6 Full proof ways to Make your TEFL Job Application Stand out
Whether you’re applying for a position through a recruiter or a school it is important to present your most professional self to set yourself apart from other TEFL teachers. Click To Tweet
I’ve been an Academic Manager for 3 years and now a recruiter and to-date I have seen a lot of very unprofessional requests and applications for TEFL teaching positions. Just to be clear there is no judgment here! But I want to give some tips and advice on how to present yourself as a professional and get your resume to the top of the list for the best TEFL/TESOL jobs out there!
If you’re currently applying to teach abroad this tips will help to give you a leg up in the competitive and crazy teaching market. As a TEFL teacher for many years, I have seen the market and the competition. Although there is a lot of jobs out there for teachers who have degrees, TEFL certifications, and experience it is a very saturated market with a lot of jobs and teachers. What that means is in order to get the job you want it is important to present yourself in the most professional way possible.
Why it’s important to be professional even if it’s not always required
From my experience in the TEFL/TESOL industry, I can see that the standards for teachers can be a little lower in some countries due to the need to fill positions and meet a job quota. As a teacher, it can be easy to fall into a more relaxed application process of submitting the bare minimum. However in this industry putting a professional foot forward can set you up for more opportunities, experiences and the top positions in the industry. That’s why it is so important to be as professional as possible and set yourself apart from the majority!
My Tips and Advice for getting the most out of your application
Most likely when applying for TEFL teaching jobs you will be reaching out to a recruiter (that’s me!) or the school directly. These tips apply to both. As a recruiter, I always make sure to give feedback and suggestions to help have the most professional application and interview process so they are placed in the best schools.
- Make sure to read the job description thoroughly before asking questions. If you ask the recruiter or school about something that is in the job post it shows that you’re not paying attention to detail! Make sure to read the post and then jot down any additional questions you have and include it in your email.
- Write a formal introductory email to introduce yourself. The email should include the following:
- A sentence to introduce yourself and your job title.
- The teaching position(s) your interested in based on the job advertisement on the website. Or, if there are multiple positions a clear description of what kind of position you’re looking for. For example Adult/elementary/kindergarten, public or private, location etc.
- Sell yourself and why you are right for this position. Summarize (in 2-3 sentences) why you’re a good applicant for this position because of your experience and education). Include your earliest available start date.
- Next, you want to attach a good quality photo, cover letter and resume in your email. Make sure to save them with relevant labels! Small details but also easily done. Label each document instead of leaving an unreadable name or jumble of numbers on your document files. For example the file for your resume could be Eliza_Resume or Eliza_Teaching Resume, your picture could be Eliza_headshot or Eliza_professional photo. You get the picture (pun intended ha!). Change the names of all your files and label them appropriately.
- Make your cover letter relevant to the job your applying for. Your cover letter should highlight your experience as an educator and be specific about your teaching methods and skills. Try to use keywords from the job description or look for good verbs to use related to teaching/education (to facilitate, to engage, to inspire etc.). You can also write about your passion and commitment as a teacher or why you decided to teach abroad.
- Your resume should show your relevant experience first! Make sure your resume presents the most relevant experience first and highlights your top skills first so the recruiter/employer sees the most important jobs, skills and qualification right away. You could even include a highlight list at the top of your resume listing your accomplishments, skills, and credentials as a teacher.
- Have a professional headshot. Don’t worry you don’t have to rush off and pay for someone to take your picture, but just make sure to have a headshot that presents you in the best light. Have your friend take a picture of you on your phone against a wall, that’s all you need. For the best shot make sure to be aware of the following:
- The picture should be clear and focused
- You should be looking into the camera.
- Wear a collared shirt or blouse
- Have a non-distracting background. See the Example headshots for inspiration
6. Be prepared for your interview! Write down the main points of your experience and skills so they are fresh in your mind and easier to express in your interview. Prepare questions that you have about the position. This lets them see that you are professional and take the job seriously. You want to make sure that you are well informed about the position. For more information on questions, to ask recruiters or schools have a look at this blog post: 10 Important Questions to Ask When Interviewing for a TEFL Job
One final piece of advice
Showcase and sell yourself! Make sure to really show your skills, experience, and professionalism. Experience and education is important but if you can present yourself well, have a bright and friendly personality, exude confidence this will help you!
Being at the top of your professional game is even more important if you don’t have a degree. This will go a long way to set yourself apart from others. Presenting yourself in a professional way while really showcasing yourself will increase your status in this competitive job market. For more information on teaching abroad without a degree look
For any additional advice or tips feel free to contact me directly with any questions. I can give you feedback on your resume and overall application and give you tips and advice about applying for teaching jobs abroad.
Don’t forget to check out the TEFL job board to see if there are any positions that you’re interested in! Not only will I help you apply for the positions but I’ll give you feedback, tips, and advice to help you through the interview process.
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