Why Personality Matters for TEFL Jobs

Thinking of becoming an ESL teacher but feel you lack the right personality? Think again! You may be more qualified than you know. There is a whole range of different experiences and life situations which go into shaping an ideal candidate for an ESL position.

Personality differences

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It’s true that overseas schools are looking for evidence to show how you are confident, fun and interesting. This is because you’re going to need those qualities to keep your students interested and motivated in learning English. 

You also need personality and confidence to be able to deal with living abroad in a new culture.

In many cases, personality can be more important or as equally important as your teaching experience and TEFL qualifications. Recruiters and schools will want to know that you have the courage to work on your own without constant support.

They also want to know that you can handle the challenges of your first few months abroad without doing a runner, but how do you showcase this? 

Here are number of tips for you to display the greatest aspects of your personality within your CV when applying for a TEFL position.

What Makes Me Unique?

Include a sentence or two at the top of your CV that showcase your personality. Here are some of the unique responses that we’ve received from our teachers. Can you spot the one that isn’t oozing personality?

    • Although I’m 29, I am still clinging on to (what is left of) the part of me that doesn’t want to grow up! Thus, I feel I can relate well to all my students.
    • I’ve never seen Snow White! Nor do I have any desire too! That doesn’t make me unique but my information in my resume does.
    • A quote I live by: “What you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do.” -Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
    • I love crafts and am very creative – one year I even dressed up as a fish tank for Halloween! I won first prize in the costume contest that year.
    • I was involved in a drama production called The Demise of Imam Faustus. I played the roles of Satan, Vanity and Jennifer Lopez.

Work experience

Have you ever been a leader of a Boy Scout group? Organized events? Have you built houses for charity in another country? These, plus many other types of work experience that show leadership or show that you are a positive or caring person, are great ways to showcase your personality to future employers.

Extracurricular 

This can easily be construed as one of the most meaningless parts of a CV, especially if you write something like, ‘I like to read and socialize with my peers’ or ‘I enjoy reading, hiking and listening to music.’

Instead of writing something that has absolutely no bearing on the position you’re applying for, use this section to impress potential employers with extracurricular activities that are in some way related to your sparkling personality or activities that are related to your job.

Talk about how you love a good challenge, whether it’s rock climbing or sky diving. Write about events that you’ve hosted, classes that you’ve taken, or activities that have involved working with young learners.

Get creative! These are the things the employers wants to know about. They don’t care that you read all of the Twilight books and are most of the way through The Hunger Games.

Been traveling? 

TEFL employers want to hear about the travel experience you have had. Why you ask? Travel experience can show a multitude of personality aspects, such as your independence, adaptability, or outgoing spirit.

Having been miles away from home in a far off country shows how well you can adapt to things like culture shock; this shows the employer you aren’t going to run a mile when you don’t have your home comforts around you.

Tailor your application

Not every ESL job position is looking for that energetic, creative, fun-in-your-face teacher. These teachers may be well suited for summer camps or young learners, but other employers, such as Business English schools, also have their own ways of working and they are looking for somebody who can adapt and fit into their systems.

So it doesn’t matter if you are like a firework explosion of creativity or if you are slightly more reserved and methodical, there’s something to match all personality traits.

No matter what your personality is, from shy to extrovert, there really is something for everyone. Use these five handy tips to promote the best parts of your personality and you should be well on your way to landing that TEFL job you thought you couldn’t get. 

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