Home / Teaching English Online in 2023 – How to land your first teaching job?

With the new year arriving, it might be time to kick-start your online teaching career. Now is a perfect time as many companies are set up and established post-pandemic, and it’s easier to check out the good, the bad and the ugly of online TEFL companies! There are many opportunities for teaching English online and a lot of competition. This means you must have the right approach to find an online teaching job successfully!

Why teach online?

-Teaching English online can give you much flexibility in your work. You can decide your number of hours and what availability you have. If you prefer to work in the morning, you can look for a position in advertising classes this time. You can take control of your schedule and plan your lessons for what time suits you.

-If you have other commitments or even another job, online teaching works well, as you can find positions requiring just 10 hours of teaching a week. This is easy to do if you want to supplement your existing earnings with some online education.

-Have you ever dreamed of spending a month in Rome? Or maybe a few weeks in Barcelona or Istanbul? Now you can do this and continue earning while you travel. Teaching online means that you can take your work with you and explore! 


What sort of online jobs are available?

There are many different online teaching jobs advertised every day. It’s just about finding the right one for you!

-ESL companies: this is where a lot of the online TEFL work comes from. International companies hire teachers to teach their classes to students from all over the world. The company might specialise in one specific market – e.g. Latin America, China, so it’s good to check this to work out peak working hours. 

-Language schools: As many students started learning online during the covid-19 pandemic, language schools now continue to offer online lessons for their students who prefer learning that way. These contracts will mean that you will have fixed hours and teach the same students each week. You would be expected to teach these classes for the term, so there is less flexibility, but it’s a more unique role than working for a more prominent company. 

-Using platforms to advertise yourself as a teacher: There are many platforms where you can promote your classes at the price you want, which is a significant advantage over company classes. This will help you find individual students for one-to-one classes. The platform typically takes a commission from all lessons booked via their page, so make sure you work this out when thinking about how much you might charge. 

-Set up your students: Once you’ve become more established, you might want to take the plunge and set up your own English teaching business. This involves taking an active role in marketing yourself as a teacher and finding your students. You might work with other teachers to teach you if it goes well! This is the most profitable way to teach English online.

Teach English Online

First step: get your TEFL qualification!

To teach online, you need a minimum of a 120-hour TEFL qualification. If you already have experience teaching and a degree, then 120 hours could be the right course. However, suppose you don’t have a degree or any experience or are not a native English speaker. In that case, you might want to take a higher level qualification such as the Level 5 180-hour Diploma, which will give you the most extensive training for TEFL online or in the classroom!

Depending on who you want to teach, you might want to consider any extra courses you can do to set your CV apart from the others on the pile. For example, taking our 30-hour Young Learners specialist system is excellent if you want to teach young learners online. Our 60-hour Business English specialist course can help give you that extra knowledge if you’re thinking about teaching Business English classes online. Whatever the context you want to teach, our 60-hour Teaching Online and One-to-One course will prepare you to deliver the best English lessons online!

Writing your CV and cover letter

First, ensure your CV and a standard cover letter are ready. This can be time-consuming at first but will be worth it and make the application process much smoother.

Although you can prepare your applications, remember that each should be personalised for the company or school you are applying for. If you send a generic cover letter that isn’t tailored to the job application or doesn’t even name the company, most employers will discard it. Preparing your cover letter based on the job description shows that you have paid attention to detail and have taken the time to prepare your letter. Check your spelling, grammar and even font size of the letter before you send anything! If you’re an English teacher with spelling mistakes in their cover letter, this doesn’t bode well!

It’s essential that your cover letter addresses the job requirements and why you hold the necessary skills for the role. Remember, you are telling your potential employer why you are the perfect fit for the job! Address what they are looking for directly and explain how your experience and qualities align with these job requirements. 

Study TEFL

Have the right attitude. 

If you’re newly qualified and have no teaching experience, you must make sure you head into your job search with a cheerful “can-do” attitude. It’s better to make as many applications as possible, but ensure you take the time to do them well! This will increase your chances and give you more offers on the table for employment. The more options you have, the better!

As with any other job field, sometimes you might start in a role that isn’t your dream job or that might be slightly lower pay than you would like. Everyone has to start somewhere! Remember that working for ESL companies online can be a great way to build up your experience, even if you do this for a year. After this, you will know your CV and be able to aim higher or find a higher-paid job.

Running your own business and finding your students isn’t something that will happen immediately, especially if you are new to teaching English online. It takes some experience and know-how. Once you’ve got a more practical idea of how online classes work and how to get students, you can start building up your student list. It’s always good to do this alongside more stable teaching for a company or a school until you’ve enough students to go solo!

Check the requirements 

Each teaching company or school will have their requirements for their teaching positions. Make sure you check these thoroughly before you apply, or you might be wasting your time. Some conditions might be “preferred” or negotiable, such as speaking another language or having years of experience. If the company asks for three years and you have two years of experience, it might be worth applying anyway and selling yourself well! However, if the company requires a degree to teach and you don’t have this, then it’s probably not worth applying.


Finding TEFL job adverts

It might be a long process to troll through all the sites every week looking for TEFL jobs. However, you need to put the work in to get something out of it. A popular site is TEFL.com. There are many job sites, so bookmark the ones you think are useful and update regularly. 

If you want to find out what it’s like working for a specific TEFL company, there are lots of blogs available to give you the real low-down from former or current teachers. These can be incredibly useful for finding out things like availability and payment schedules but remember. They can be very biased. If a teacher has had a poor experience with a company, it might be a red flag for you. However, it could also be a one-off situation that shouldn’t stop you from applying to work for them.

Create a good impression in your interview. 

If your application has impressed the employers and you’ve been invited to interview them, this is a great sign! Typically the more prominent companies will have already decided to employ you if they ask you to an interview and want to meet you “face-to-face” or check your internet speed! Be friendly and approachable, just as if you were meeting your students. Don’t forget to set up in a quiet space with a good internet connection, camera and microphone. 

This is perfectly normal if you are asked to do a demo lesson or prepare a video! Put effort into this, as it will show your employers what you can do. You can demonstrate to them that you are a great teacher! Use Youtube or check online for people who have already been through the process with the company. You will find some good advice!

It may seem like a lot of information, and it can be overwhelming to get started. Follow the simple steps, and this will make your job hunt easier. Remember to put effort into finding work; you will gain more out of the search!

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