Home > Uncategorized > Working Abroad: How to find a job in Turkey

Working Abroad: How to find a job in Turkey


Yesterday’s post about working holidays and finding jobs abroad has proved so popular that I figured it wouldn’t be the worst idea to put together something similar today.     

I spent quite a bit of time working a few different jobs in Turkey during the summer of 2001, and after I eventually came back to the U.S. and settled in Seattle, I wrote a how-to article for Transitions Abroad about how anyone so inclined might do the exact same thing. Transitions Abroad, by the way, has been considered the absolute authority on working, studying and volunteering abroad for a very long time, and you’d be wise to buy yourself a subscription and spend some time on their website if you’re planning on doing any of those things yourself.

The magazine’s founder, Dr Clay Hubbs, passed away recently, although the magazine has impressively managed to push on with the same mix of good design, wonderful writing, and informative copy ever since. In fact, for anyone interested in having unusual experiences in other countries, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Continue scrolling down, and you’ll see the first article of mine that was ever published in Transitions Abroad. It’s called “Backpacker’s Turkey: Jobs Abound and Can Be Found Word-of-Mouth”.

Even to this day, if you Google the phrase “jobs in Turkey”, my article shows up on the first page, which I’ve always assumed is the main reason so many people have emailed me about this article over the years. It’s worth noting that while I’ve been freelancing on and off for over a decade, and full-time for more than four years, I very rarely get any sort of feedback about my work from anyone other than my various editors. But “Backpacker’s Turkey”, for some reason, has hit a serious nerve with the reading and backpacking public over the years. So for what it’s worth, here it is. Let me know what you think.

The Portal for work abroad, overseas travel, study abroad and international living

BACKPACKER’S TURKEY: Jobs Abound and Can Be Found Word-of-Mouth

It was early in the summer, and I had spent three weeks in Greece, ferrying from island to island and trying fruitlessly to schmooze my way into an under-the-table summer job. In my hasty pre-trip research back home I had learned that Greece was a land of golden opportunity from April until August, when Brits, Germans, and Russians invade the country on their annual holiday. Beach resorts need employees, yacht owners need deckhands, even the olive vineyards need staff. Work, I was assured, was everywhere.

But somehow when I showed up in mid-May, the tourist season still hadn’t. Hotel owners and bar managers all told me the same thing: “Come back in four weeks.” My money, however, was running dangerously low.

The further south I traveled, the more backpackers I met who had just come from Turkey, and no one seemed to have enough good things to say about the country.

Apparently, there were English-language academies willing to hire anyone, as long as he or she was a native speaker. No work visa? No TEFL degree? No problem. I decided to chance it.

Getting A Job

Making money was my most immediate concern, so after settling into a cheap youth hostel in the backpacker ghetto of Sultanahmet ($2.50 to $5 for a bunk bed in a shared room), I found an Internet café and logged onto EslCafe.com, one of the most popular clearinghouse sites for English-teaching jobs on the Web. If I had known all along that I would end up in Istanbul, I would have researched job opportunities in advance. (Another great site for potential English teachers is www.tesall.com).

I didn’t find any useful job leads at the Internet café, but I did notice that the woman sitting next to me, a Canadian named Emily, was updating her resume. And that’s when I took advantage of the backpacker’s most time-tested method for gathering information of any sort: word-of-mouth. Turned out that, like me, Emily had just arrived in town. She was busy searching for an English-teaching job and a place to live. She was also staying in a guesthouse just down the street from mine, and so we agreed to join forces: I’d share any new job leads with her, and she’d do the same for me. Soon, we became a disciplined team, asking every backpacker and every guesthouse employee we stumbled across for help.

One morning, Emily was making her way to an interview in a neighborhood far from the tourist district. The school she was looking for didn’t seem to exist, so she walked into a different school, British English, and asked for help. The director of the school sent her on her way, but not before mentioning that he, too, was hiring. The next day I called British English from a payphone, used Emily’s name to land an interview, and after assuring the director that I had a college degree (he never asked to see it, and he never asked if I had TEFL certification, which I didn’t), I was given a job. Seven million Turkish lira an hour, which was about $5 U.S.

Emily, by the way, eventually found the school she was looking for. Just like me, she was hired on the spot, on the basis of her native English-speaking status alone. (At the time, she didn’t even have a bachelor’s degree.).

But in Istanbul, teaching is only one way a backpacker can make money. Our friend Meghan found well-paying work as a nanny, simply by being social and asking around in the backpacker ghetto, where nearly all the locals speak English. Another friend found work at a tourists’ pub. The job came with all the free beer she could drink, not to mention a free room above the bar.

Outside of Istanbul, opportunities in the tourism industry abound. If you find that English teaching isn’t for you, get creative: Charismatic travelers can find work in the carpet-selling shops of Cappadocia, an otherworldly region in central Turkey, and others get jobs with hot-air balloon companies that operate nearby. Busking and bar work is possible along the Mediterranean coast, if you’re the entertaining type. And don’t forget: Greece is just a ferry ride away. Maybe by the time you show up, that fabled tourist season will have finally started.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. OmeR KhaliD
    November 16, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    I am OmeR Khalid From Pakistan . I am a Telecocommunication Engineer . And Working in Telecommunication Sector Since 2 Years as an Driver Test RF Engineer In Pakistan .
    I want a Job In Turkey or any where in the world as an Drive Test Engineer . In The Case Of Any Oppurtunity In Telecom Sector In Turkey Or Any where In The World . Please Consider Me on Your High Priorities .
    Email : omerkhalid.ok@hotmail.com

  2. faisal
    December 25, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    i also want 2 job in turkey tell me frends how can

  3. Hussein Ghulami
    November 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Hi there;
    I’m Hussein from Iran. I’ve got B.A in English translation studies and I am Azeri originally. I’m looking for a teaching job in Istanbul. I’m experienced and I am 27 years old.

  4. October 16, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    i am mohammed from morocco , i am in istanbul rıght now ı have diplom option hotel reception for 1 mounth ı try to find a job here but i cant , ı was work sınce 4 last years ın hotels barcelo and ıberostar saidia in morocco but i was working only in summer . for thats ı think abroad ıts better now i hope if someone can help me to find a job here in turkey
    thnx and good luck for all

  5. catherine
    June 30, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    My names catherine im 23 from scotland i recently came back from.a family holiday from turkey kusisadsi had aball i studied holiday rep/cabin crew course it college for 2years i qualified and now am trying to find a job in turkey cant seem to be getting anywhere! Can someone help me please x

  6. May 25, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    i am in morroco , want to go to turky for works;what can i do?

  7. RAWAN
    May 25, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    i need a job in turkey im graphic designer from lebanon

  8. March 13, 2012 at 6:20 AM


    We can help you find a job teaching English in Turkey, especially in Istanbul.

    Its free!

    Visit us here: http://www.englishjobsturkey.com

    We send CV’s to schools and jobs to teachers! Its simple.

    Good luck!

  9. December 12, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Dear Sir,
    My name is Qudratullah, I have Pakistani Afghanistan Nationality,Birth Place is Pakistan peshawar live in Afghan Citizen ID Card. I am 24Years Old Graduated in 2006.

    Respected Sir I would like to work in Turkey in any city. Because i like your country very much. I want to quit this country forever. if u can help me please
    Before I was Worked in Afghanistan at Gensis Food Supplies Company as a Finance Officer. I got some problem from Taliban because of worked in Afghanistan with American Solder. i discontinue my job and i arrive to Pakistan i am still here in Pakistan .cirrently feild i work as a executor in university Cyber.I am speak in English,Urdu.Punjabi.Pashto,Persian and 60% Russian All languages are in great level.
    Am i able to work in your country?….
    Your Reply Anticipation Qudratullah

  10. Dina
    August 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Dear, I’m Dina from Egypt. I dream to live and work in Turkey. I won’t talk about how beautiful it is, but how much I admire this country & its people. My mother tong is Arabic & I speak English fluently. I have almost three years experience in administration & secretarial work. If you can help by advice or any kind of aid plz contact me 😀

    • levent
      August 26, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      hi dina
      i can fınd a job here in turkey. ı am a businessman here. ı mean not a big businessman just
      i have a süperstore and a small toys factory that is all if you are still interested contact with me lmusaoglu@yahoo.com. or my personel number 00 90 533 242 3976 ok.

  11. sevag demirjian
    June 15, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    hi im from lebanon sevag demirjian im serching for a jon sales man or shop maneger i have 4 languages turkish arminian arabick english thx alot if any help just contact me on my email sevag_demirjian@hotmail.com

  12. dizzy
    May 31, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    i am english 26yr old looking to move to turkey didim area. Looking for a job to support my self, can anyone help me? thank you

  13. tahir iqbal
    January 7, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    my dear, i think to get workpermet for turkey, so pls tell me did is esy to get job there, i allredy live in tokyo 15 year. i speak english/japanses/urdu. so tell me and show me good way.

    • Rafaqat
      August 3, 2011 at 7:22 AM

      slaam, tahir my name is Rafaqat sipra from pakistan.ok i speak urdu ok. junab ap k or mery dreams milty jolty hain i want a work in turky but koch samjh nhi a rahi k kis tara turki main job find ki jaye.ok r u live in japan already?

  14. Ryma
    November 1, 2010 at 4:39 AM

    hi my name is ryma i m from tunisia and i really need to found job in tukey cause i couldnt found any thing i work in tourism and i speak 4 language will you help me please contacte me at this adress rim_beji@yahoo.fr

  15. July 4, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    thanks just amazing, l just found job by contacting local newspaper in holiday resorts.

  16. October 31, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    Blue Mosque , Hagia Sophia , Topkapi Palace .
    Sultanahmet is our dream destination.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Take a care

  17. fares fathi
    April 29, 2009 at 6:15 PM

    male ,34 years having 9 years banking experince in the gulf .intrested to work in a turkey bank

  18. November 18, 2008 at 1:11 PM

    hello my name is ,benjamin,am 22yersold,please i want to come to turkey for a bar job,am good in doing that,thanks.

  19. warkaa
    October 4, 2008 at 3:00 PM

    dear sirs
    im warkaa femal from iraq 33 years old would like to get a job in Turkey , i like this country i have Diploma in Managment and have experaince for 7 years in companies working so hope to work in turkey.

  20. September 25, 2008 at 3:17 AM

    Hi there

    I am a 40 yo man from France that has lived on and off in turkey for about 10 years… Yes it is true Turkey is a beautiful country, I love it and always will. I first went to turkey in 1987 with the equivalent off 100$ in my pocket, I hitchiked my way from paris to istanbul. Knowing only English and French, i have to admit I stuggled but one day I entered bohasici university and my whole experience in turkey changed for the best, there I met a student he was like a year older than me (i was 18 at the time) he was living in an appartement which he found was too big for him and was studying english, I was living in a youth hostel and I was fluent english so he offered me a deal, I would share his flat in exchange for daily lesson… I jumped on the occasion. I now had a base I could look for a job from. I went to sultanamhet, and talked to a guy there in the carpet market just by the blue mosk, here i found a job in a carpet shop… and I stayed in Istanbul for 2 years before moving on to Goreme as a guide. What did I get from that? well a wealth of new experience, I now speak pretty good turkish, and loads of friends. Remember I entered the country I was 18 and only with 100$


  21. ekram magdy kamal
    August 25, 2008 at 5:11 PM

    AGE = 21 years old
    8 Mohamed Abdel maiguide el zaiyatte’s street – Attarine-
    Alexandria – Egypt.
    GENDER = Female \ girl
    NATIONALITY = Egyptian
    DATE OF BIRTH = 28 April 1987
    E.MAIL = ekram_kouki@yahoo.com OR

    The languages = Arabic, French and English.
    The educations = I finished my secondary’s education from saint Joseph’s school of Alexandria in Egypt , I have taken a lot of courses in the French culture center of Alexandria , I have finished in it level 6.
    About the English’s language during 2006 and 2007 I have finished in the Russian culture center of Alexandria these levels (elementry, pre- intermediate and intermediate).
    In April 2008 I took the ICDL’s certification (international’s computer Driver license) from the Russian culture center of Alexandria.
    I have graduated from the faculty of law of Alexandria in Egypt.
    The passport’s number = 555872.
    Interests = computers and watching movies.
    The phone = ( 00203)4870642
    The mobile’s number =(002) 0167410468

    dear the director \
    in the first i want to present my respect for you , i am Ekram magdy I am a girl from egypt and i hoppe that i can find a job like an assistante or a secretary under your direction, that is why i am sending you my message with my c.v with hopping to have a job.
    i am ready to travell immediatly when i take an offer or find a job .
    please answer to me if you will accept me or not.
    ekram magdy

    • Jawaid Hussain
      July 9, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      How are you? Hope fine. Would you help me out to find jobs in Turkey. Hope for positive response. Thanks

    June 24, 2008 at 4:36 AM

    Why don’t you try to get help from locals? Find a real Turkish friend it is the best way to find a place to live or a job. Trust me

    • DT
      July 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

      yes beacuse of word of mouth always counts alot in turkey and works

    • shan hasmhi
      September 22, 2011 at 4:06 AM

      tel me bro what i do i want to go turkey

  23. June 17, 2008 at 6:06 AM

    i love this contry and i want move in it because it s beautyful

  24. asmaa khaddouma
    June 17, 2008 at 6:03 AM

    i love turkey and i want find a job there because i want move there

  25. narges
    May 28, 2008 at 9:15 AM

    I am textile engineer.
    I have master degree in textile engineering.
    I work in a factory in Iran , but I like to live in turkey and I want to find suitable job.

  26. braiden
    November 27, 2007 at 10:36 PM

    There are also jobs listed at http://www.mployd.com that might help you in your search

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