Posted on July 8, 2019 | By Isabelle Sudron
20th Mar 2019
Creating the perfect CV and cover letter can be a tricky task, especially if you’re applying for a job in a new field. If you’re looking for your first TEFL job, you may be wondering what exactly TEFL employers are looking for and where to start. We’ve got a few top tips on creating a top CV and cover letter that will get noticed by employers.
#1 A short and sweet CV
Your CV should only be one or two pages – any more and you risk sending the employer to sleep! Keep in mind, employers will have received hundreds of applications in their time and may skim many of the CVs they receive. So, you need to make it really easy for them to find your relevant skills, experience and qualifications without trawling through pages of useless information. To save space, focus on relevant pieces of experience – don’t ramble about things that have no relation to TEFL or teaching.
#2 A tailored cover letter
Employers want to see candidates who genuinely want to work for them, not candidates who are applying for every job in a thousand-mile radius. Rather than applying for tons of jobs and sending the same cover letter over and over again, try picking a few jobs that you’re truly interested in and writing a cover letter specifically for them. That means, carefully reading through their job description and explaining exactly how you fit the bill.
#3 TEFL certification
Every TEFL position has different requirements but most will ask for some kind of TEFL qualification. Having a qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language is especially important if you have no formal teaching experience. Completing a course in TEFL will both show that you’re qualified to do the job and that you’re genuinely interested in teaching as a career. Whether you choose to do a basic 120 Hour TEFL Course or an advanced course like the CELTA or Delta, make sure your course has some observed teaching hours – this is what most employers are looking for.
#4 Relevant experience
No matter what job you’re applying for, whether it be in the TEFL industry or not, employers will always be keeping an eye out for relevant work experience. Don’t fret if you’re brand new to the workforce though, relevant experience doesn’t have to be a position actually teaching. You can include experience where you used similar key skills as you would in a teaching environment. For example, if you’ve been a part-time music teacher, tutored another student at university or helped out at a day care centre – include this in your application! You can even include times when you’ve done presentations or hosted a public event.
#5 Useful details
If you have teaching experience or any relevant experience, make sure to specify exactly what you did. For example, include whether you worked with large groups or taught One-to-One and with adults or young learners. These little details could be the difference between you and someone else getting the job!
#6 A video or a photo
Some TEFL employers will ask for an introductory video or a photo as part of their application process. This may seem a little odd compared to most other industries but it’s the norm in the TEFL industry. Employers would like to see that you look presentable and are a confident, fluent English speaker. If you skip the introductory video or photograph when an employer has specifically requested it, your application will likely be put at the bottom of the pile.
#7 Perfect presentation
On that note, make sure you’re dressed professionally in any photos or videos you share with the employer. You should look neat and tidy – as should the background of your video/photo!
#8 Fantastic English
As an English teacher, you’ll be expected to have impeccable English. Any typos or grammar mistakes will undermine your skill and your ability to teach others the language. Make sure you run your CV and cover letter through a spellchecker and get a trusted friend to proofread your work.
A common issue TEFL employers have is that their teachers move on before completing their contract. Rather than telling employers all about your wanderlust and how much you’d like to visit surrounding countries, focus on why you’d specifically like to live in the country you’re applying to and any connections you have to it. For example, if you speak the local language or have visited the country many times – mention it!
#10 Communication skills
Good teachers must be great communicators, both in terms of being clearly spoken and in terms of explaining difficult concepts or subjects in an easy-to-understand manner. If you have any experience that shows you are a clear communicator, such as working in customer service, human resources or marketing.
#11 People management
Teachers often need to control large groups of people, and some TEFL classes can have up to 60 students! With this in mind, any experience in people management can be extremely beneficial in the TEFL world. So, if you’ve worked as a manager, supervisor or team leader, make sure to highlight the parts of your role that included people management.
#12 Planning skills and good organisation
As a TEFL teacher, you’ll need to plan a lot of your own lessons. This may involve creating numerous lesson plans every week as well as making sure you have the correct tools and worksheets for the class. If you have any experience that shows you’re organised, include it in your CV or cover letter.
#13 Contact details!
It sounds obvious because it is obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget to put their contact details on their CV and cover letter! Make sure these details are clearly stated at the top of your documents so employers can get in touch quickly and easily.
If you found this article useful, it’s wroth downloading our guide: Get Started with Job Hunting