsor for the work permit.

I am sorry to say but do not come to Thailand thinking that you can just walk into a job. Aside from the legal complications there are many social complications associated with such a concept.

In the mean time - Enjoy

Village Farang and Bill kip are right. Thailand today is different from 20 years ago. Immigration laws were relax even for overstayed foreigners and teaching jobs are plentiful.

Then comes an American pedophile who was a teacher here and was wanted on an arrest warrant in USA. Alarm bells ring and new laws out to control foreign teachers and through screenings.

As Thailand welcomes all nationalities thus there are criminals in their home country comes here to hide. Thus all new laws are out to get rid of these people and jobs for foreigners are less.

1 of Thailand main incomes are foreign tourists thus hotels are getting more and more. There are jobs in the hospitality fields and good ones are paid very well. But they are employed before they got here on contract basis. There are few hospitality companies here who employ foreigners but you must meet their requirements. Usually on management or qualified chef. You need the experience too otherwise no job.

Westerners forget there are other nationalities too and ASEAN countries which Thailand is 1 of the member. Many Filipinos are looking for jobs too and they can have lower salary than a westerner. There are Chinese from China who does teaching jobs on Chinese language which westerners can't do.

Many Chinese from China are here doing business and if you go to Chinatown Yaowarat, almost 85% products are from China and Chinese have their own shop.

Sorry to say, westerners need to be very well qualified to get jobs here or in Asia. No more bed of roses or western style of working with 1 month summer holidays. Shops don't open on weekends etc

Now, in western countries, they employ Asians to manage the company just like Google, Microsoft and Pepsi Co employed Indians as CEO. The list could go longer if you dig into the corporate world.

Actually, there's lots of business opportunities in Asia especially 3rd world countries because they are not advance yet.

I'm in Thailand because opportunities are there but if I go back to my country, it's limited.

Many people don't look outside the box but remain as a frog in the well looking at the walls and sky as that is the whole world.

Interesting and unfortunately. typically ill-informed responses.
I've been working in Thailand for 20+ years and I came here with no relevant experience,  no degree and according to every idiot I spoke to, no hope.
Thailand is no different to any other country in the world in that if you have experience in a position relevant for Thailand, then people here will talk to you as there are very few skilled people available. In fact, every person I met looking for work here, managed to find a job in fields such as transport, recruitment, school admin (sales), the motor industry, logistics, freight forwarding, hotels....the list goes on.
Teaching is the obvious choice for many but certainly not the only one. I work with expats from all fields, every day so I probably have a unique perspective here.

I too have known many people who have found work here but I view them as exceptions.  We don’t often encounter the individuals who came here without a clue and without a chance only to leave soon after.  One of the key elements of your post is very important “have experience in a position relevant for Thailand” without that there is no hope.  They will not hire you for your potential or your promise that you are a quick study.

I also acknowledge that things have no doubt changed over the last 20 years so will gladly acknowledge your more up to date and relevant information.  I assume your work exposes you to a disproportionate number of the success stories.

Everybody has experience in one field or another, and Thailand is a big country with all industries represented here. If you can't find something that is relevant to your line of work, then you are not trying hard enough. The sort of people that fail to find a job here are the same sort of people that are unemployed in their own country.
I hired a guy straight out of university as a sales rep in 2004 and he is still with the same company, though I have moved on.
Why would I see a disproportionate number of success stories as opposed to failures?

Okay, okay I get it.  In your experience everyone who wants a job gets a job but that was not my experience living in Bangkok for 30 years.

Work is everywhere in Thailand.
The problem is when a Company wants to get your'  WorkPermit and find out from the Company Attorney that the Company does NOT have the proper Stock Allocation of 2,000,000 baht,  for EACH WorkPermit to non-Thai employees.
The Company wants You.
The Company is willing to get You a legal WorkPermit, however, the Company is not going to re-register the Company and re-issue the addition Stock required.
There is where your problem as I non-Thai is.
Solve that obstacle and You may work where You wish,  legally...

Very difficult now. Retirees cannot work on a retirement visa. Voluntary not good either. If you go on a job website and click on Thailand as your home, most change language to Thai. Craiglist jobs , I found a teaching job on the internet for a Canadian man , who had lived in Thailand but suffered a stroke and now has Aphasia, loss of memory. So I do a daily visit with pictures and objects to try to jog his memory back to normal. Some, very slow process.
Rewarding, of course in a few ways. Now have a PayPal account..

you don't say what type of job you are after

my only experience is about teaching
been working in the same job for 13 years so
shall not be looking anytime soon

the majority of expats here seem to be in teaching or jewelry
one of my doctors is Malaysian: are you a doctor?

yes: your CV needs a photo and should be customized for the position
waste of time detailing experience that's not relevant
references should be listed but seem to be a waste of time these days as
reporting  negative truths about  past employees might have legal repercussions

appearance is very important
even if not applying for a teaching position, this site will give a general idea as to the importance of looking well in this culture … ion-guide/

do your homework about the company before the interview
be on time
bring photocopies of everything plus the originals

hope that helps


It may hurts but true most hotels around Thailand in their job advert (Mid to High category ) asked for local language knowledge and some times  they even dont read the emails  or cover letter when they seen international candidates!!!!

Worst thing they dont even bother send an Auto reply to acknowledge they received your mail. Its applicable for most famous brands till home grown brands  include whom claimed they are truly .......

This i find if you Asian candidates who from South East Asia. But it can be different for European or other non Asian country !!!!!

Little Example :

if you keep eye on local most popular hotel job websites in Thailand you can seen same vacancy is updated week by week and even months but still no reply from HR whom applied earlier for that vacant post.

I am not complaining but its TRUE.

Hi Sumedha,

I'm not sure what you mean by high position in the hotel (hospitality) industry.

General Manager, Resident Manager, Executive Assistant Manager, F & B Director, Sales & Marketing Director are in the top management. If you are in this industry or HR, they don't use the term high position.

International hotels in 4 and 5 stars grouping hired these positions from overseas as there's a pool of candidates. Maybe you don't know the hospitality companies.

Those who apply direct to the hotels are different level of staff with lower salary.

Usually the marketing communications director is Thai but some international hotels hired foreigners, so as chief concierge can be foreigners without knowing Thai language. Even a butler can be a foreigner too.

The hospitality industry needs a lot of staff but good ones. In thailand, there's Dusit school that teaches various courses to suit the hotel industry.

Those who graduated from hotels training school in Dusit or SHATEC or overseas university like Cornell, Germany, Switzerland etc sure get good jobs with good salary too.

Hi Assumption

There are many foreigners working in Thailand, those in jewelry field are mostly stones and pearl traders. There are some doing manufacturing too.

Many foreigners are in the hospitality field as well as freight forwarders, hospitals, traders, banking, restaurants etc

Many are in the teaching field but much less now as salary is low unless in international school or very well known private school.

My two cents worth.  There are jobs around BUT and this is a BIG BUT you need to have the main qualifications LOOKS, passport and Connections in that order. You might be lucky to get a job otherwise but that is the exception.  I spent over a year looking for a job in Thailand and despite being qualified for several positions did not get any.

On more than two occasions after speaking with the HR contact to verify my qualifications, language skills, etc. once I sent a photo, "so will know you when you come to the interview and meet the team" contact stopped.  One person after speaking to me twice on the phone and having seen my published writing examples asked if I was British when I replied no there was no more contact. Teaching is a joke. Many times it is the Thais who have a warped perception of what the person should be like.  Twice British staff wanted me but their Thai counter part said no. Once I got turned down but an Irish guy without a degree who worked on a farm got offered to teach Business English. He recommended me to the job. Forgot my FT Top 50 MBA, working in five other countries and other office-based qualifications. There are other places I applied and I know less qualified persons got the job because I spoke to them "why you didnot apply at XYZ? They hired me!"

The few that offered me jobs were in sales but did not want to offer a work permit "we know people, put on a uniform and all is well."

I did get a legal job but then again it was because the company was desperate as the salary they could offer is low (but I have a work permit and allowed to work elsewhere if I want).  So if you do not look as expected, do not have the right passport and appropriate connections, look elsewhere or prepare for a long haul.

Hello Priscilla, what are the common questions does ask in during the interviews?

you have to ask yourself why you want  to work here in the first place
far off hills are greener and all that

Unlike the UK, the jobs market is Thai first, followed by Filipino(a) for skilled and then Burmese for labour. Europeans don't fare well these days unless its in teaching. Or you are an Elite Investor !!!!

The other things the Thais say about falang (European workers) is that they are always complaining about how things are different here - best advice I can offer is accept Thailand as it is - (perfect!) and keep any personal opinions to your home and family !!!

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Technology Structure, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (Finance), a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (Project Management), a Diploma in Contracts Management, a Post Graduate Diploma in International Commercial Law and a Master’s Degree (LLM) in International Business Law.    Even with these qualifications and 14 years of experience , I am still struggling to find a job in Thailand . As my previous company wind down its operation in Thailand past 6 months, I am approaching all head hunters, recruiting agencies but all my efforts are in vain. Hence, until unless you have a legitimate job offer with all documentations, then only plan for Thailand otherwise it’s very difficult, however not impossible depending upon your social networking.

Yes indeed..!

If You were "back-home" and someone who You worked with always said - I wish people here did THIS,  or did THAT like they do in My Country,  it would not take You long to think (and maybe say)  why don't You go back Home then.... 
Thai people are rightfully proud & happy about their Culture.
When You move to Thailand it is YOU that must change and/or accept,  not Thailand change to make You happy...

I have met many very well educated Filipinos working in Thailand. Many in Business and Hotel management. If there is good position oppening, they will inform family and friends.

I also known very well educated jobless Filipinos in Canada most with huge student loans debt. They would gladly accept good job in Thailand.

Do you think Caucasian farang with out connection will be considered by potential employer?


Thanks for a little hope...perhaps I should forget about working all together and retire in Thailand ;-) LOL

Pikme "Do you think Caucasian farang with out connection will be considered by a potential employer?"

In short, YES.  The general preference is WHITE, WESTERN and slightly WORN. WEALTHY is also good. Even without connections, a caucasian can easily make the connections to get a job.

This is Thailand.

Yes, there is racism here when it comes to white, native English speaking farangs in teaching positions. Thai parents (the majority of students in schools are Thai) demand as such. International companies are more flexible.

New topic
connection to localhost:9312 failed (errno=111, msg=Connection refused)