How to write a TEFL Resume for an International Teaching Job
Learning how to write a TEFL resume or CV for an international job is easy, but you do have to break a few rules.
First, understand that when a foreign employer asks for a CV (curriculum vitae) they are about 98% of the time really asking for a resume. A CV is typically a very long and detailed description of your education and a bit of work history thrown in. If you are applying for an advanced position at a university, then they might really want a CV, but for regular jobs teaching English overseas, a resume will do.
Let's understand one thing . . .
In spite of all the great websites proclaiming that you will get "paid to travel", you are applying for a real job and they expect you to do a good job. Yes, there are a lot of jobs going unfilled, but if you want the better jobs in the best conditions, approach this job search with the same seriousness that you would in your home country. No one is going to pay you to travel.
Okay, it's time to break a few rules
- Put your photo on the top left or right corner of your resume. Present yourself professionally. Well groomed, a friendly smile, shirt and tie for a male and equivalent for a female works best. SMILE. Most TEFL jobs are at language schools and your employer wants to know that you are professional AND friendly. She needs to know that her customers (your students) are going to benefit from and enjoy your presence in their classroom. So much so that they are going to be willing to pay real money on a regular basis to sit in your classroom.
- Put your biodata at the top of the page. Full name as in your passport. Date of birth, age, gender. Yes, some of this would also be illegal in some Western countries, but if you want the job, you need to give your potential employer the information she wants and needs. Include your contact information and full address. Be sure to include international dialing codes, Skype and email information. Get a special email address that is professional in name and tone. Don't use HandsomeBob69@whatever.com - it's not professional.
- Indicate your marital status and if you have any dependents. It can make a difference. Some schools can sponsor a teacher with a spouse and dependents, others can't. Accommodations for some jobs are shared and adding a spouse or dependents just won't work out well. It's their choice, not yours or mine.
Now follow the regular rules
As with any resume, put the information that qualifies you for the job at the top of the page. Don't make your potential employer search for it. If you have a TEFL certificate and/or a qualifying degree, put that right at the top. If you have previous teaching experience or any sort, get that near the top. Make it easy for employer to know you are the person for the job.
Unless you are applying for a university or similar type position, use some creativity, color and style with your resume. Click this Google search for "creative resumes" and you see loads of great ideas. No need to reinvent the wheel. Schools like teachers with a bit of creativity. Don't go overboard, but show you have a bit of style.
Details, details... It's all about details on a TEFL Resume or TEFL CV
Employers overseas carefully scrutinize your resume as they are considering a long-term relationship with you. Be sure that your resume is truthful and factual. Fill in any periods of unemployment and explain what you were doing at that time. Were you traveling, studying or volunteering somewhere? Be careful to not overlap dates, indicating that you were working at two places at the same time. Or, if you were, note that you in fact were working two jobs - different shifts, part-time or whatever the situation was at the time.
Any inaccuracies or unexplained details on your resume can create an immediate sense of discomfort with a potential employer and significantly reduce your employment opportunities. They wonder if were you jail. Why were you unemployed for so long? Are you being truthful when you said you were working at two places at the same time or just being careless when you wrote your resume? But wait... they have five other resumes to look at that don't raise any issues. You can easily be passed over for even the simplest of reasons. You won't even know why.
When you submit your resume, that and your photo are the only two things working for you. Help those two things sell you for the job you want.
A special note
It is not uncommon for a potential employer to ask you to submit, along with your TEFL resume, a scan of the ID page of your passport. Some people are hesitant because of identity theft issues, but if you think about it in a reasonable way, a school principal or equivalent is asking WHO the person is that she is going to put in charge of the children in her classrooms. I think that is fair. In 25 years working abroad, I have never heard of that scan being the issue in an identity theft. Probably your FaceBook page would be more of a problem. If you don't want to share the information, you probably won't be able to land that job.
Now go get that job!
Double check that everything is as it should be and put that resume to work landing you a great job.
How to write a TEFL Resume
Google "Creative Resumes"