Typically, getting a job in EFL is not difficult. As there is such a demand for teachers around the world, you’ll find that employment comes relatively easily. However, some roles are better than others. There can be a vast disparity between what schools and institutions offer you, and it’s worth your while to look around for different options before you jump on the first offer you receive.
So what should you consider before applying for work in EFL? I’ve tried to put together a little guide on getting the job you want!
Find A Good Fit
Wherever in the world you look for a job in EFL, there is likely to be a million options. Especially if you look in a city. So be picky to start with. Use all the resources at your disposal to find out which schools and institutions in the area have the best reputation. You can use search engines, teacher review sites, Facebook groups for that area, etc. Try and find somewhere that has affiliations with other companies or examining groups, as they usually have standards to adhere to and are less likely to be ‘Cowboy Employers’.
Once you’ve found one or two that you think could be great, do your research. What courses do they run? How many teachers do they have? What kind of management structure is there? All of this information will help you to adjust your CV accordingly and also know who to send it to.
Craft Your CV
When I applied for a new role a little while ago, I had to dig out my CV from the deepest depths of my computer hard drive. Suffice to say, it wasn’t ready to send anywhere. Having not used it to apply for anything for at least 5 years, I needed to update it big time. Here are some things I tried to keep in mind;
Nobody wants to read a CV that runs for 5 pages and lists all of your jobs since you were 15 years old. Nor do they want to see endless qualifications listed, unless they relate directly to the job you’re applying for.
So be choosy about what you include, both in your professional experience and qualifications. It’s okay to adjust your CV for every role you apply to. You should have clearly marked sections for your professional background, qualifications (with final grade included), other skills such as languages or other relevant competencies, and perhaps a small section on interests. Your CV should never exceed 2 pages!
No decent employer would ever call your referees before they have interviewed you personally. So you can stop worrying about a surprise phone call to your boss. Usually, at the end of any chat you have with your potential employer, they will ask you if it’s okay to call your references.
So make sure to update these as much as you would any other part of your CV. I don’t want to hear about your talents from a university professor that taught you 5 years ago. I also don’t want a million options to choose from. In general, you should include one professional reference and one personal. Make sure that your professional reference is someone who has supervised you directly and was fairly recent, if not bang up to date.
It’s also a good idea to warn whoever you put down that they may be contacted, as they get time to consider what to say and are not caught unawares.
For more tips, have a look at this guide on creating a good CV from the International House group – CV Advice
Write A Decent Cover Letter
Where I work, we get a lot of CVs. But that’s all, just CVs. Which is mildly frustrating. If you wish to pip the competition to the post to get the job you want, include a cover letter with your CV. Nothing elaborate, nothing over the top. Just let them know that you’ve chosen their establishment for a reason, not just fired off a million CVs to everybody in the area.
Personalising the letter to each job you apply for will massively increase your chances of being invited for an interview.
Typically, a job interview in this field will take place in two stages. First comes the meeting between yourself and whoever is responsible for hiring, whether it be on Skype or face to face. Secondly, if they are happy with you, an invitation to teach a few classes under supervision. This second stage doesn’t always happen, although I strongly believe that it should.
It may seem obvious, needing to let them see how you teach. But I see teachers who are unwilling to be in front of a class until they have a contract signed. Frankly, this seems a little ludicrous to me. You should always be ready to do a few supervised hours of class, even if they don’t mention it straight away at the interview.
Not making yourself available for this could have unfortunate consequences for your application.
It’s very important to know if the job you’re applying for suits your needs and ambitions. So fire away with the questions! Interviewers appreciate somebody who doesn’t jump in feet first, but takes the time to make sure it’s a good fit. Apart from anything else, asking questions makes you seem interested and alert during an interview, so go ahead!
Here are some things you might like to consider asking about;
- Timetable commitments. What kind of hours you will be expected to work each day / week.
- Planning / Contact time. Do they provide any contracted time for planning?
- Pay. It’s an uncomfortable subject for many people, but important to know before you dive in!
- Opportunities for Professional Development.
- Support Network. Who is there to help you as a teacher?
Many more things could be included here, but in the interests of not blowing them away with question, I would consider these to be the most important.
Any tips on getting an EFL job? Anything to add? Let me know in the comments below. Happy Hunting!