Preparing a Winning TEFL Resume
You’re freshly TEFL certified and ready to hit the job hunt—hard. You have your sights set on <insert dream country> and haven’t stopped daydreaming about their <insert tastiest food> since you first heard word of this whole “teaching English abroad and getting paid to travel gig.” Since you’re one giant leap closer to making your TEFL internship goals a reality, it’s time you set yourself up for success on securing that TEFL job. It’s time you update your resume.
But what makes a winning TEFL resume? What’s going to make that school principal or hiring committee move your resume from the “applicants” pile to the “candidates” pile? What will ultimately land you an English teaching job abroad?
Read on to learn how to make your TEFL resume shine as bright as can be.
What you must include
A focus on transferable skills
In the instance that you’re not coming to the table with tons of prior teaching experience under your belt, you’re going to want to think hard about how you can highlight the jobs, volunteer projects, and education experiences you’ve had that lend themselves to preparing you to be the best teacher possible. AKA transferable skills.
These include, but are not limited to, skills such as…
- Teaching anything
- Time management
- Project management
- Problem solving
- … and more!
Who is worried about a TEFL resume with no experience now?! Maximize your TEFL resume focus on the transferable skills that teaching requires.
Relevant work history
It’s great that you were a lifeguard between your junior and senior year of high school, or that you helped your aunt out at the Girl Scout Council. And while some folks will tell you to include your entire professional history in a resume, we’re here to tell you NOPE. Instead, focus your work history on jobs and work experiences that are relevant, demonstrate your transferable skills ^^, and are timely to the position (you probably don’t *really* remember the teaching skills you picked up at Vacation Bible School when you were 13).
A professional email address and Skype ID
It’s time to retire
or your Skype username
. These just won’t cut it now that you’re trying to find TEFL jobs abroad. You don’t want a job’s first impression of you to be your middle school avatar, do you?
Since you only have a few seconds to make an impression, you want to capitalize on their initial opinions by having a professional digital presence.
Goes without saying: No grammar/typos
Triple-check your resume. Highlight all of the text, change the font color, and check it a fourth time. Have your annoyingly anal friend give it a once-over. This is NOT the time to risk typos or grammar errors, especially since you’re trying to convince them you are an expert in the English language.
What not to worry about
It is 100% okay that you are coming to submitting a TEFL resume with no experience. Everyone has got to start somewhere—it’s just a matter of communicating what makes you a GREAT hire so when that opportunity comes along, someone is confident in taking a chance on you. If you stick to these four pointers above, hiring personnel will gloss quickly over the fact that you’ve never had a teaching job before (especially since you’ve already completed your TEFL certification and practicum teaching hours!).
Further, don’t sweat it if you don’t have a degree unrelated to teaching/education. Truth be told, most recruiters are just looking to see your level of education for visa purposes and are less concerned with how this translates into your ability to be a good ESL teacher abroad.
Don’t forget: You need a stellar TEFL resume objective
Before you even *THINK* about applying to a TEFL job, you need to sit down and think hard about your personal objective. Without establishing the “why” (your motivations) behind the “what” (getting a TEFL job abroad), you’re going to find yourself willy-nilly applying and considering possible jobs that don’t even align with your goals. BOO.
To write your objective, think about…
- Do I want to work in a rural area or city?
- Do I want to work evenings and weekends or prefer traditional daytime working hours?
- Do I want the school I work for to have an ethos I share?
- Do I want to make big bucks or am I okay with earning a decent living?
- Do I want to work with adults, children, teens, college students?
- Do I want a partner / co-teacher?
- Do I want to use a pre-determined curriculum or build my own?
Once you have clear answers to the above questions, your TEFL resume objective will practically write itself!
TEFL resume samples
Whether you’re a European filling out your CV or an American tweaking your resume, here are a handful of TEFL resume examples to get your juices flowing.
TEFL course resume template
TEFL Certification—120 Hours, Premier TEFL Fall 2018
I spent 120 hours completing ## modules, ## lesson plans, ## hours in front of students teaching, and reading ## chapters on best practices in the TEFL classroom.
Teaching Children Specialization—30 Hours, Premier TEFL Fall 2018
I added additional coursework so I can excel at teaching ESL to children. I spent 30 hours learning X, wrote ## lesson plans, etc.
Related work experience resume example
Online English Teacher—VIP Kid 2018-present
I work with ## students, aged # to #, as their primary English tutor, including developing and delivering ##s (dozens) of effective online English lessons in listening and speaking.
Volunteer Conversation Partner—Valparaiso University 2015-present
I spend two hours weekly as a conversation partner with ESL students at my university. I now have friendships with 10 students from Saudi Arabia, China, & Korea.
TEFL resume example with no experience
Here, put your education at the top of your resume, with your TEFL certification program details mentioned first. Follow this specialization with your university course information or high school graduation credentials.
Next, insert your related work experience. Remember to focus on your transferable skills if none of your jobs clearly link to your future job as an ESL teacher.
Lastly, share volunteer or personal experiences that you think will strengthen your case as a candidate for the TEFL job. If you have traveled or lived abroad extensively, put that here (they love teachers who are adaptable to new cultures). If you have volunteered with the elderly and hope to have older-aged students, put that here as well.
You got this!
Your TEFL resume will get you hired STAT
There’s no doubt about it: If you follow our above advice, your TEFL resume will be sitting pretty on the top of the pile in no time. Follow a TEFL resume example but be sure to add in your own highlights and personal objective. You’ll be receiving your first paycheck before you know it!