Crafting the Perfect TEFL CV
The dreaded CV. There is nothing complicated about a well crafted TEFL CV, and yet, they give nearly everyone anxiety. Nobody wants their application to get the Tinder treatment; swiped left–rejected with barely a glance. Job hunting is always a numbers game, but if you follow these guidelines your TEFL CV will get the attention it deserves.
Contact Info BIG and Bold
At home, employers look at your name and skip the rest. For TEFL employers it is a different story. They can glean a lot of important information from your contact info. Is this person a native speaker? Are they currently in a country or coming in from abroad? Don’t make them search for your most basic info.
Include a Photo
Why should I include a photo? My appearance has nothing to do with my ability to teach.
True enough, but look at from their perspective. You’re the director of a language program. You pay foreign teachers a wage well above that of local teachers. You are able to do so because parents are willing to pay extra to have a native speaker teach their children. Image counts. You need teachers who appear professional. If Mr Perfect CV shows up looking vaguely like a pirate and smelling like wet garbage, the parents are not going to be happy. You are going to lose students. You are going to lose business.
TEFL teachers are representatives of the organization that employs them. Include a photo; something simple, professional and current.
Education and Training
Employers will unfairly rank your area of study in university. If you studied English Literature no worries. On the other hand, if you studied Music History… That is why it is really important to be specific about your TEFL qualifications. If you took the time and effort to complete a 240-hour master TEFL course, spell that out clearly. It could be the difference between the bottom of the stack and the top.
But, I don’t have any!
Take a deep breath. A lot of new TEFL teachers are faced with this problem. The trick is to be creative. Were you a lifeguard? Spin that. Bullet point all the ways you organized, planned, communicated, taught. Were you involved with any organizations at university? Spin that. And if you are really worried, fix it. Volunteer at a local language school. A couple of free Saturdays will fill-in your TEFL CV and probably earn you a good reference as well. Most importantly, remember that English language programs are very forgiving about lack of experience. New teachers always find work.
Oh, and don’t worry about time gaps. This is your TEFL CV, not your LIFE CV. Only include experience that directly relates to the business of teaching. Unless you can spin it, the fact that you were a barista at Costa Coffee for six-months back in 2014 is irrelevant.
List them. Make them relevant. Be sure to include both their phone number and their email.
Better yet, get them to write a letter of reference that you can include with your TEFL CV. Prospective employers might not contact your references, but if they are interested in you, they will read the letters.
Include a video
Make a video introducing yourself and post it on YouTube. Then paste a link on your TEFL CV. Let prospective employers hear you speaking in a slow, clear voice. Let them see that you are professional and poised. Show them that you are the kind of person who makes the extra effort.
Proofread, Teacher. Proofread.
Grammar mistakes and typos are unforgivable on a TEFL CV. You are supposed to be an English language expert. Would you get on an aeroplane if the pilot was in the cockpit, pushing buttons and asking, “Hey, what does this one do?” Proofread. Give your CV to someone in your TEFL program to double-check. Don’t send it until you’re 100% sure it’s clean.