How to stand out in the TEFL jobs market
TEFL is becoming a more and more popular choice for people to choose now. The advantages of being able to travel the world, teach students from almost any country, or even start your own business draw people in. More and more people choose to become TEFL-qualified and get into the TEFL jobs market. There are many opportunities out there if you want to be a TEFL teacher. Which one you choose depends on your preferences, experience and background.
Many newly trained TEFL teachers decide to move abroad to teach in schools. There are positions all over the world to do this. They often involve teaching students extra-curricular English in language schools and delivering one-to-one lessons. There is also the option of teaching in public schools and universities, although these positions are more prevalent in Asia.
Let’s not forget the latest option for TEFL: teaching online. Online TEFL teaching has seen a boom in recent years and continues to be hugely popular for teachers and students worldwide. There are different schools or companies you can work for online, or you can choose to work for yourself. You can even start your own online teaching business with your student list.
The TEFL jobs market
With so many opportunities, there is also the competition of other teachers who might have similar qualifications to you. For every application or job interview you go through, you should always think about ways to stand out in the TEFL jobs market and how to get that job on your first try. That’s why we’ve compiled a checklist for you to consider to get yourself noticed by future employers.
Of course, the first thing on your list should be getting TEFL certified. You won’t stand a chance in the TEFL jobs market if you have the proper qualifications, regardless of your background. You should research your best TEFL course based on your profile and experience. Taking a fully comprehensive approach will stand you in good stead and equip you with the critical TEFL knowledge to deliver lessons anywhere in the world or in the virtual classroom.
Make sure your TEFL course is accredited, as employers will check this. If you’ve undertaken a system that isn’t recognised, you’ve wasted time and money. Employers won’t feel you’ve had the best possible training to work with them. An employer is much more likely to hire a teacher with accredited training than one without. You can check accreditation on the TEFL company’s website, where their accreditation information will be visible. If it’s not, then ask the company for this. If you don’t get a straight answer or a reference number, then it’s not a good sign!
Don’t stop there…
Getting your TEFL qualification is a great feeling, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to your foundation TEFL course. The more courses you can do and have on your CV, the more confident you will feel that you have the knowledge to take on any class. This is especially useful if you are newly qualified and looking to land your first job, as it will give you that extra boost on your application and confidence!
You should look into taking some specialist courses to enhance your CV. That way, you will stand out more than those with only one TEFL course. TEFL courses for online teaching, young learners and Business English are instrumental in the TEFL jobs market, although this will vary depending on the country you want to teach in. Think about the type of teaching you see yourself getting involved in and pick the courses to suit you.
A lot of teaching jobs in language schools involve teaching young learners. If you are considering getting a job in this type of school, undertaking further training in teaching young learners would be a good idea. Employers will be impressed that you have this knowledge and will be more confident in your abilities to teach these classes. It will also help you prepare to teach young learners if you haven’t got any experience with these types of learners.
Take the time to review your CV and write your cover letter
No matter what your background, you can take any experience you have and apply it to teaching, so you must sell yourself here. Remember to keep your CV easy to read and don’t clutter it with too much information.
A cover letter is one of your first chances to impress your potential employer, so don’t call it in when writing one. Take the time to draft your cover letter carefully for each application you do. You can start with a base letter but must change it based on each job you apply for.
Employers can tell immediately if you’ve just uploaded a generic cover letter without referencing the company or the position you’re applying for. It creates a wrong first impression, and they will unlikely look at your application further. Ensure that you refer to the requirements of the job and the school or company you’re applying for. This shows the potential boss that you’ve taken the time to read the job advert (you’d be surprised!) and you’ve thought about how you fit into this role and the company.
If you’re a newly qualified teacher, you can still sell yourself based on the skills you picked up via your education or other professional experience. Create a good impression and let the employer know you’re willing to undergo further training and learn on the job. It’s essential to be open to professional development and let future employers see this positive attitude. Be sure to include this in your cover letter. It’s beautiful to recognise that you need more experience; show you’re willing to get it!
One of the most important things you must remember is proofreading your CV and cover letter! In any job, application documents with typos create a terrible impression, but as an English teacher, this will reflect even worse on you if your grammar and spelling aren’t up to scratch! If employers read an English teacher’s cover letter with spelling mistakes, they are unlikely to continue reading. If you don’t put the time and effort in, they also won’t put the effort in to continue your application.
The power of social media
Having an online presence is essential if you’re looking to get your students and build up your own business online. If you want students to want to learn with you, then consider having social media accounts for your teaching business. This way, students can get to know you and your teaching style more. If you have a successful and professional English page, you might include this in your TEFL jobs application to show employers how marketable you are.
The social media network you choose to focus on will depend on your target audience and what’s popular these days. English teachers are doing very well on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, so these are worth considering. However, if you’re aiming for a more formal, professional look, LinkedIn is a way to reach young professionals for Business English lessons.
Make a good introduction video.
Many online teaching companies these days want some introduction video that shows who you are and what your teaching style might be. Make sure you make it the best you possibly can, and even spend some time editing if you’ve got any video skills!
Record the video in a quiet space with a plain background, as this will reflect your teaching conditions, too. Remember, this is your chance for potential employers to see how you come across to students and it could be the difference between getting an interview or not.
You might also be asked to film a demo lesson. This is your chance to showcase your teaching skills, so prepare well. Be friendly and approachable on screen so that employers can see how your classes would be and will be more likely to hire you.
Prepare well for your interview.
Create a good impression in your interview. Find a quiet space if it’s online, and be punctual. Consider how you might answer the questions they might ask you (you can look up some common ones, too). Whatever you do, don’t prepare and recite answers, as this can come across as robotic and unnatural. Questions about your teaching style, experience, and what you might do in certain challenging situations (e.g., a noisy class or a low-level student) are common.
As with any job application or interview, you must put the effort in to ensure you stand out amongst the other applicants. Your CV, cover letter and introduction videos can make the difference between getting the job and not. Try to stand out here and show your potential employers what you can bring to the role. Tailor each application for each job you apply for to stand out against the generic applications employers receive.
Your qualifications should also stand out, especially in terms of teaching experience. So think about your continuous professional development and consider taking further specialist courses. All of this combined will help you stand out and become a TEFL teacher everyone wants to hire!