Published 12th March 2020
If you are a newly-qualified TEFL teacher who is now looking for the job of their dreams, welcome. Welcome to the first step on the adventure of a lifetime. You may already be feeling a little nervous about your first day in the classroom, but don’t think about that just yet – there are still a few steps you need to take to get there. Because we are the helpful and ever-so-friendly people that we are, here is a crash course in finding jobs teaching English abroad.
1. When can I look for a job?
Anytime! Yip, you can even look for a job before you’ve even started your TEFL course. We’re not saying you should apply to jobs just yet but it’s a great idea to get a feel for the job market and the kinds of jobs in the different countries. This will give you lots more time to make sure your CV is up to scratch and you’ve got all your paperwork in order too. If you are intent on teaching in a specific country, have a look at the popular hiring periods and look for a job a few months before that.
2. Where can I teach?
We would like to say anywhere but the truth is it depends on the working visa. If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) you’re limited somewhat in terms of countries where you are eligible for a work visa. This by no means means it’s impossible to find a job if you don’t have a degree but you just need to be more selective in your destination. In some countries it is really difficult to get a job for some nationalities. Then there are also countries which prefer teachers with post-graduate degrees or education degrees. Besides that, the world’s your oyster.
3. How do I decide where to teach?
This is totally up to you. You might already have your eye on a specific country but it is still worth having a look around. Questions you should consider when deciding on a country:
- Do I want to teach in a big city/traditional village/near the beach/on a mountain/on my couch?
- Do I want to teach in a language school/school/summer camp/in-house in a company?
- Do I want to teach children/teens/adults/businesspeople?
- Do I want to be close to home/faraway?
- Do I want to make a lot of money/not be worried about money but be able to live well/work for free?
- Do I want to live somewhere I don’t know the language/can speak the language/want to learn the language?
- Am I scared of culture shock?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you should have a good idea of where you want to teach.
4. Where should I look for a job?
This depends on where you want to work. In some countries it’s easier to go to the country and find a job when you are already there. In others you need to have a job in order to get a working visa so you need to apply before you leave home. For the most part, though, you should look online. There are numerous jobs boards online, both general sites and those for specific countries. Tefl.com is a reputable international one, as well as ajarn.com for jobs in Thailand. You should also keep an eye on our jobs board to see what jobs we have found for you. Facebook is also a great place for job searching as many schools advertise in TEFL teachers groups. Finally, it is possible to get a job through a recruiter or an agent. If you decide to go this route, please make sure they are reputable.
5. How do I apply for jobs teaching English abroad?
Each job will have its own instructions for applying. Usually you will need to send your CV and they’ll contact you if you get shortlisted but sometimes there is an application form too. Don’t forget to whip your CV into shape and tailor it specifically for TEFL, and of course, you’ll need to write a sparkling cover letter. Then, if you make it through the first round the school will contact you for an interview. Get through the interview and the job is yours!
6. Anything else I should know?
Make sure you do your research on the visa requirements for the country you are visiting. There might be some paperwork that you need that takes some time to organize – police clearance, university transcripts or a medical certificate, for example. Then, make sure your passport is in order and your important papers are digitized. Also, don’t forget to get your finances in order so you’re ready to pack your bags as soon as the job offers come rolling in.
7. One last thing…
Unfortunately, the TEFL world has its fair share of scammers when it comes to job applications. There are a few red flags to watch out for but the major one is if the “employer” asks for money of any sort. Paying to apply for a job wouldn’t happen in any other field and TEFL is no different.
Have any more questions related to finding a TEFL job? Send us a message and you never know, you might be the subject of our next blog post!