You’ve decided you want TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language), great! But are you wondering how to go about finding and landing your first TEFL Job? This is where we can help you. For all the information you need to know about TEFL Jobs, keep reading!
What types of TEFL Jobs are there?
There are 2 main types of TEFL Job: Abroad or Online. We’ve laid out what each of them offers below and it’s important to consider which type you think would suit best before you start applying.
TEFL Jobs abroad tend to be in a traditional classroom setting, and you’ll be teaching large groups of younger learners, teenagers, or a combination of both. Positions are usually in state schools, but there may be private or language school positions available as well. Your daily hours will depend on what type of school you’re teaching in. For public and private schools, you will be teaching during the day Monday – Friday, and for language schools, your hours will often be 3 evenings a week, plus Saturday and Sunday during the day.
There will often be a set curriculum to follow and, although you will be responsible for lesson planning, you should have all the relevant materials provided. You may also have a local teacher with you, acting as a teaching assistant, to help with classroom management.
Contracts are often longer, usually a minimum of 12 months, and weekly hours are equivalent to an average working week in the UK (e.g. 35hrs/week - including prep time).
Employment packages for TEFL Jobs abroad can include great benefits like accommodation, flight reimbursement, and bonuses (depending on where you want to teach), and you’ll be able to explore an entirely different culture and amazing locations in your free time.
You will, however, need to make sure you meet the minimum visa requirements for whichever country you’re applying to (these should be made clear on the job advert), as lots of countries will require specific documentation to be able to apply for a legal working visa for their teachers.
Although some companies have minimum hours to complete and the contract lengths vary widely, you usually won’t need to commit to as much time as an in-person role when you’re teaching online. TEFL Jobs online are generally more flexible, with most employers giving you the option to set your availability and how many hours you want to work per week. This means you have the option of working full-time or part-time, to fit around your existing schedule.
Online TEFL employers have a wide variety of students, so you could be teaching any age group and specialism, from Conversational English to young learners, to Business English to adults. Class sizes also tend to be a lot smaller, if there are any group classes, and most of your lessons will be one-to-one.
There may be a set curriculum to follow but it may also be completely up to you! The topics will often depend on the needs of your learner, so you will need to make sure this is discussed in or before your initial lesson.
With online TEFL jobs, you’ll be able to work from home or from wherever you are in the world as a digital nomad. Online TEFL employers are also usually more open to hiring teachers from a variety of different educational backgrounds and countries, as you don’t need to meet the specific visa criteria that in-country positions often have.
For online positions you’ll need to make sure you have a good laptop or desktop computer, a good quality headset and microphone, a webcam (if your laptop or desktop doesn’t have a hi-res in-built one), and access to reliable WiFi.
Where can I find TEFL Jobs?
If you’re looking to work overseas, then there are a variety of ways these types of jobs are advertised. You can find and apply for overseas roles on either an online TEFL Jobs site, like the LoveTEFL Jobs board, via an agency that acts as an intermediary for different schools, on school bulletin boards or local newspapers if you’re already in-country, or via a Google search for schools in the location you’d like to go to. If you’re finding schools directly, these applications will be more speculative, as you won’t know for definite if they have any positions. This method of application often gets a positive response, however, and they will usually keep you on a reserve list for when positions do open up, if they don’t have any current vacancies.
If you think you’d be better suited to online roles, then online TEFL Jobs sites are your best bet. We’ve already mentioned the LoveTEFL Jobs board, but another great one to look at is Dave’s ESL Café. We’d also recommend joining Facebook TEFL communities, as online employers will often post roles in these groups, if permitted. Going directly to an online employer’s website, if you already know which one you’d like to work for, is also a great way to find out what their current vacancies are.
What will I need to be able to apply for a TEFL Job?
This will depend on whether you’re applying for online or overseas positions, and whether the employer or country you’ve selected has any requirements that you need to fulfil. This is something we’ve already mentioned but, to go into it in a bit more detail, some countries will need their applicants to have a degree, be within a certain age range, and/or hold a specific passport, in order to meet the requirements of the legal working visa. Some employers, especially in competitive locations such as the Middle East, may also ask for proof of previous teaching experience. Make sure you check the job advert thoroughly and ensure that you have all documentation required before you apply.
This is all the documentation you may need. We haven’t yet covered what you will definitely need, and that is a TEFL certificate, a TEFL CV, and an introduction video.
For your TEFL certificate, we would advise against getting just any certificate! You need to make sure your qualification will be valid for paid work and recognised by employers around the world. Most paid positions will require a minimum of 120 hours of training, but you’ll often need a lot more if you want to rise above the competition. Your certificate will also need to be fully accredited and regulated by a reputable and independent organisation, like Ofqual in the UK (associated with the UK Government), to ensure it’s recognised by employers worldwide.
If you haven’t got your TEFL certificate yet, and want to make sure you select one that meets all the requirements (and will train in some lucrative TEFL specialisms), just check out our TEFL courses page. You can even get started today, to make sure you have your certificate as soon as possible.
For key information about how to create the perfect TEFL CV and introduction video, keep reading!
How do I create an amazing TEFL CV?
The key things you need to remember for your CV, when applying for TEFL Jobs, are:
- Keep it to 2 pages maximum, ideally 1 page if you can – employers tend to prefer having less to read and the easier you make it for them, the more they are likely to get a positive first impression of you. You also need to remember that your employer might not always speak English as a first language, so making points clear and concise will help ensure key information is understood.
- Make sure you include your name and contact information. A small, portrait photo of yourself is optional, but TEFL employers prefer CVs with images on.
- Include a short personal statement or about me section – this is your chance to demonstrate what you, personally, will bring to the role. Make sure all your points are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Include your educational background and work experience – go chronologically, starting with your present role/area of study and working backwards. If you don’t have any teaching experience, make sure you highlight any transferrable skills from your previous roles.
- Get some top tips from previous graduates on Facebook groups and communities – lots of people have been through this before and they can offer some great insights!
What is an introduction video?
An introduction video is a key part of your application for a TEFL job, as it introduces you to your potential employers. It’s primarily for them to be able to look at your manner and get to know you a little bit before your formal interview, to assess whether you would be a good fit for their students.
Need some top tips for creating a great introduction video? Check out ours below:
- The basic structure should be:
- Personal introduction – your name, where you’re from, where you’re based now, your experience, your skills, and why you would be perfect for this job. Keep it brief, as you will expand on these points later
- Experience and qualifications – the order doesn’t necessarily matter, but it’s best to start with whichever is more relevant to the job. For example, if you have a TEFL course but no teaching experience, start with your qualifications first. And if you don’t have any teaching experience, make sure you highlight the transferrable skills from your other roles. For example, if you’re a Marketing Manager that has run training programmes for your staff, highlight the fact that you had to teach new subjects to a group of people and monitor their progress
- Why you want to TEFL – what are your reasons for applying for this role. Use the job advert and your research to inform your answer
- Why are you choosing to teach in a classroom/online – briefly explain the reason that you have chosen the type of TEFL role you’re applying for. Make sure your reason will appeal to employers. “I chose to apply for roles in Thailand as I want to attend full-moon parties every night” would not be well-received
- Closing – thank them for watching and provide the best way to get in touch with you (mention that your contact information is on your CV)
- Make sure the background to your video matches the students you’re looking to teach. If you’re aiming to teach younger learners, your background should be bright and engaging. For adults, a clean white background is best.
- Keep your clothing, manner, and environment professional and appropriate for a teacher. You shouldn’t be able to see your bed or any personal items in the background, you should be dressed smartly and appropriately, and your language should be respectful and not include any slang or swearwords.
- Make sure you have the right equipment before you start filming. You need a good quality camera and microphone, so you can show employers what your lessons will look like to students. They won’t be impressed if they can’t see or hear you properly.
- Smile and be friendly and approachable. You also need to make sure you match your energy level to your target audience. For younger learners, employers are looking for bright and energetic people that use teaching methods like TPR. For adults, you can be enthusiastic but more sedate and less bouncy!
- Make sure you’re speaking clearly and at a moderate pace. Try to make sure you are pronouncing everything clearly, so that it can be easily understood by those that don’t speak English as a native language. This will introduce your ‘teaching voice’ and show employers that potential students will find it easy to understand you and progress with their learning.
How do I prepare for my TEFL interview?
Research, research, research! We can’t stress this enough. Before you attend your TEFL interview, whether it’s online or in-person, make sure you do your research on the company or school. Find out everything you can about your potential employer: what are their values? What does their average student look like? What impresses you about the company? What do they offer that’s different to other schools/TEFL employers? People love compliments, and your interviewers will be no different! If they can clearly see that you genuinely care about the position and the company, they are much more likely to offer you a role.
You should also research and prepare answers for the key questions that they are likely to ask you. These will usually fall into 5 categories:
- How will you adjust to life in another country?
- Do you have a lot of travel experience?
- Do you have any experience working with online platforms?
- How will you manage your time as an online teacher?
- When are you looking to start?
- What age or level of learners would you prefer to teach?
- What length of contract or hours are you looking for?
- Where would you like to be placed? (For roles abroad that offer multiple destinations)
- Do you have a police check/can you get one before your contract begins?
- Do you have the correct equipment for online teaching?
- Do you have your TEFL certificate?
- Do you have any tattoos/piercings we need to be aware of? (This is important for online and overseas roles. You will usually need to be able to conceal any tattoos you do have, to make sure they aren’t visible while you’re teaching.)
- Do you have any medical concerns?
- Teaching competency
- How would you teach a grammar point? (Refer to your TEFL course for tips!)
- How would you ensure you’re sensitive to other cultures when teaching?
- How would you motivate a student that was having a bad day?
- What would you do if your student kept using their native language instead of English in your lessons?
- What are your strengths/weakness when it comes to teaching?
- Language awareness
- How would you introduce the present perfect tense?
- How would you teach colours to young learners?
- Can you use phonemic script?
Another key point is making sure that you dress to impress. Even if your interview is online and they can only see your top half, make sure you wear a smart suit or business attire. First impressions are very important, and making an effort with your clothing demonstrates respect and discipline.
You also need to make sure you’re on time to your interview, so plan ahead. Time management is especially important if you’re interviewing in person and need to reach a specific location, as you will need to route plan and account for traffic etc. You want to show potential employers that you are organised, reliable, and that you will be on-time and prepared for your students.
What are some final top tips for TEFL Jobs?
- Make sure you don’t waste your time sending out applications to anyone and everyone. Carefully read each job description and make sure it’s right for you before you apply. You’ll just be wasting your time and the employers if it isn’t something you really want to do.
- Include a cover letter, if you can, and use it to show who you are and what you could bring to the role that would benefit the employer. Make it personal and direct, so they can see the advantages of hiring you before they even meet you!
- Research how to do a demo class, in case this is something you’re asked to do in your interview (not all employers require it). There are lots of good examples on sites like YouTube and make sure you practice until you are really familiar with all the steps. You’ll be able to show the interviewer that you’re prepared for anything and can keep your cool under pressure.
And, remember, with each of our TEFL courses you will get a guaranteed job interview and a pack of 50 free lesson plans when you pass! These added benefits will make it much easier to get started with your job hunt and hit the ground running when you find your perfect role.
If you have any questions or want to speak to someone before you book your TEFL course, just register your interest on our course pages, and one of our friendly TEFL team will be in touch.