You’ve scoured the internet for hours on end trying to find the “next big thing” in your life — when, behold, you discover the TEFL internship! Not only did you stumble upon the often-hard-to-find paid internships by chance, you really hit the jackpot. You can get paid, learn a ton of new skills, make a positive difference in the lives of others, AND add a healthy dose of adventure in your life. Whoo hoo!
But don’t mess this up. Not just anyone is cut out for the world of TEFL internships, and there are a handful of best practices you can adopt to ensure your application is placed in the “Yes” pile. Just follow this advice and you’ll be booking your plane ticket abroad in no time at all.
1. How to fill out a great application form
First impressions matter, whether they are via the internet and digital world or physically, in-person. So start off your TEFL internship experience on the right foot — with a great application.
This is not the time to be humble. Tell us why you are an incredible candidate and why you will make our next great hire. Make sure you clearly articulate and explain your potential to us; you have just a few seconds to capture our attention — and we want you to take advantage of it. Increase your chance!
Demonstrate your skills set rather than telling us. If you can weave your skills sets or experiences into stories rather than facts, we will be drawn in, intrigued, and more likely to respond to your application form with a follow up interview.
Provide relevant info
Like any good job hunt, you should convince us that your past experiences have helped prepare you for the task ahead of teaching English abroad. No, your experiences do not necessarily have to be classroom based or purely in the world of education. After all, there are plenty of skills that teachers use on an everyday basis (improv, chaos management, empathy, listening skills, etc.) that don’t only translate to past teaching gigs.
On the flipside, if you are going to talk about a work, internship, or school experience that does not neatly align with the life of a TEFL intern, make sure you connect the dots for us. We can’t jump from Point A to Point C if you don’t fill us in on the Point B that makes it relevant.
In short, provide relevant experience when possible. If you’re stretched thin for that, think deeper about the skills developed in your past experiences, how they will benefit you in the classroom, and how you can incorporate that explanation into your application.
Proofread, proofread, proofread!
This may feel obvious to you but we want to reiterate: proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing convinces us of your inability to teach English to ESL learners more than frequent typos in your application. Improper grammar or misspellings don’t instill much confidence. Have a friend look it over or come back to it with fresh eyes in 24 hours. Trust us on this one.
Just the facts, ma’am
Don’t pull a Joey and put false information on your resume or application. We want to have full faith in your application form that you are telling us information about yourself that is true, now. We don’t have time to suss out what is fact. So do us a favor and make it truthful from the beginning, its your best chance.
2. Look the part
Part of applying to TEFL internships is uploading a few photos of yourself. Exercise your best judgment when giving us a peek into how you present yourself as a professional, as a teacher, as someone representing not only your home country, but Premier TEFL as well. Just in case you need more concrete, less abstract advice on how to succeed at this…
Say it with us: neat and tidy
We are talking Sunday church as a kid here. When you take a photo for your TEFL internship application, make sure that you are wearing clothing that is modest and pressed. Try to tame those flyaways and double check that your teeth don’t have spinach in them. The background of your image should be plain and not attention-grabbing. Think a white wall or a nice grassy field.
In short, be professional. Put your best foot forward. Don’t cut corners.
Not the time for piercings and purple hair
We LOVE that you are a creative soul who expresses themselves through their jewelry and colorful locks. You rock! But, unfortunately, many of our partners overseas are less keen to employ ESL teachers with such flair. When they think foreign teachers, they think professional, conservative looks. They want their students to focus on past participles instead of your purple hair. If you can temporarily sacrifice your funk for the sake of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime job op, you will more likely get said one-in-a-lifetime job op.
Are you prepared to shave your beard?
A clean-cut look is all we are asking for during your TEFL internship application, but be prepared that there may be some schools out there that don’t allow their teachers to have facial hair, period. We know — it sucks. But again, as hiring norms are different internationally and we are the ones entering into these foreign communities, we must be prepared to make changes to adapt to their needs. Even if those needs aren’t being surrounded by sexy mountain men.
3. Got the interview?
Take some advice from Scar and sing it with us: “Be prepared!” Arm yourself with the information, facts, and stats needed to really Wow! the pants off of us during the interview process. Remember: we are sizing you up not only for your TEFL potential, but also in relation to how our international partners will feel working with you. There is a lot riding on us as we consider whether or not you are a good fit for the program, and we take that responsibility seriously.
Know the format of the interview
Is it on a Skype phone call? A Google Hangout video call? Understand the specifics of your interview format so you can avoid an awkward technical glitch and spoil your first impression, reducing your chance…
Come prepared with questions of your own
You know at the end of the interview when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us?” and it is immediately followed by crickets and/or “I don’t think so…” (*trails off and glances sideways*). This is your chance to SHINE! Show them you’re invested and thinking longterm about job prospects by inquiring more thoughtfully about your concerns. Make yourself memorable.
Send a follow up email
Thank the interviewer personally for taking the time to speak with you and offer yourself up for additional questions should they need more clarification. Reiterate that you will take the job seriously, that you are reliable, and that you plan to treat the partners, the local community, and the new culture you are entering into with respect. Show us you mean it.
That’s a wrap!
Now that you have increased your chance of becoming a TEFL intern, let’s discuss the more fun stuff… like, what souvenirs you’re going to stock up on? 🙂
Still have questions? That’s what we’re here for. Contact your friendly Premier TEFL experts for a callback.
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