Top 10 Resume Tips – Your resume should include the following:
- Head shot photo (professional dress, smiling/friendly pose)
- Personal Details: Concise info (email address, contact phone no (include country code), Skype ID
- Career Objective: Use key words to grab the reader’s attention
- Education: Include Degree/s plus TEFL or teaching certification, no high school results
- Work Experience: Start from most relevant/recent and include any relevant voluntary experience
- Interests: Keep to a minimum and include only relevant ones (e.g. teaching/coaching, youth work, relevant skills etc.)
- Length: Keep within 2 pages maximum
- Format: Clear easy-to-read format with spacing between sections and consistent styling/formatting throughout
- Dates: Include start and end dates for key information (degree, work experience etc.)
- Referees: No need to include referees’ details, just state “available on request”
Top 10 Interview tips
- Be on time (you should be sitting ready waiting for them!)
- Be polite and courteous
- Ensure your webcam is working and microphone/volume is adjusted ahead of time
- If using a webcam, wear professional clothing (shirt/blouse) and ensure background is presentable and tidy
- Plan ahead (ensure you have quiet surroundings and no interruptions)
- Speak with a clear accent and child-friendly language (depending on age-range of students)
- Prepare responses to likely questions (e.g. why you want to teach in Asia, how you would deal with basic classroom situations etc.)
- Have your resume and reference letters printed out in front of you
- Do your research on the client and have at least 3 questions ready to ask them (e.g. about curriculum etc.)
- Convey your enthusiasm/engagement in the interview (this requires extra effort when you’re not in the room with them).
- For more detailed advice on how to improve your application, please read over our notes below.
Your resume (CV) is the document that sells you to a recruiter or school. It’s what gets you the first interview so it needs to grab their attention – and hold it! It also needs to persuade them that you have the qualifications and experience to do the job – so that needs to be clear to the reader; they shouldn’t have to wade through lots of information to get to the key facts they are looking for. To this end, we’ve highlighted a few tips to bear in mind:
- Keep it short! Your resume should be a maximum of 2 pages and if it fits on one page, that’s fine. For those applying for our more senior roles or if you do have many years of teaching experience with several employers 3 pages may be required but we don’t recommend more than this.
- Keep it relevant. Adapt your resume to the specific job application. As you’re applying for teaching positions, your relevant qualifications (Degree, TEFL, teaching certifications etc.) should be highlighted. High school results are not necessary. For work experience, highlight any previous teaching positions and include key features/focus areas from those – don’t list a job spec. If you don’t have prior teaching experience, include any other related/relevant experience (tutoring, sports coaching, workplace training or positions involving work with the relevant age group, including voluntary). Details of other previous employment not related to the application should be kept to a minimum.
- Set out personal details (email address, home address, phone number (ensure you add international dialling code e.g. +1 for USA, +44 for UK etc), Skype id etc.) in a concise, easy-to-read format.
- Include a professional but friendly head shot on the resume (if possible)
- A short profile statement (1 or 2 sentences) at the top of your resume summarising your background and next career objective can be an effective tool to capture the reader’s attention (and ensure you include key words like China, Asia, Teaching, Training etc.)
- A good layout is key to ensure the information is easy to access for the reader – clear font and spacing work better than fancy script and lots of tabs
- Ensure your spelling and grammar are correct – as you’re applying for teaching positions, recruiters/schools will not want to see mistakes in your English!
- Make it interesting!
A photo is an important part of your application as when you’re not interviewing in person, it’s the first time the recruiter or school will “see” you. In Asian culture, how one presents oneself physically can be a key part of the selection process for NETs (Native English Teachers), so it’s worth spending time on getting the photo right!
The key elements to combine are a professional appearance and yet a friendly outlook to show that you have the ability to engage with students of all ages /other teachers and that you like dealing with people.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- Choose a plain, light background (no restaurants/bars or busy backgrounds)
- Have somebody else take the photo (the result is always better than a selfie!)
- It should be just you in the photo
- Ensure you are face-on to the camera
- A head shot is ideal (just head and shoulders in the photo)
- Try to achieve a relaxed, friendly smiling pose – no big grins!
- Dress professionally (as you would for an interview – avoid low-cut or ill-fitting tops)
- Avoid/Remove visible piercings (other than earrings for females) and excessively large earrings/jewellery. Ensure that tattoos are not visible.
- Remove hats and ensure hair is well groomed. A clean shaven look is also preferable in many locations in Asia.
If you have an upcoming interview for a teaching position at one of our schools, please take a look at some of the tips below on how to get the most out of this opportunity and how to properly present yourself.
The interview will often be conducted by Skype Video. Make sure you present yourself professionally and are suitably dressed wearing at least a collared shirt and tie where possible. It is advisable not to wear piercings and to be cleanly shaven.
For the most part, this will be a relaxed and open conversation via Skype or by phone. The purpose will be for the director or hiring manager to get to know a little more about you as a teacher and colleague. Mainly they want to see that you are a friendly, energetic and polite person. Try not to be nervous – be relaxed while at the same time displaying the ability to act in a professional way.
Our client school will want to hear your accent and to make sure it is clear and understandable throughout the whole conversation. Remember to speak slowly and clearly and keep your English simple and clear.
You may be asked some general questions such as:
“Why are you interested in coming to work in Asia?”
“What do you enjoy about teaching English?”
“What do you like about working with kids/young people?”
There may be some questions about:
- Qualifications, experience or general background and how you feel these best relate to the job scope of teaching.
- Lesson preparation or a description of the classroom environment you would seek to create.
- You should be able to answer these foundation questions (if they come up) satisfactorily, especially if you already have experience or have completed a TEFL certificate or similar qualification.
After the director or hiring manager has finished the key stages of the interview, they will probably ask you whether you have any questions. This is a good opportunity for you to come across as well-organized and informed. Although by this stage you will have been provided with some information on class schedule, salary, living conditions etc., you still may have questions relating to textbooks used, style of teaching, other foreign teachers, work attire expectations, apartment furnishings etc. We recommend you keep questions limited to two or three as a guide.
If you have received general information from the school prior to interview, ensure you have had an opportunity to review this beforehand. Above all, let your enthusiasm for teaching and strong work ethic shine through!
General Tips/Advice (on your Application)
Communication is a key factor throughout your application – in order to secure a position but also to demonstrate strong communication skills to your potential employer(s) as this is a key skill required for teaching.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- Keep us informed of your preferences and status throughout your application and interview process. We can best advise and help you if we are up-to-date and clear on your requirements, developments with your application and any difficulties or issues which arise.
- Respond to e-mails from the recruiters/schools promptly – the hiring process tends to happen quickly once an interview is set up and delay in responding to emails to set up an interview or feedback following an interview can be taken as a lack of interest or enthusiasm on your part.
- Remember to be positive and polite in your emails to the school/recruiter – even if there is an issue to be raised, this can still be worded in a positive way so as to give them the ability to respond and address any issues without apportioning blame. Focus on the desired response/action item rather than just the issue itself. The language and tone of your emails go a long way to creating the right impression.
- Be decisive! When offered a position, be ready to make a decision within a few days (or sometimes quicker!) as there is a large demand for teaching positions and a school won’t wait around too long for you to deliberate.
Being organized with your documents will be invaluable to you when it comes to submitting documents for your visa application. (For more information, check out the “how to apply” section on our website for tips as to what’s required –http://www.teachersforasia.com/how-to-apply and then click on the given country). This involves requesting documents in good time (written references which are ink-signed and the criminal background/record check can take a while to source) so that there are no delays at the end of the process which can jeopardize your ability to secure a position.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- Be well-informed and check out our list of the documents required
- Name your documents clearly (e.g. “John Smith Resume”, “John Smith Reference” etc.)
- Scan your documents rather than take a photo of them –the quality is vastly different. Ensure you scan the entire page evenly and don’t cut off corners.
- Ensure documents are easy to read and well-formatted
- Retain the file name and extension of documents sent to you which have to be completed/signed and returned – your name may need to be inserted but otherwise keep the naming convention and file type (e.g. “John Smith Medical Report.doc”)
- Ensure your name is the same across all documents (i.e. use either your maiden name or married name, not a mixture of the two or use either your full name “Joseph” or shortened version “Joe” rather than a mixture of the two).
- Validity of documents – ensure that your documents are in date and valid
- Your CRC should have been issued within 6 months of your time of signing a contract
- Your Passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival – if it is due to expire within 12 months of your arrival, it’s best to request a new one before you leave. Also ensure that your passport has at least 3-4 blank visa pages available (3 pages are required for China for the Z visa, entry stamp and residence permit)
- Degree Cert – a copy of your original degree certificate is required, not a transcript (unless specified by the school as an additional requirement) and if the original is in Latin, you will need to provide an English translation
- TEFL Cert – this should reflect the total hours covered in your course. It isn’t acceptable to submit multiple certificates to add up to the total hours.
- Reference/Recommendation Letters – these should be on official letterhead, dated (within the last 2-3 years ideally), state in what capacity the referee knew you and include some information as to your ability, achievements and skill set in the job (or subject area for academic references). The reference should be hand/ink signed and include contact information (email and phone number including international dialling code) for the referee. The company/school/university address, email and website (where applicable) should be included in the letterhead (or in a footer).
- Forms (Health forms or Work Permit Applications) – ensure you read any accompanying instructions beforehand and complete all fields on the form, using the correct format requested (e.g. for dates MM/YY etc.) and if not applicable enter “N/A” or their specified alternative.
- Keep copies of all documents for your own records.
- Keep copies of all receipts (for flights, medical checks or police/background checks) so that you can provide these for reimbursement where this is available.