TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a popular option not only for graduates but also for career changers. How you should write your CV best is depending on your specific background and the job specifications.
Guidelines, general qualifications, and experience are two crucial factors, but it’s good to note that different countries have different and specific requirements.
In most countries, you need to have a degree to obtain a visa, while TEFL qualification often comes in only as secondary. Most European countries, though, as well as a lot of organizations, require both a degree, Trinity Cert Tesol or CELTA certification, and relevant experience, also for entry-level positions. Further qualification, for example, a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics or Delta qualification, may be required for a higher-level position.
Joe Hallwood (TEFL expert at Guardian Careers) says that his company is recruiting for a large number of schools across the world that require only entry-level qualifications and no experience. Most teaching practice courses are of good quality, but be aware that they practically all offer pre-Celta TEFL training at entry-level.
If you want more information, check out: A guide to TEFL qualifications and Choosing the right TEFL course. When you want to get experienced, you can consider teaching for a year in a country that doesn’t require experience, engage in one-to-one coaching or tutoring, or volunteer as a teacher at some summer or residential course.
Prepare well for your CV
First, you need to find out what the crucial requirements are in the job description. These should be given a prominent role. You may also need to submit details such as your date of birth or your passport number for certain countries.
Try to keep your CV as brief as possible and highlight qualifications and skills like education, time-management, and presentation. Mention also if you lived abroad because this demonstrates adaptability and self-reliance. There is no need to have command of the foreign country’s language, though if you have some familiarity, you are likely to settle in faster.
Your name and contact information
Your profile (must be including qualifications, teaching specialisms, and experience)
Graduate (MA General Linguistics and French), Trinity Cert Tesol-qualified educator with three years’ experience in teaching general French, and exam preparation (Pet, Ket, FCE). Experienced traveler throughout Asia and Europe and Asia. Fluent in French. Career changers may be adding their relevant competencies. Technical or job-specific skills may qualify you for English for Specific Purposes, or for Business English, for example.
Professional Experience This should be placed before the section ‘Education’ in case you are experienced in teaching or if you are a career changer.
Here you give details about achievements, employers, responsibilities, and dates.
Literacy Academy, Paris, September 2012 – June 2014
Tutored groups of children, groups of adults, one-to-one, using Cambridge test preparation.
* Raised pass rate by 10% (from 76% to 86%) across Cambridge tests
* Increased enrollment in a children’s activity club by more than 30% in six months
* Designed French study materials that were implemented by four technical schools
* Positive tutoring performance appraisals on a regular basis
If available, you can include here endorsements from former employers
Joe Hallwood gives the advice to career changers to include all relevant non-teaching experiences. You can list your experience by theme in a separate folder and don’t forget to include employment details.
Internet Developer (sole proprietor) 2006 – 2012
Managing online projects to help local enterprises.
Performing “needs analysis” to benefit each client. Aligning business goals with time and budgetary constraints. Satisfaction of clients guaranteed referrals and repeat customer business.
Presenting web publishing packages and customizable e-commerce in seminars and workshops.
Coaching of students in web design and development of their skills.
Organization and planning
Organizing regular meetings to track progress and providing tailor-made project plans.
Education (If you don’t have relevant experience, you can put this section before the ‘Experience’ part)
Here you provide details of your TEFL qualification in reverse chronological order. You should include relevant details about for example your degree, in what ways you trained young learners English or Business English. Include also your extra-curricular activities like coaching or sport.
(You may also mention your interests and hobbies. Joe Hallwood advises to highlight the things that fit your personality, and include your interests that match the job description, for example, your sports activities when you apply for a summer residency camp).
Adding a covering letter may enhance your application. Make clear that you are very interested in the position. Give also examples to demonstrate your competencies as an engaging and confident teacher.