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Job Search

If you’ve undertaken and passed your online TEFL course, then you’ll be at the stage where you’re ready to think about jobs or are in the process of applying for them. Like any job search, the process can be time-consuming and you might not have your dream job offered to you on your first try. It’s understandable to feel demotivated when things aren’t going your way in the job search. However, there are some things you can consider to help you in the process.

Why aren’t I getting hired?

This isn’t about being negative or thinking it’s all your fault. It’s about thinking about how you can help yourself get employed and what changes you might need to make in your application to stand out more. If your CV isn’t getting anyone’s attention in your job search, then revamping it would be no harm.

Do you meet the requirements?

This is an obvious one but still often overlooked. Check the ‘essential requirements’ of the job advert. If you don’t meet these, it doesn’t mean that you can’t apply. Sometimes there is some wiggle room, e.g. if you only have 2 years of experience rather than the 3 they are asking for. It never hurts to have a go and apply for a role you really want, but if you don’t get a reply, don’t take it too personally if you were never technically a match for a role in the first place, especially if there are other candidates that do meet these requirements.

Is my cover letter too generic?

Employees can see through copy and paste right away. They look at hundreds of CVs and cover letters. Of course, some information will be the same (your background, experience, etc), but the letter should read as if it’s aimed at the company/school you’re applying for. Ensure you include the name of the school, address, the job profile, and why you fit the criteria for the role. Go through some of the key points and demonstrate how you hold these characteristics – this will show the employer that you have prepared the application well and in a more personalised way for the role.


Remember, we never know how many applicants applied for a certain position or what their CVs looked like. Sometimes, you feel that your CV and application letter are truly a great fit for a job, but you still don’t get chosen for an interview or make it to the final stage. It doesn’t always mean that your profile isn’t a good one; there might just be someone else who is a better fit for the role.

There is competition out there, so it’s important to make your CV and application stand out to fit in with the other teachers who also want the role. Remember that while there are a lot of teachers these days, English is also a key global language, and there are many opportunities advertised every day.

What can I do?


Unfortunately, companies don’t reply to all applicants in the early stages as there are often too many people to respond to. However, in the later stages of the process (interviews, teaching demos), the company is much more likely to give you feedback on why you weren’t selected. If they don’t tell you, ask them for it. Don’t take it too harshly and utilise what you can to improve and get the job next time! Express interest in your CV being kept on file for future opportunities, as this will show a good attitude.

Look for your own students.

If you’re not having a lot of success finding a teaching job online and want to build up your hours, you might want to consider looking for your own private students. This way, you can charge more per hour. This isn’t an easy process; getting your name and teaching reputation out there can take time. There are many websites where you can advertise your teaching services.

Once you have a few students, it is easier to get more as reviews and word of mouth spread. It just takes that effort at the beginning to get started, and things start to grow! Consider building a website and social media profile to attract students and let them know how to get in contact with you. Ask your former and current students to leave you a review, as this will help you gain more traction.

Join Facebook groups

Adverts can be placed anywhere these days, and employers are using social media more now than ever, especially for online positions. Join the relevant TEFL groups (e.g TEFL in …(your country) or Online TEFL jobs) to get access to more adverts. You can also talk with other teachers about their experiences. You never know, they might be able to recommend a good company to you!

If you have an interview with a company, you can search for other teachers’ experience. They might give you some tips, including typical questions about what the company is looking for. You shouldn’t learn any answers rote, but knowing what you might be asked for is a good way to prepare better.

Get into a job hunt routine

Job hunting and applying for roles can be very time-consuming. It’s easy to spend hours and hours on this, and it can get you down. Set out a clear time period to do this. For example, you could set yourself just 1 hour daily to look for opportunities. Then you write them down and set yourself time to apply for them. Having some structure and time limit will improve your mood while job hunting. It’s no use spending all day looking as you need to give it time for new opportunities to be posted.

An interesting approach is always ensuring you apply after any rejection email you get. This way, you can counteract a negative with a positive and be more proactive about making positive change. Small things like this can really help you feel better about the job search process.

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Continue expanding your CV

If you have lower work hours, take the opportunity to add them to your CV. This might be taking an additional specialist course or attending a TEFL conference. This is all part of professional development and should be ongoing. Utilise any free time you have to do this to help your profile stand out more. Being able to teach a certain niche will add to your value as a teacher, so if you use your time wisely, you can build up to this.

Be proactive

Employers like to see that people are keen and actually want to work for them. In your job search, if you see a job advert that expires, take the time to email the company and let them know you’d be interested if they recruit again. If you haven’t heard back from an interview after a reasonable amount of time, send a polite message to ask about the status and express how you would love to be considered. Be careful not to be too impatient. Ask in the interview when you can expect an answer and whether there are more interviews ongoing. A productive, positive attitude can go a long way.

Focus on success.

The internet can be a dangerous place for your motivation. There can be a big focus on people’s negative experiences. Of course, these experiences can sometimes help you know what to avoid. If you read that a certain company isn’t paying their teachers, you might want to note this as a red flag and avoid them.

However, for your mentality, it’s important to hone in on the success stories – there are thousands of teachers successfully working and happily so. Remember, these people don’t tend to post so much about this online. It’s when you have something to complain about that you typically post so that the forums can be more overwhelmed by these types of posts. Focus on you and your own success.

A good way to read more about successful TEFL teachers is to check out blogs and YouTube channels. These teachers will write more about their experiences and highlight their success in a way that will be more motivating for you than someone complaining about their job on social media. If you have questions, you can also email or message them. Most will be happy to offer more information about their experience or advise them however they can.

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It takes time…

As with any other profession, getting the job you really want can take time, especially for online teaching. As you build up your experience and knowledge, this will become more and more attainable. You might have to take a slightly lower-paid job at first or work different hours. This is all to add to your CV and expertise to be worth it in the long run.

If you’re not getting anywhere with your applications and job search, take a step back and look at your profile to see if you’re missing anything. Ask someone in the industry to have a look at your CV or ask for feedback from schools. All of this will help you improve your job profile and get noticed. Remember, positivity is key. Keep at it, and good things will come!

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