How to Make a Great CV or Resume When Applying to Teach English Abroad

Qualified English teachers please register with World of TEFL and we will contact you with relevant vacancies as they come in.
The demand may be very high for English tuition from native speakers in several parts of the world, but only those candidates with excellent tailor-made CVs (Curriculum Vitaes) will get short-listed for the best TEFL positions. Quite obviously, if you fall at the first hurdle you have no chance of being hired. So how can you avoid this?

Every time you apply for a different job, whether for a position as an English teacher or not, you need to edit your existing CV and highlight particular skills and experience that are really valuable and relevant for that particular job.

If you have never taught English before, you need to emphasise those personal qualities you have which will enable you to adapt to a new culture, make new friends and take an active interest in students. You may have some experience coaching or tutoring in a different field, such as a sports team, or mentoring younger students at university or college. Have you given any lectures or talks? All of this is very important to emphasise in your application.

Have you worked internationally before, even if just for a very short period of time? If not, how about travelling and getting to know different cultures outside of your own? Mention this too.

What steps have you taken to start learning the local language? Perhaps you already have some language skills which you hope to develop further once you have arrived. Demonstrating a willingness to become part of a new community is exactly what most TEFL recruiters are looking for in all candidates for English teaching positions overseas.

Emphasise your TEFL certification course and the number of hours of observed practice teaching.

Highlight your academic background and any awards you have won. Are you a member of any teams? If you play a musical instrument or in a sports team then make sure this is mentioned. Are you a member of any professional bodies? Have you taken part in any voluntary work in your local community or elsewhere? Write a short paragraph detailing relevant personal achievements and hobbies.

Many schools will ask you to perform basic administrative duties in addition to teaching, so mention your IT skills including knowledge of different operating systems plus MS Word and Excel.

Most schools around the world also want to see a recent passport photo looking professional, friendly and alert. Put this at the top right of your document, along with a Skype address for a potential online interview. Also be sure to remember to include your international dialling code with your home and mobile telephone numbers.

List at least 2 – preferably 3 – references from your recent employment and/or education, including email and international telephone number contact details for each one of them.

Finally, the covering letter or cover letter, which these days is usually the actual text in the email which you attach your CV to. Remember to include the title of the position in the subject line of the email and any reference number that you have.

After the initial greeting, the first paragraph should be an explanation of why you are writing (i.e. to apply for the teaching role). The middle paragraphs should be concise explanations of why your skills and experience make you a good match for the vacancy plus any additions details such as that you have just completed a TEFL course.

The concluding paragraph should explain that you have attached your CV to the email (if applicable) and that you are looking forward to hearing from them in due course. If you have a LinkedIn profile (recommended) then leave a link to it beneath your name at the bottom of the email.

Bear in mind that not all application procedures are the same. For many schools and language centres a CV and covering letter will suffice. For all positions with the British Council you need to use a specific BC application form and and complete an additional Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.

Qualified English teachers please register with World of TEFL and we will contact you with relevant vacancies as they come in.

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