A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

How do I market myself for a TEFL job?

How can I make myself attractive to a potential employer?

Two things are important.  One, make them want to hire you.  Make yourself an attractive candidate in every way.  And two, let them know you don't have the problems the last person they fired had!

Attractive Candidate

Literally and figuratively.  Make sure your photo on your resume is professionally done and that you are dressed professionally.  Men should be in a dress shirt and tie - women - uh, I don't know what you call it - but dress professionally, okay?  Smile in your picture.  Avoid facial hair (men and women!) [But I do have a mustache and beard so I am not following my own advice here, okay?]. 

If you have tattoos, a pierced anything, a Mohawk hair style - or anything that makes you look less professional - hide it as best you can.  You are, after all, looking for a job in a market that is, most likely, more conservative than your own.  Reveal your true self later - not during the job hunt!

More Attractive

Highlight your TEFL training if you have it (in particular - it shows you are prepared and ready to go), any teaching/training experience you may have (TEFL or not, paid and/or volunteer), multi-cultural knowledge, travel experience, multi-lingual skills (if you have them) - and anything else that makes you appear ready, skilled, and professional. 

Your travel and knowledge/experience with other cultures and countries will reassure potential employers that you won't freak out and run away after only a week or two on the job (it happens more often than you would believe).

Special Skills

Be sure to highlight your special skills and abilities, and anything you might have identified on that webpage when we reviewed it.

Eliminate the Negative

Write specifically that you are reliable, can hold down a job for long periods (if you can and have), highlight family responsibilities - note if you are married, add anything that stresses dependability. 

Review potential contracts and stress your positive side of any issues related in it.  For example, I once had a contract that literally said, "If the teacher gets drunk and breaks the furniture in the classroom, s/he must pay for the damages."  What experiences they must have had in the past!

That was my very first contract.  Expectations of employers are often reflected in contracts they will show you - try to counter any of the negative issues.


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