You’ve finished your TEFL certification and you’re ready to take on the world. You’ve been in one country for a few years but you’re getting antsy and ready to move on and see somewhere new. You’ve been a teacher for a few years and you’re looking to move up to management. Do any of these sound familiar? Any time you want to make a change in your career you’ll need a new CV. So what will schools look for in your CV?
This really depends on where you’re applying. Be sure to google the country plus CV for country-specific information.
Generally, you’ll need to include your name and how to contact you (email, skype name, phone number). Some places will require more though, which is why it’s important to look for country-specific advice here. In some countries it’s normal to include a photo, birthdate and even marital status. Other countries would be horrified or confused to see that personal information included. If you can’t find a sample CV from the country of your choice, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep this section limited to just the basics: name, phone number, email.
This part is self-explanatory. You need to say what your level of education is. Start with your TEFL certification. Include the name, the grade you received, where you obtained it and the number of hours. Was there anything extra or special about your certification? Did it come with a specialization in young learners or business English? Include that!
Put your university degrees below that. Go in order from most recently completed to the first one you did. Include the institution name, location, dates attended and degree obtained. Maybe you didn’t complete your degree and are worried about including it. Don’t worry! It’s better to show some university than none. Maybe you majored in mathematics and aren’t sure how receptive English schools will be. In that case, you can add relevant courses you took. This is especially true for universities in the United States that require English and writing classes for all students regardless of major.
You don’t need high school information here unless you did not attend university, or you want to highlight something.
List all of your past employers here, for both paid and volunteer positions. You may not think that your volunteer experience matters, but employers like to see that you work hard to make your community nice and that you have passions. There are a couple different ways to do this. You can sort chronologically or do it by employment type. Here are a few styles to consider:
- Paid and volunteer positions mixed together and in chronological order
- Paid positions in chronological order before volunteer positions (also in chronological order)
- Teaching/leadership positions first, followed by other positions.
There are benefits to each way of ordering your CV and you’ll have to decide which way is best for you. If this is your first teaching job, the third option is probably best for you. You won’t be able to highlight an actual teaching job, but you can show your transferable skills!
Regardless of the order you choose for the experience section, each job listing will have the same information. You should include the company name, your job title, the dates you worked there and what you did. Some people have one general CV that they use for everything, but it’s a good idea to keep a CV just for teaching jobs. If you have marketing experience, marketing companies will want to see the results you achieved at your jobs. Schools won’t care about that as much as they’ll care about your proofreading or management experience. They want to see how your previous jobs prepared you for teaching.
If you’re new to TEFL teaching, you should check out this article about starting to teach without any teaching experience!
After experience, you should list your skills and qualifications. This is where you show off anything that will help you in the classroom. For example, organizational skills, working knowledge of MS Office applications and proficiency in another language. Your skills section is where you highlight any additional courses you’ve taken that might be beneficial in teaching. You wouldn’t want to include a night school Excel class in your education section, but you do want your future employers to know that you did it.
This section is less important. Many people omit it completely or write “references available upon request”. You could also have your reference write a general letter recommending you as an employee and send that with your CV or application. That way your references won’t have to answer the same questions again and again while you are job hunting.
Design and layout
Now that you have the components of your CV and know what order you will include them, you can start putting it together. For a teaching CV, simple is better. You don’t need fancy fonts, images or layouts for this job the way you would when applying for a graphic design job. There are several (very similar!) templates available online or in the editing program of your choice. Any one of those will work for this CV.
In fact, a creative CV might even work against you here. You’ll likely be applying for jobs abroad. It’s possible that the person reading your CV won’t have perfect English. They will also be looking at many CVs for one position. They will want to flip through them quickly to easily compare applicants. Needing to stop and search yours separately will probably be frustrating. That’s not the first impression you want to make.
Check the job ad for information about CV submission. If there aren’t any specifics, you can consider your email to be your cover letter. Even if you have to attach a separate cover letter, you should write a formal email. Would you want to hire someone who applied for a job like this:
Hey! I saw your ad and thought I should send you my CV in case you still need someone. Lemme know if you have any questions!
You should also attach your CV as a PDF file, not a Word document. It’s easy to convert your files to PDF. If you don’t have the option on your computer, you can find websites that will do it for you. Be aware of file names and be sure that you attach the correct file(s).
It’s a good idea to include a full signature. They’ll obviously have your email address, but they may want to call you. Sure, they can get your phone number from your CV, but including it in your signature makes it easier for them to find.
And, of course, use a professional email address.
We hope these tips help. Anything to add? Anything to ask? Leave a comment!