How To Write A Good ESL Resumé (CV)

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We are often asked how teachers can improve or build upon an ESL resume. The biggest mistake that you can make is to use a standard run-of-the-mill CV template. If you tailor your CV to highlight your skills and experience properly, getting through the first step of the hiring process should be a breeze!

Don’t you hate it when you apply for a position and never hear back from anyone about it? This happens all the time in the world of ESL, simply because of the sheer number of teachers that are interested in moving abroad. School directors and ESL placement coordinators look for specific information in your CV, and if that information is missing, it’s possible that you might not receive a response on your application. Someone who sees potential in your application might ask you to update or add to your CV. If that happens, keep this article in mind, please.

If you’re thinking about teaching abroad, there are some key steps that you can take to ensure a potential employer takes a serious look at your resume.

List your education and teaching qualifications at the top of your CV. Many countries require teachers to have a full university degree to get a proper work visa, but there are schools out there that will take teachers with an AA degree. TEFL certifications are second in importance to education, but more and more schools around the world are making a TEFL certificate a hard requirement.

Speaking of requirements, it’s also important that you apply for teaching positions within your reach. When you apply for a teaching position that you’re not qualified for, it’s likely that you’ll be rejected for that position. But what most people don’t realize is that employers might think you’re not serious about the position you’re applying for or that you didn’t take the time to read the position requirements. Either way, it can leave a bad impression.

If you want to be taken seriously for the job you’re applying for, make sure you meet all the position requirements.

List your TEFL qualifications after your education. Courses with observed teaching practice are excellent, but if you don’t have that kind of certification, don’t sweat it. For more information, see TEFL Courses Explained for more information.

Add an image to your CV. While this practice is generally frowned upon in North America, bear in mind that you are applying for a position overseas and your employer will want to know what you look like. Besides, it’s a proven fact that CVs with a personal photo attached get three times the number of views.

Include your birthdate at the top of the page. It’s relevant and required by many schools.

Use keywords on your CV. Many employers and agents, including Reach To Teach, search CVs by keywords such as curriculum development, phonics, team teaching, etc. Add some keywords to your Additional Skills section to round out your CV.

Make sure you use a clear title and summary on your CV that is relevant to your experience and to the position that you are applying for. In other words, don’t send your accounting CV in for a teaching position.

Keep your experience current. Most employers aren’t interested in seeing every job you’ve ever had listed on your resume. If something significant occurs on your CV, especially if it’s in regards to teaching, make sure it’s listed. Jobs that you’ve held for less than six months are best left off.

Build on your experience. If you don’t have formal experience, you can include options like one-on-one tutoring, coaching experience, volunteer teaching or summer camp experience.

If you’ve lived or studied abroad, make sure you include this information in your skills section. Experience abroad shows that you are adaptable and independent. Many applicants mention overseas experience in their cover letters, but the details are no where to be found.

Avoid using common buzzwords, such as experienced, team player, and excellent communication skills. Think of a way to show your experience in a careful and thought out approach. School directors want to know what your skills, qualifications and experience entail, so don’t be afraid to sell yourself.

So there you have it. Follow all these tips, and you should have yourself a pretty nice ESL resume.  Do you have any career tips on how to write an ESL resume? We’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to read our article on 12 Ways Your Resume Says “I’m Unprofessional!”.




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C. Venter - 2017 - Teaching in China

Thanks to the help and hard work of my recruiter at Reach To Teach, my journey to China was such a smooth and nearly stress free process. I have now been happily living in China for 6 months. Thanks, guys.

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