Getting a job

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Getting that teaching job abroad

Once you’ve completed the TEFLPlus course, you’ll be looking for work as a teacher. Here’s our quick guide to finding the right job and making it your own!

General requirements to teach English overseas

To qualify to teach English overseas you will need:

So how do you find work as an English teacher?

TEFLPlus is first and foremost a training establishment and not an employment agency. TEFLPlus does not guarantee job placement, but we do provide our trainees with the means to find English teaching jobs abroad. You should be aware that many countries require teachers to have both higher education (to degree or diploma level) and a TEFL/TESOL certificate, whilst some only require a TEFL certificate. Taking responsibility for finding your own employment demonstrates resourcefulness, and employers consider this a valuable trait when employing new teachers.

Prepare your cover letter and CV

See our ‘Top 10 CV Tips’ below. You will also need to include a passport-sized photograph and a copy of the front page of your passport, so scan them then get busy at the copy shop!

Check the job boards

Have a look through the Job Boards on our website. There are many job boards advertising thousands of English teaching jobs throughout the world. These jobs are updated and added to daily. Choose a number of jobs that interest you, then email them your cover letter with CV attached, and scans of your photo and passport (make sure the file sizes are reasonable – nobody wants to get a 10Mb email!). If an employer is interested in your application you may be asked to forward further information or take a telephone interview. More often than not, if you are invited for face-to-face interview, then a job offer will be made at the end of the interview.

Negotiate

You will now have to negotiate the exact terms of your employment. Visa and work permits are usually organised by the employer and they will need all your documentation to be sent to them. Have a read through the ‘before accepting a teaching position’ section below before accepting a job. It is very exciting to be offered your first position, but take a deep breath and think carefully for a moment before committing yourself.

Before accepting a teaching position

There are many questions you need to get answered before accepting a teaching job, so don’t be afraid to ask them! The more information you have, then the easier your decision will be. Do a search for the school in question on Google or Yahoo! You may be surprised what’s out there. Also ask for email addresses for ex-teachers so you can get first-hand opinions. Here are some of the more obvious questions you should ask before accepting a job:

The school
  1. Who owns the school, manages it, and runs it?
  2. Who are the students?
  3. Is there a particular teaching methodology to be used?
  4. What is the management structure?
Hours
  1. How many hours per week maximum?
  2. How many hours per day maximum?
  3. How many lessons without a break?
  4. Morning or afternoon shift? Split shift? Evening and weekend work?
  5. What are the breaks?
  6. Are extra hours compulsory? If so, how much notice is given?
  7. How many different classes and/or levels in a week?
  8. Are the hours guaranteed?
  9. What about overtime? Paid or unpaid?
  10. Is there sick leave? How much? Is there any bonus if sick days aren’t used?
Students
  1. What’s the typical student like? adults/children?
  2. How many students per class?
  3. How expensive or cheap is the school for students?
  4. What sort of students make up the client base?
Duties
  1. Who makes the exams/tests? How often are they?
  2. What other responsibilities are there?
Remuneration
  1. How often are teachers paid?
  2. How are salary levels decided?
  3. Are salaries higher for teachers with degrees and/or experience?
  4. How much is the tax?
  5. Are there any bonuses? How often are they given?
  6. Is help provided to open a bank account?
  7. What is the cost of living locally?
Other conditions
  1. Holidays – are they paid or unpaid? Are they fixed or when you want them?
  2. Is there any reimbursement for flights? Are flights paid for?
  3. Is there a dress-code? Is a uniform provided?
  4. Is there airport collection?
  5. Is accommodation provided? What is included? Is there help to find accommodation?
  6. Is transportation provided?
  7. How are visas arranged and who pays for them? (employers usually pay for and arrange this)
  8. Is medical insurance provided?
  9. Is there any relocation allowance?
Teaching resources
  1. What course books are used?
  2. Is there a syllabus to follow?
  3. Is there a school library? computers? internet/email?
  4. Is there a language lab? video camera? tape recorders? TV and DVD players?
  5. Is there a mentor or buddy system?

Once you accept a job you’ll need to get familiar with the school and local area. Here’s some suggestions to help make it easier:

Before you start work
  1. Book a flight and let the school know when you will be arriving
  2. Ask if you can observe some classes before starting
  3. Ask if you can come in to familiarise yourself with study materials
  4. Start getting your own materials together
  5. Talk with current teachers and ask them for any tips/recommendations/advice
  6. Bring in all the paperwork necessary to get a visa if it hasn’t already been done
  7. Get to know your way around town
Top 10 CV Tips

If you have just booked your place on a TEFLPlus course and intend to teach English overseas, then your CV/resume will definitely need a re-write. You need to start from scratch and put together a CV that’s going to get you a job as a teacher. With many applicants for every job advertised, your CV is your one and only chance to get yourself noticed and called for an interview. Most employers spend only one or two minutes reviewing CV’s, so make sure you get it right first time. Here are our top 10 tips to achieving this.

1. Start from scratch

A new career direction means a new CV. It might not sound like fun to have to re-write your CV from scratch, but that’s what it’s going to take. Obviously, if you have already tried applying for teaching jobs with your present CV and didn’t get any bites, then something was a little off. Try rearranging some sections, try a different format and use a different font. Just switch things around a bit and see what happens.

2. Change the format

Many teachers don’t realise there are different formats to use when writing a CV. The most common form is chronological, which lists each job you’ve had in reverse order, starting with your most recent job. This form doesn’t work for everybody, though. For example, if you’ve had many jobs in recent years or if you haven’t worked in a long time, then a functional CV could be a better option.

A functional CV focuses on your skills versus your work experience. For this, you list your skills pertinent to the job for which you’re applying(English teacher, obviously), followed by a list of accomplishments that demonstrate that skill. If you don’t have relevant skills or a strong work history, you could use a combination CV which combines elements of both functional and chronological formats.

For a combination CV you should list your relevant skills and the accomplishments that demonstrate them. Below that list your work history, starting with your most current job and working backward, but you don’t list your job descriptions. Doing it this way allows you the chance to talk up your skills while proving your solid work history.

3. Promote your achievements

Many teachers list their previous duties on their CV’s, but leave out their accomplishments. Although your past duties are important, employers are more interested in your ability to produce results. Separate your daily functions from your achievements by listing your job duties in a paragraph format, and then incorporate a bulleted area below entitled ‘key accomplishments’ to list your successes.

4. Quantify your accomplishments

Applicants often don’t know the difference between quantifying results and just stating a job responsibility. A job responsibility is something you do on a daily basis; a quantified achievement is the result of that responsibility. By quantifying results, you show employers what you can actually do for them. So, if your current CV is a block of words and you don’t have one number in there, whether it’s dollars, percentages or comparative numbers, you need to make some changes.

5. Drop the empty words and meaningless phrases

Many CV writers make the common mistake that annoys almost all employers: using cliché keywords. In a survey, employers gave these common phrases as overused and usually ignored by hiring managers:

These words are just empty fillers that don’t say anything about you or your achievements. For an overseas English teacher position, keywords might include ‘good with children’ or ‘classroom experience’; words that actually say something about what you can and will do. Look over your CV to find where you’ve listed generic qualities about yourself and replace them with keywords that match the job you are applying for.

6. Fill in the gaps

Many people will tell you to wait to explain any gaps in your work history at the interview. However, there’s a good chance you won’t get that opportunity if there are gaps in the first place. If, for example, you were laid off at the beginning of 2009 and are still unemployed, try using the functional CV we explained earlier. Or if you feel comfortable doing so, explain what you were doing during gaps between jobs. The employer will know you aren’t trying to hide a dodgy past.

7. Keep it simple

How many times have you heard this? Do not, under any circumstances, format your CV with wild fonts or colors, or print it on weird paper. Find an uncommon, yet attractive and simple layout to catch the employer’s eye, instead of his wastebasket.

8. Include a summary

Including a summary on your CV is one of those steps that many job seekers forget – and if they do remember, they usually include the wrong information. Employers want to know if you’re a good fit for their organisation, so writing something like, ‘to gain experience teaching children’ doesn’t say much about you or what you can do for the employer. Your career summary should portray your experience and emphasise how it will help the employer. It should be specific and include explicit functions, quantifiable achievements or your areas of expertise.

9. Double-check the basics

It may sound daft, but many people get so caught up in formatting and proofreading that they don’t check their most basic information, such as an e-mail address, phone number and address. Double-check that your CV has this information – none of your hard work will pay off if no one can get hold of you.

10. Keep up to date

Keep your CV up-to-date at all times and make sure to keep it handy. You never know when you’ll meet someone who has a job going or knows somebody else who has.

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