The best time to apply for a job teaching English abroad
.So you’ve just finished your TEFL course? You’re ready to tackle the TEFL world and start teaching English abroad! The TEFL world is your oyster. Whether you want to head to another country or start teaching online. You will want to get your application or TEFL CV sent just at the right time when schools are recruiting. If you send it earlier or later than the optimum time, there’s a chance that schools won’t reply to you as they’re not actively recruiting.
Some will say they will keep your CV on file and contact you at a later date. While there may be some genuine intention to contact you later if a job arises and you made a good impression, most schools will simply forget and take a look at someone who has applied at “the right time” over digging through their emails for a CV that was sent months before.
So when exactly is the best time to apply for jobs Teaching English abroad? This all depends on what sort of position you want and where you are applying for.
Language schools in Europe:
The academic year in Europe typically lasts from September to June so the main onboarding at language schools across the continent will be aiming to recruit for this period. Schools will often start recruiting from May the previous academic year so if you’ve got your qualification ready and your CV prepared, you can start sending these off to have a wider range of choice of locations and jobs to teaching english aboard. Getting your application in early will give you lots of time to decide on the right job for you.
Language schools continue recruitment until they have the staff they need so you will see jobs advertised all summer and even in September to cover any last-minute substitutions they need. Often, they won’t be sure as to how many teachers they require until September so more positions may open up around this time. However, bear in mind, the closer to the start date, the more schools might prefer someone who is already living in the same city, or you may be expected to jump on a plane very quickly to attend any pre-term training or meetings!
Recruitment can also be busier over the holidays as schools seek to replace any teachers that may have not any plans to return for the following term. This can be a good time to get a job fairly quickly and walk straight into teaching as schools will be keen to get someone in the classroom quickly. It may be the case that the school suddenly contacts you for an interview and wants you there within a few days for the start of the January term. Bear in mind that this can be a different experience from starting at the beginning of the academic year.
Your students will have been studying together for a few months, they will be experiencing a change of teacher and possibly, teaching style and you’ll be stepping into someone else’s shoes. This doesn’t mean to say that you won’t find a rewarding experience waiting for you, but being able to adapt quickly is key here! This can be a good way of spending a shorter time in a new city or country and then you can figure out if you wish to stay for the full academic year the year later.
The Middle East- year-round
These countries recruit all year round and you can find many jobs advertised to teach English aboard. Although the academic year starts around August/ September. Due to this, there is an increase in jobs advertised from January. Recruitment for some countries in the Middle East can take longer than in Europe so the positions are advertised well in advance. It can take time to process qualifications and visa applications.
In general, these countries tend to recruit all year round with China being one big source of recruitment, so you can apply for a job at any point in the year. However, countries such as Thailand or Vietnam tend to have more specific hiring periods (around May and November) to prepare for the school year. If you are thinking of heading to one of these countries, then this is the optimum time to do your application.
South America- December to February / July
The school year starts around February in South America. You will find advertisements from December onwards for the new academic year. They will also advertise again around July before the new term begins. One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of TEFL interviews are done face-to-face. You will have a greater chance if you are already in the country you wish to teach. It’s not impossible to get an interview online! Often teachers head out earlier, enrol in a language course and get to know the country. As they apply for teaching positions, they are ready to go for interview when called!
Summer schools: January-June
Interested in getting some extra earnings or spending the summer in a new place? Summer school may be a good option. The dates often fit perfectly in with the academic year finishing in Europe. You can finish your main job and then head off to somewhere new for summer. A large number of schools are run in the UK and Ireland as students spend the season improving their English.
Recruitment can start around January so you can get an idea of what your summer plans might be. Start looking out for summer job adverts around this time to get the best choice of jobs, locations, and salaries! However, summer schools often keep recruiting right up until the start dates. Accommodation and food are often included. Flights are often not, so take care not to leave it too late. You might find that the airfare is too expensive for you to take advantage of the opportunity!
There is a chance that if you are already working in a language school they will offer you some more work in the summer. There is no guarantee of the job as it will depend on the number of learners signed up. If you’re not already working in a school, then look out around May/June for any vacancies for intensive summer courses in the area.
Official English teaching programs: Fixed deadlines
Many official programmes in different countries recruit language teachers and teaching assistants, often for local secondary schools. These have strict deadlines for applications! if you’re interested in any of these, you need to be organised. Check the deadline for applying, depending on which program you are interested in. If you miss this, you may have to wait another year if it’s something you really want to do.
Here are some popular programmes, exact information about their deadlines can be found on their websites:
Japan- The very popular and demanding JET programme for English language teachers starts the application process as early as October for a start the following summer.
Hungary- The CETP programme in Hungary recruits all year round but recommends the earlier the better.
Please note the above are only examples of teaching programs, not recommendations. If you find an official teaching program, research if it is the right one for you and the requirements needed.
Online teaching: Ongoing with some low-demand periods
Applying for online teaching jobs is a little more straightforward than traditional in-classroom posts. Companies advertise positions all year round. Don’t see an advert for the company you are interested in? Head to their website and it’s very likely you’ll find an online application form there to fill out. Then, when the company needs teachers, they will contact you if they are interested in interviewing you.
It’s important to note that there are some quieter periods that might affect the speed of your application and onboarding to the company. The Christmas and New year periods might be a bit slower as students take a break. Also, any holidays that might have a big impact on the main market of the company you are working for. Chinese New Year is a good example of this.
Summer tends to be a quieter time as students all over the world take their holidays at this time. It doesn’t mean you can’t apply before or during summer. If you start working, you might also find there are fewer hours to go around but this will pick up when September approaches.
The above are the key hiring periods for different teaching contexts but there are jobs advertised all year round. There are always schools that need to replace a teacher or find a sudden demand for more classes. It’s not impossible to get a job at any point of the year. It’s important to know the peak hiring seasons so you have the best chance of finding a job!
While you are finishing your course, it’s a good idea to think about the type of job you would like. At this time, you can look for jobs that will give you an idea of the quantity of work available. The requirements for the type of position that you will likely apply for when you finish your online TEFL course!