Posted on March 20, 2019 | By Jenni Fogg
27th Nov 2018
Job hunting can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re new to the wonderful world of TEFL. Fortunately, the LoveTEFL website is jam-packed with advice on picking a destination, perfecting your CV and plenty of jobs adverts to explore. But, first thing’s first – how do you make a good first impression with employers? Here’s a few practical tips to impress your prospective new boss.
CV and Cover Letter
The first thing employers look at is your CV and cover letter. It can be tempting to scattergun your applications – sending out the same cover letter and CV to every school from Hungary to Hong Kong. However, it’s much better practice to read into each job and school you plan to apply to then personalise the cover letter – and perhaps even your CV. This shows your employer that you’ve taken the time to research the position. Write a line or two about why that job in particular interests and excites you – after all, no two jobs are the same.
At the top of your CV, highlight all of your best bits – your degree, teaching experience, key skills including language levels. Selling yourself at the top of you CV will make your application stand out to employers who are inundated with candidates to look at. We recommend popping in a professional-looking photo too. This might seem strange if you’ve worked in other industries but it’s common practice in the TEFL world.
You should also carefully read the adverts for their requirement – don’t waste your time applying for jobs you’re not qualified for. If a company asks for a CELTA and 3 years of experience, you’re going to need to meet their minimum requirements to be taken seriously. If you’re missing some part of the requirements, provide a rationale as to why you have applied anyway.
The other important thing to remember is obvious but worth repeating – proofread your profile, CV and cover letter! If you can’t find any mistakes, ask a trusted friend to check on your behalf. There’s nothing worse than spending lots of time on your application and it having a big, fat typo in it.
Have plenty to shout about
TEFL is turning into an increasingly competitive job market and there are lots of other applicants out there. How can you make your application stand out, especially if you’re new to the industry? We recommend supplementing your CV with workshops, additional courses and lots of extra research – blogs, articles and webinars are all freely and widely available to help your develop your skills. You can include the additional things you do in your CV or cover letter which shows that you’re serious about teaching, even if you don’t have a lot of classroom experience.
In the majority of cases, you’ll be doing your interview on Skype or a similar software alternative. Making a great first impression is just as important on camera as in real life. Follow our advice to ensure interview success over the internet:
– Be on time! In real life, you wouldn’t turn up late to an interview – it’s the same on Skype. Double/triple check that you’re logging in to Skype at the right time in the correct time zone.
– Dress the part. Forget wearing a shirt on top and pyjamas on the bottom – dress smartly and you’ll automatically feel more professional. Smart clothes, neat hair and a big smile is the way to go.
– Know your stuff. Interviews can be stressful – even more so if you’re going to be asked some tough questions about grammar or classroom management. Ensure you’re ready to answer questions about yourself, about teaching English and about the school you’re applying for. And be prepared to ask questions yourself.
Now, don’t rush out there and get all your documents notarised and attested before you’ve even begun, but do get prepared for the application process. If you’ve got the relevant certificates filed and ready to rock, you can send them over to your employer to have a look at as soon as they ask you to – usually by scanning them in and emailing them over. Doing this quickly will give the impression that you’re super organised and keen to work!
If you’re looking to move to a country that has quite a lot of visa requirements (we’re looking at you, China!), such as medical checks and having your fingerprints taken before you go, do some research in advance about where to get this done close to you. Find out how much the whole procedure will cost, as some parts of visa applications – such as legalising and attesting multiple documents – can be extremely pricey, and you might need to save up some cash in advance.
Tell the truth
Our final point, and the one that’s bound to make a good impression on employers, is to be genuine! Don’t lie on your application – it’ll all come out in the wash in the end. Don’t say that you’ve got qualifications if you haven’t – when you start teaching, it’ll be pretty obvious if you’ve got the background you say you’ve got!
We hope that by following this advice, your CV is going to stand a much better chance of winning over prospective employers – good luck! And once you’ve made a great first impression on employers and landed a job, why not read our 10 top tips for new TEFL teachers.