Tricks and Tips for Finding a Teaching Job Abroad
You have your TEFL certificate in the bag. What’s next? Take out a world map, choose a country where English is a second language. Then, once you’ve picked the country you want to teach in, you need to do your research and find the perfect teaching job in that country. This may be the first job you are applying for, and it may all seem incredibly daunting because at the end of the day you leave school and they haven’t taught you how to apply for a job.
But have no fear! I have prepared a crash course for you in job hunting and applications. Which job is a good job and how do you sell yourself to them? What is this cover letter everyone is asking for? All of this will be answered below.
How to Present Yourself
Building your personal brand is one of the most important things to do, while at the same time one of the most difficult things. No one likes boasting about themselves, well some people do, but not most. I always find it so difficult to write the dreaded cover letter, ‘ why do I deserve this position’ eek because I did the course and I want the job. No not quiet. This is more about letting the employer know who you are.
The cover letter lets them know if you will fit into their company personality well or not. Every company has their own way of working and the employer needs to ensure that you will be comfortable working in their environment. So don’t let the cover letter intimidate you, it’s not a final judgement it’s just so you can be properly placed in an environment where you can thrive.
The cover letter must be written in a professional tone and be to the point. First, let them know why you are contacting the company. Then highlight the reasons you will be the best fit for this position. After that end off with next steps or some kind of line which ensures a follow-up.
“I am contacting you in connection with the ESL teaching position you advertised.
I have recently completed my TEFL course with the 120 hour practical. I am excited to begin my adventure in China and I feel your school is the perfect supportive environment for me to do so.
Please find my resume attached here, and do not hesitate to contact me for any further information.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
The above is an example of a cover letter, precise and to the point. Have a further look online for other formats or templates if this doesn’t suit you.
Finally, you will put together your resume or curriculum vitae (course of life in Latin) which is a quick summary of education, work experience and achievements. If you have no work experience or achievements don’t worry everyone has to start somewhere. Add in your interests or hobbies as well as some goals for the future. Keep your resume to one well-formatted page. Again there are hundreds of free templates online to assist you with the formatting
Where to Look
First, ask friends who have already taught overseas or some who are currently teaching abroad. They will know the best websites for the areas as well as the reputations of the various schools. You can also ask advice from your TEFL school as they will have experience in where is best to source jobs. Be careful as many people go through agencies to be placed in positions. This is costly as well as unnecessary, it is easy enough to find yourself a job. If you are feeling terribly unsure then no harm in an agency just costly.
A great website for Thailand is Ajarn – though it’s in Thai – they have job posts, advice columns and a good reputation for being on the teacher’s side. Then there are also lots of Facebook groups for various teaching jobs around Asia. Once you have joined these groups the members are usually very helpful at contributing advice for new teachers.
Of course, Saxoncourt also has job openings all over Asia. Check out the Job Board to see who’s hiring now.
What to Look for
When searching for the right job it is important not to be charmed by unrealistic job posts. You will find many scammers and posts too good to be true.
Ways to check if a post is legitimate is to be properly informed. Know the going rates and salaries in that area. Do a background check on the school. Look at their website, social pages and check the validity of the site the ad is posted to. A great way to find this information is to join teacher forums and ask advice.
The main thing to look for is to know the industry standards and question it if the school differs in any way. For example, hourly rate, working hours, and leave days are all pretty standard with legitimate language schools. Be informed and you will be fine
Job hunting can be stressful or it can be a walk in the park. The best thing to do for it to be a smooth process is to be well educated and informed on the industry before applying for the positions. Once you have done your research and have your facts, then start the application process. Be clear about what you want and what the company is able to offer you. The more you do it the easier it becomes, I hope the above helps to get you started.
About the Author
Tatum Condon a 27-year-old South African girl with Irish family. Her dream growing up was to be a mechanical engineer for Formula One’s Team McLaren. Any sport which is in water, she does it. Even if the water is frozen, count her in. She is currently teaching and living in the land of smiles, Thailand, while sharing stories of my life adventures and experiences. She hopes you enjoy.