Teaching English as a Foreign Language can be a very forgiving industry. While some countries and companies may have strict requirements to work for them, there are so many options out there. Most options don’t require that you be perfect, especially at first. Don’t have a degree? No problem. English is not your first language? Whatever. You don’t have much experience? Welcome aboard! If you’re wondering how do I get a teaching job with no experience, teaching English abroad without experience is not only possible but incredibly common.
The truth is, as it is with any other profession, you have to start somewhere. Just as Haruki Murakami said, Everybody has to start somewhere. You have your whole future ahead of you. Perfection doesn’t happen right away. While it may be a little too deep or cliche to answer a common and simple TEFL question, it is entirely applicable. If each and every school only accepted teachers who had experience, there would be no teachers.
So before you doubt yourself and your ability to become a TEFL teacher because you are lacking in experience, ask yourself how would I get a job doing anything if you were simply born into this world without experience? Experience isn’t genetic, after all. I’m getting carried away, but let’s explore the ways on how you can get a teaching job with no experience.
Tips on How to Get a Teaching Job With No Experience
Now you know that you can get a TEFL job abroad without experience, there’s no reason you should stop there. You should not be complacent because you’ve got your answer, you should go beyond that. By going the extra mile, you can not only get a TEFL job but you can get positions in more desirable locations with a better salary. Here are a few tips for getting hired as a newly qualified TEFL teacher.
Apply For An Internship
Possibly one of THE best tips on how to get a teaching job with no experience is by applying for an internship. On an internship, you’re not required to have experience, it’s entry-level. And yet, you’ll receive training, a guaranteed job, a salary, and much more. It’s the perfect way to introduce someone into TEFL. Experience or no experience, it allows you to see whether the country or the job is the right move for you.
Take it from me. I applied for Premier TEFL’s Vietnam Internship without any teaching experience. I received work placement, a salary, accommodation, and transport to and from school every day.
Not only that, I was placed with around 50 other like minded teachers. As cheesy as it sounds, I made plenty of friends and life changing experiences. My friends and I, neither of whom had teaching experience, were offered a full time teaching job after our internship. A few years later, I’m teaching in Thailand with the same friends I made from my first ever TEFL internship. This is all thanks to the internship which allowed me to gain first-hand teaching experience abroad.
The internship is not only a fantastic way for those who have no experience to teach English, it’s an amazing introduction into the world of traveling. Having no TEFL experience means that you might have some concerns about your first adventure. All of your worries are taken care of, as you’ll have an orientation week and program coordinators ready to help you at every turn. Most internships will also place you in a location which has a thriving expat community, meaning you’ll meet so many people that you’ll struggle to remember their names.
Incorporate *Any* Experience That You May Have
While you may not have any direct TEFL or teaching related experience, you must have some experience. We can change the question from how to get a teaching job with no experience to how to get a teaching job with no DIRECT experience. Be sure to spin any previous experience that you’ve had, in whatever industry, to bolster your chances of becoming hired.
For example, many first time teachers will have previous experience in retail or hospitality. While they aren’t directly related to teaching, there definitely are transferable skills. These industries require a lot of communicating with customers. Highlighting this can reinforce that you can articulate yourself in the classroom. If you are sociable enough to greet people, you come across as someone who is pleasant and personable.
And let’s be honest, working in these industries requires a lot of patience. Nothing tests your patience more than practicing the customer is always right when they’re actually not. Dealing with difficult (to put it politely) customers can translate to dealing with difficult students in the classroom.
Additionally, any experience of supervising children will be beneficial to your application. Did you work at a summer camp? Or do you have experience babysitting, even if it’s for a single evening? Employers want to know that who they’re hiring are competent around children.
Make Your Resume Grammatically Perfect
While we’ve already established that you don’t need to be perfect to become a TEFL teacher, your resume should be. Not the resume’s content, but the resume’s language. You shouldn’t have to lie about your experience, but you should become a grammarista.
If you’re going to become someone who facilitates learning in the classroom, you shouldn’t have mistakes on your resume. The resume is your chance to demonstrate your vocabulary and communication skills thoroughly. By making mistakes on the piece of paper which should exemplify your skills and professionalism, you’d be contradicting yourself.
Invest time and effort ensuring that your resume is not only free from mistakes but exemplifies high standards of English.
Include a Cover Letter & Demo Video
A way that you can demonstrate enthusiasm towards the job you’re applying for is by including a cover letter. Here, you can explain why and how you would be a good fit for the employer’s school. Furthermore, you can explain to the employer why you want to visit the country in order to convince them that you will adapt quickly into the culture. An eagerness to live in this country evinces cultural sensitivity and independence, traits that your employer will surely desire.
Additionally, don’t be scared to include a demo video in your application. Some employers may require this beforehand, others will not. If your company or employer does not, it is still a good idea to include one.
We know that it can be embarrassing to hear or see ourselves boasting about ourselves on video. However, visually demonstrating your personality, enthusiasm, and communication skills. Communication isn’t only about speaking, so be sure to include plenty of body language. This will make employers favor you as it will demonstrate that you’re capable of Total Physical Response (TPR). TPR is a skill and method which is fundamental for TEFL teachers to have.
When applying for a position teaching English abroad without experience, you need to be persistent. Not a pest, but persistent. By following up on applications and including more than the bare minimum through cover letters and demo videos, you’re being not only persistent but proactive.
Prepare for the Interview
If a company or employer requires an interview, it is best to prepare yourself and not to just wing it. This can be done by researching about the school and their country’s culture, and having a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview.
Researching about the company or school demonstrates that you’re serious about working for them. Having a list of questions ready also does this, but shows that you’re proactive. Ending an interview with no questions shows not only a lack of interest but passivity.
Profess Your Culture Intrigue
Not only do you want to work for this particular school or company, you want to embrace the country’s culture. It’s a big deal to be moving abroad. You won’t just be traveling, you’ll be living in a new foreign environment.
Employers will want to know that you are interested in culturally immersing yourself in this community. You’re not just there to kick back and visit the beach or hit the bar, after all. As a teacher, you’ll be included as a valuable member of the community.
It is also important to show that you will be able to deal with the new forms of cultural etiquette that your destination will present. This will show to your employers that you’re able to transition into the new culture without any hiccups. While culture shock is almost always inevitable, actually wanting to experience this culture will show to your employers that you can thrive in their culture and ultimately their workplace.
Gain Experience by Volunteering
If you’re still unsure about your skillset or experience, you can gain experience by volunteering. Volunteering will show to your potential employers that you’re proactive in your efforts to secure a TEFL job.
While of course you want to be paid for your labor, volunteering can be a necessary boost in your job search. Not only will it lead to a good reference for future use, it may even lead to direct employment. Volunteering as a worker at a summer camp or a school would attest to your skills and personality when convincing employers why they should hire you.
Teaching online is also another way to gain experience as well as a salary all within the confines of your own home. Teaching online allows you to practice and develop your teaching skills before entering the physical classroom.
However, it is also a sustainable form of income, whether you want to teach in-person or not. Many teachers, whether new or seasoned veterans, opt for the virtual platform for a career. Its flexibility in terms of schedule and working from home (or anywhere you like) has many teachers choosing it as a primary form of income.
However, if you are still adamant that you want to teach abroad, teaching online beforehand can be an excellent taster. It allows you to develop rapport with students, whether children or adults, and develop your skills as a teacher. With each lesson you’ll grow in confidence which will make a difference not only in your TEFL application but in the classroom.
Who To Apply For
Now you know the tips on how to get a teaching job with no experience, you just need to know where to look for opportunities. Because not all companies or schools are looking for teachers that are new to the industry. Some will desire teachers who have 5+ years of experience, but let’s not think about that. Let’s focus on how to get a teaching job with no experience.
TEFL Internships with Premier TEFL
As previously mentioned, the TEFL internship is possibly the best option for teaching English abroad without experience. Premier TEFL has a wide range of TEFL internships spanning from Asia, to Europe, to South America. Do you want to slurp delicious noodles in the bustling markets in Asia or learn to tango in South America?
Our internships will offer fully inclusive programs to help you get settled into your new country and classroom. Internships typically offer;
- A 120 hour accredited online TEFL course
- Accommodation or accommodation assistance
- A One week orientation
- Visa assistance
- 12 week teaching placement
- Ongoing & emergency support
- A salary or stipend
Internships will vary in their requirements. Some will require that you be a native English speaker, others will require that you are simply fluent. Some may require a degree whereas others won’t. There are plenty of options for those who are eager to teach English abroad.
Premier TEFL offers internships for both native and non-native English speakers. As long as you have a strong command of English and the enthusiasm to teach, you’re likely to find a spot teaching English abroad. Those that DO NOT require you to be a native speaker include;
Read about how you can boost your chances as a non-native English speaker
If you are a native English speaker, you can apply for the internships above as well as other locations such as;
- Vietnam TEFL Internship
- South Korea TEFL Internship
- Thailand (Chiang Mai & Nationwide) TEFL Internship
- Germany TEFL Internship
- Poland TEFL Internship
Work for an Online Teaching Company
The landscape of online teaching has seen a dramatic shift as of late. This came with the decision of the Chinese government to crackdown on foreign teachers teaching Chinese students remotely. However, there are still plenty of options for those wanting to teach online.
You can earn a decent salary working for a company which facilitates your student acquisition and your lessons. Some companies will be more structured or restricting than others, by providing you the curriculum or requiring a set amount of hours throughout the week. Others will allow you the freedom to work whenever you want and to tailor your own curriculum. Some of the companies that you can work for online are;
Read more about non-Chinese companies that are still hiring online English teachers
Go Freelance – Be Your Own Boss!
If you’re leaning towards teaching online, you’ll be pleased to know that you can be your own boss. Set your own schedules, set your own rates, design or adopt whichever curriculum. The choice is yours, well, because you’re your own boss!
There are many ways you can go about this. You could use an external company or platform to facilitate your services. This means that you can acquire students from this company, however, the company may take a small fee from your earnings.
Another way is the old fashioned way, to start from scratch. You can create your own website and advertise your services in order to acquire your students. This means that you can set your own rates without having someone taking a percentage from it.
Find out more about how you can teach online independently
Now I Know How To Get a Teaching Job With No Experience
Now you know! . As long as you have English proficiency and also the enthusiasm to teach English to a classroom of eager students, TEFL is right for you. There are many ways that you can improve your employability, from presenting demo videos to potential employers to gaining voluntary experience. Or, you can dive straight into an entry-level job through our available TEFL internships.
It’s important to remember that TEFL is a popular option for both young and old globe trotters. You will meet countless teachers that flew across the world without a trace of teaching experience, as well as those that were teachers back in their home country. Like I said previously, TEFL is a very forgiving industry for those that lack directly related or formal experience.