Tips for finding that first TEFL job

The search for your first TEFL job can seem daunting. With so many great graduates out there, so many places to pick from, so many schools and countries to consider, how will you ever settle on the position that’s perfect for you? There are ways to approach this that can make it easier. From beefing up your CV and application to focusing in on destinations that really stoke your wanderlust, this list has plenty of tips and tricks…


first TEFL job
Consider WHERE you want to teach before you start applying | myTEFL/JRF


Settle on a few destinations and focus on those


One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make on the search for your first TEFL job will be exactly where it is. Did you hit that 120-hour course with dreams of weekending on sizzling Thai beaches? Were you enticed by the prospect of tasting dim sum under the skyscrapers of Hong Kong? Perhaps it was Europe’s medieval cities? Or maybe the wave-bashed shores of Costa Rica? The point is, knowing the destination (or at least having a rough idea) is an important (and exciting) starting point on ay English language job search.


Tailor-make your CVs


Anyone who’s ever applied for any professional position should know the importance of tailored CVs and cover letters. This is the way you make each and every application sound unique and aimed at a specific organization. There’s no good rolling off umpteen emails that all look the same. You can bet your bottom dollar that admin staff in HR departments have seen them all before. They’ll recognize the cookie-cutter resumes in a jiffy and they’ll promptly be filed in the wastepaper bin. Do your best to research each school you’re applying for and talk about why that particular institution has drawn your eye.


first TEFL job
Keep applying yourself to that TEFL job search! | bruce mars/Unsplash


Persevere and persevere some more


A wise someone once said that finding a job is itself a full-time job. It’s no different when it comes to bagging your first TEFL job. You’re going to need to go fishing in the big wide world of employment. A lot of the time, you’ll invariably hit a brick wall. Heads of schools might not reply. Some might not even be hiring. Others simply won’t be looking for the skills you have to offer. That’s not a problem. It’s normal. To overcome those obstacles, perseverance is key. Keep applying. Keep trying. You’ve got to be in it to win it!


Don’t be put off by the successes of others


It’s true that some graduates will waltz straight out of their TEFL course and into a job. But remember that there are oodles of factors that determine the speed at which someone is able to nail down a position, from the location to the pay rate, the employer to the style of English that’s being taught. What’s more, a colleague of yours landing a great career rarely has any bearing on your ability to get hired (unless you’re vying for the same school!). With the ESL industry booming, there’s definitely something for you – it’s just about finding it.  


first TEFL job
TEFL internships can get you teaching in exotic destinations pretty quick! | Mathew Schwartz/Unsplash


Take a TEFL internship


One sure way to Segway straight from the college room and into a first TEFL job is by taking an internship program. MyTEFL offers these all around the globe. From Thailand to Argentina, you can pick courses that help you integrate into some seriously amazing countries. What’s more, successful completion of an orientation leads to a fully paid teaching role with a contracted salary. Not bad, eh?


Follow up every application


There’s a fine balance to showing true dedication to your cause. Yes, employers do like to think you’re serious about taking a position. But waking up to stacks of emails and missed calls prompting them to read through your CV or complementing their latest research probably isn’t the way to go. A simple follow-up message or letter is usually enough. If you’ve got time, try to do this even with the jobs that didn’t reply to you. Veteran teachers often say that the search for that first TEFL job is as much about building contacts in other schools as about scoring a wage.



Do you have any tips to share with graduates on the search for their first TEFL job? We’d sure love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you’re ready to get out there and working, why not check out our jobs page?  

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