Help with writing a good TEFL CV
If you are going to be looking for teaching English work, either paid or voluntary, then having a good TEFL CV is a gret help! At our sister organisation Global English we see hundreds of resumes and CVs from TEFL teachers and trainers every year and it’s surprising how even CVs from the most well-qualified and experienced TEFL teachers can still shout ‘NO’ to a prospective employer.
But CVs often contain a number of problems which hold the potential new TEFL teacher back. Here are the most common problems we see, along with some solutions and fixes…
3 common CV problems:
1) Wrong CV emphasis – equal weight given to non-teaching jobs/experience
2) No personal profile or ‘human’ appeal
3) Poor layout
Let’s look at these one by one.
Wrong CV emphasis
When writing a CV you may be tempted to list your jobs in chronological order, explaining your current job first. Don’t, unless your current employment is teaching. The first rule of CV writing is not to make your prospective employer hunt for key information. Structure your CV with a ‘TEFL qualifications’ header and ‘TEFL experience’ header near the top because this is the key information the employer will be scanning for.
Under the headers include lots of TEFL-rich details; what books you have used e.g. Headway, Business Result etc., as well as levels you have prepared for. If you have done any service work in a mission setting, briefly describe the type of classes you have taught – children, adults and any 1:1 work.
Include key strengths you possess especially if you can back this up with comments from students, mission placement supervisor or a trainer. Admittedly this part is harder if you have no experience but you can still write about your course in some detail to show an employer the areas you have covered and excel in. So dig deep.
If you have non-TEFL experience, that’s good too. We suggest giving less detail about irrelevant jobs but highlight any training, materials development or presentations you have done in these roles. Your CV should shout s ‘TEFL teacher’ as much as possible and not ‘former insurance salesman who’s just done a TEFL course’.
No personal profile or ‘human’ appeal
Always include a personal profile right at the top of your CV which should be an overview of you in 2 -5 full sentences, so the employer gets a sense of the person behind the bullet points. Sound enthusiastic and upbeat. ‘I’m an enthusiastic qualified EFL teacher keen to ….’ Always attach a smiley passport-sized photo.
Is your TEFL CV nicely spaced out? Is the font too small? Are there clear headers under which the relevant information fits logically? Employers may sift through 20 or 30 CVs at a time so if you make sure yours is user-friendly your potential employer will already be ‘warm’ to you. Don’t frustrate them by running onto more than two pages. If you have to use three or squash it into two, it’s time to trim! Remember Ð two pages is optimum.
The last word
If you have spent time and money on a TEFL course, don’t throw it away with a poor representation of your efforts. Take some time to make your CV stand out. An employer is asking themselves ‘why this person?’ when they look at your CV. Make it clear and easy for them to find the information that says you fit the bill.
The next step is succeeding at TEFL interview. With just a bit of preparation and thought, you can make the CV and interview process work in your favour. And stand a much better chance of hearing the words ‘You’re Hired!’ Good luck!
In the meantime
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