The TEFL job hunt: a quick guide to resume and application writing

As a teacher, both the wording and presentation of your resume are the most important things you can focus on when looking for a new job. You may have impressive qualifications, transferable skills and fascinating hobbies, however, if your resume is difficult or messy to look at, then you have already created a substandard first impression.

As a school manager, I’ve learned to look through dozens of teacher applications in a day. This does, unfortunately, mean being ruthless in shortlisting candidates purely through their resumes.

Chances are, the first time your potential employers meet you is through this on screen, little A4 rectangle of text condensing you and your experience. Here is a short, simple guide to creating the perfect resume:

No, seriously, don’t:

  • Write in third person (he graduated from… he? You mean you graduated?) If you don’t like writing in first person, cheat and omit the subject all together.
  • Use more than two fonts.
  • Insert colour anywhere you can. It’s confusing. Stick to a simple layout!
  • Fill up your resume with personal, irrelevant facts.

They’ll love you if you:

  • Keep it two pages,
  • Make it simple, well written, and easy to read.
  • Include a clear, professional photograph (a natural smile or laugh never fails)
  • Proofread and proofread (did I say proofread?)
  • Always include a personal section at the beginning: remind them you’re human
  • Include relevant experience

Most importantly:

Be confident! Even if you’re not qualified for the job, you should still go for it. Put yourself forward and prove yourself up to the task. Most employees will be impressed by your confidence, and some are bound to give you a chance.

It’s also always worth writing a short paragraph (a short paragraph, please not your life story, or anything too personal!) in the email application, to greet your potential employer and introduce yourself.

And remember:

If your resume has a plethora of spelling, grammar and writing mistakes, your proficiency as a teacher will be seriously doubted. Even though you may be in a rush to get your resume out there, take the time to read through and make sure it all makes sense.

Good luck!

Below is a download of step by step resume template:

Resume Template

Next: getting through to your interview: how to prepare.

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5 Comments

    1. I wanted to do a whhhooole extra post on that especially in Thailand, although I have no idea where to start!

      I still don’t know how I’d feel about writing it myself. Would you be interested in writing a post/ commentary about it when you get the time, and I can re-post or put it into a post?

  1. Hi Rachel,
    I am so envious of your travels! I have just returned to the states from Thailand and am seriously considering looking into teaching English as a second language abroad. I am sure you get these kinds of inquisitions all of the time, but i would really love some advice on where to begin. I’ve done the internet research but am looking for more “real life first hand experience” advice from someone like minded. You seem like someone i want to befriend and i mean that in the least creepy way possible. Cheers & best of luck, Natasha

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