The demand for English teachers around the world is great, and growing year on year.
That means if you want to teach English abroad, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job.
But you don’t just want ANY job, right?
To secure a sought-after position, with decent pay and attractive working conditions, you have to leave the masses behind. You have to wow potential employers with your resume, to pass the first hurdle and be invited for a job interview.
How do you write a resume, which highlights your qualifications and meets the expectations of schools or language centers in a foreign country?
Here are 7 key things you need to consider when writing your resume to give yourself a boost.
7 Tips For Your Resume to Get Hired as an English Teacher Abroad
1. Find Out the Local Standards
If you’re going to be teaching in a different country, you need to make sure you’re adhering to their standard practices when it comes to writing your resume.
This means doing a bit of research about what you should include, and updating your resume accordingly.
Don’t assume that the protocols of your home country will apply; you should check what information an employer wants, and put it down.
No matter how good your resume is, if it lacks information the employer requires, you probably won’t get the job.
2. Add Relevant Skills
Just like any resume, your one for teaching English abroad ought to contain all the relevant information about your skills and experience.
You should order this clearly and concisely, highlighting any recent jobs which will have boosted your teaching skills or proven your reliability.
Use this section to show off how good you are at your subject, and ensure your employer knows you are capable of doing the job.
You should ensure you include evidence of your education as well as your job experience, as some employers may rate this more highly.
List where you have studied, the courses you took, and the grades you achieved, remembering to include any extra classes you have taken to show you are a dedicated learner who goes above and beyond.
Prove to your potential employer that you’re keen, and you’re more likely to get a job.
If you have completed a specific course in teaching English abroad (likely TEFL certification or CELTA), ensure this is near the top of your resume. It’s your most relevant qualification, so make sure your potential employer sees it before they see much else; you want them to know immediately you can do the job you’re applying for.
If you haven’t completed your course yet, include it with an expected completion date.
3. Keep It Simple (and Stupid)
It’s always advisable to keep a resume simple, but remember that the person reading it may not speak English as fluently as they would in your home country.
If your resume is difficult to understand, it will get put aside quickly and you won’t get the job, so work on making it as easy as possible.
Lay it out clearly and consistently, and avoid fancy text; you want to look professional. Order it in a way that is easy to understand, with a short introduction about yourself at the top.
Avoid using abbreviations. No matter how common they may be in your home country, remember that they might not be a standard where you’re going, and suddenly things which look good on your resume at home become absolutely meaningless to potential employers abroad.
Be clear, concise, and simple in your resume writing.
4. Provide a Photograph
This may not be standard in your country, but it is in many countries, particularly when you want to teach English in China.
Employers like to know who they may be hiring, and make a more personal connection with people who send a picture to them; this should certainly be included on your resume if you want it to stand out to them.
Failure to do so implies you haven’t done any research about the country you want to teach in and the expected standards there.
Make sure your photograph represents your professional side. Don’t use a casual picture taken by a friend or even with a friend. Don’t use a sloppy selfie.
Get a picture done professionally, or take the time to set up a proper one yourself, using a plain background and photographing your head and shoulders as you would for a passport. Dress appropriately and neatly, wearing smart clothes as you might to an interview, and check the photograph represents you as you would like to be seen.
Remember that it is the first your potential employer will see of you, so you need to make a great impression.
This could make all the difference to a hiring decision, even if the employer doesn’t realize the power of a photograph!
5. Double-Check Who You’re Sending It To
Make sure you are sending your resume to the right person within an organization and in the right way.
Don’t send a paper submission if they’ve asked for emails only, and vice versa.
Ensure you’ve got the correct person’s name on your submission; you don’t want your hard work on your resume being wasted by it getting lost, and you don’t want to make a bad impression by failing to follow instructions before you’ve even got the job.
Always double-check all instructions before you send your resume in. Make sure you have included all the requested information and in the form required.
This can save you that moment of horrible embarrassment where you realize after you’ve sent it that you’ve done something wrong.
6. Proofread Carefully
Always always always show your employer that you are meticulous and that you take pride in your work. You can’t demonstrate this if your resume is full of mistakes, typing errors, and grammar slips.
If you know that this isn’t your strong point, make use of a website such as Do My Coursework, which will help you proofread your document to make sure it’s error-free.
No matter what job you’re going for, sloppy writing does not reflect well on you as a candidate, but this is particularly true if you want to be an ESL teacher.
You should make the most of online services, and get a friend or family member to read your resume over for errors — remember that fresh eyes often spot things you’ve missed. Try reading aloud or backward for further help noticing errors.
7. Personalize Your Resume
You want to make yourself memorable to your would-be-employer, so don’t be afraid to include a bit of personal information.
Certain things which are not standard in the US are expected in other countries — for example, it’s normal to include age and marital status in many other countries, so consider volunteering this information unless you have a particular reason not to.
If you have space, add a little about your hobbies or other interests. You want to demonstrate to the person reading your resume that you are enthusiastic and motivated, and you can show this in areas that aren’t your particular subject.
An activity doesn’t have to relate to teaching for it to show positive things about you; being on a sports team can demonstrate you have good people skills or organizational skills.
Include anything you think is worthwhile, and try to make the reader of your resume feel like they have an overall impression of who you are. They are more likely to get in touch with you if they have a positive sense of your personality.
This is a careful balance. You don’t want to be adding irrelevant details like your favorite color here. Try and think about the things which show positive elements of your character, and include those where possible, sometimes with a note about why they are relevant.
It’s Your Turn: The Next Steps to Get Hired to Teach Abroad
It can be scary trying to move (even temporarily) to another
You will meet amazing people and see amazing things, broadening your experience and getting paid for doing something you’re really good at.
If you’ve done a course in teaching English as a foreign language, it makes so much sense to use it, so get out there and get teaching.
Choose a country you want to visit, and start looking at the jobs which are available to you.
Narrow down your search, and start applying, remembering to check the protocol for applications in different countries to ensure you include all the relevant information in the right ways.
With these tips, you can look forward to some quick responses; you’ve just written a fantastic resume that will stand out to employers across the globe.