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Home / Tips to land your first online job
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When you’ve finished your online TEFL course and are deciding what teaching route to head down, online teaching is one of the most popular TEFL industries you can consider. Many teachers study a TEFL certification with the specific aim of being able to teach online whilst others decide later. There are also many teachers who start out online to get experience and then, when they have decided where to go and have saved some money, they find a teaching position abroad. Whatever your reasons, teaching online could be a great option for you!

Why teach online?

Teaching online can open up your access to different students, companies and lessons across the world. You are no longer bound to the local market and have more opportunities waiting for you. This is also true for access to higher paid online jobs in countries where the salaries might be higher than where you currently live.

You should also consider the convenience of teaching online. You can do it from your living room or anywhere else in the world that you want! It’s a great, flexible way to travel and work. You can pick your own schedule, choosing what hours and days work best for you. There are different companies that cater to different markets in the world, so there will always be a pick of ones that offer peak teaching times at a timetable that suits you.

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What sort of jobs are there online?

There are different ways that you can get into online teaching and a variety of platforms and companies you can aim for:

Working for a company or school.

This is one of the easiest ways to start out, by working for someone else. You don’t need to worry about the trouble of finding students or classes. Sometimes, you open up the availability you want to and sometimes you will be assigned fixed hours. You can find a company to suit you and how you want to work. The big downside of taking on a job like this is that you are paid the company rate and there is little flexibility on this. However, to build up some experience, it can be a perfect way to start.

Advertising on a platform

There are many platforms where teachers create their own profiles to attract students. You advertise your classes, timetable and decide your own rates of pay. There can be lots of traffic on these websites so it can be a good way to get students and have them pay the hourly rate that you want so you will make more than working for a company. The downside is that you often pay a commission to the website you create the profile on. Some of these can be quite high for teachers so you should work out the maths when you sign up for something like this.

Start your own business.

This way is the most lucrative way and the way you can work with most control over your lessons and schedule. Financially speaking, this is how you can make more money. However, it’s not an easy path to start out on. You need to find your own students, market yourself, set up different social media sites for your teaching business and build up a reputation. It takes some dedication but the pay-offs are worth it!

There’s no one correct way to teach online but many students start off with a company to get their teaching going, then think about venturing out on their own. After you gain the expertise of teaching online, you will feel more confident to do this and will have hopefully made connections to help you do so.

Read more > > Starting your own online business 

Landing your first online job 

Once you’ve decided how you might like to get started, you need to think about how to land your first online job. If you already have work experience in another area, there are many skills and steps that are transferable, so remember to bring this across too! Here are some tips for getting your first online TEFL job!

Spend time writing cover letters and doing applications

There are lots of jobs advertised every day. Some might be worth your time and some might not be suitable for you. However, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t dedicate some time going through the job adverts. This is also true for the applications themselves. Don’t rush through them. Employers can see from a mile off when someone has filled out a job application half-heartedly. You’d be surprised how many applications are rejected before the interview stage, first impressions count!

When asked to provide a cover letter, don’t just send a generic one that you’ve copied for every company. Recruiters see this all the time and can instantly be put off reading your application any further. Of course, there are naturally some points you will repeat when doing applications but you should try to tailor it as much as possible. Spend the time reading the company website and the job requirements, telling your potential employer why you want to work for them specially and how you would fit into their team.

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Apply for a variety of jobs

If you’re just starting out in the online TEFL job market then it’s better not to limit yourself. Apply for anything and everything that you’re qualified for and that interests you. It’s always good to have options. If you limit yourself to only doing two or three applications, there is a lot of pressure on you. Do lots and you will have more opportunities to pick from! Doing interviews is always good practice and you can decide down the line if the job is for you. A lot of teachers work with more than one company to build up full-time hours. So doing more applications is a good way to make sure this works for you.

Don’t apply if you’re clearly not qualified 

If the requirements strongly request something, then don’t waste time applying if you do not fit the criteria. For example, if the job advert states that you need a degree, then don’t apply if you don’t have one as companies are strict on this. It is wasting your valuable time and theirs. Some companies don’t allow you to apply again in the future. So if your qualifications or circumstances change and you are qualified to apply, you run the risk of your application being immediately rejected just because you applied when you didn’t fit the criteria.

Be responsive and prepared 

When doing applications or interviews, it’s highly likely that you will need to email or upload copies of your passport and qualifications. Make sure your documents are saved in a PDF on your computer, including your CV of course! Don’t worry if the company asks for these, it’s a normal part of the process to verify your profile and background.

Another important aspect of obtaining any job is to respond to emails within a reasonable time frame. Of course, you’re not expected to be glued to your emails at 3 in the morning but you need to reply promptly and check emails regularly. This creates a big impression on employers who don’t want to wait 5 days for a simple response about arranging an interview. If they are between two candidates and one is taking longer to reply to emails, then you can be sure that the more responsive candidate will be chosen!

Making a demo or introduction video 

A lot of companies will request a demo video or lesson from you to see how you are as a teacher. This is especially true with companies that teach young learners. You can prepare a video in advance to submit with your application. Make sure you have good lighting, good equipment and a quiet space to record this. 

This is your opportunity to show off your personality as a teacher. Make sure you are upbeat and approachable just as you would like to be for your future students. If your video shows no charisma or personality, then your application will be rejected. Dress professionally and imagine and be friendly!

Relax in the interview!

If you are invited to interview, it’s highly likely that your employer will have already decided that they would like to give you the job, pending a smooth interview. With the knowledge that the employer likes your profile and is interested in hiring you, just relax a little! That’s not to say that you shouldn’t prepare for the interview. But make sure that you come across as professional and approachable. 

The interview is also your opportunity to get a feel of whether you get a good impression from the company. Use the time to ask any questions you have about the conditions of the job. This will help you to also make a decision about working for them or not! Make sure that you do the interview in a quiet place, with a neutral background and of course, that your computer and camera are working well. If you do the interview with poor internet, this will put your employer off. After all, you are applying for a job to teach online!

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There are many opportunities for online teaching. These days and you can be part of that job market easily with the right steps. Make sure that you invest time in finding a job. This will pay off more for you in the long run. Be prepared with your documents and ensure that your application sells you as a teacher. This is your chance to show your potential employers the best of you. So you need to put in the time to do this!

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