Top Tips for Landing A Teaching Job
The person who gets the job not usually the one who can do it best. It’s the one who knows the most about how to get hired. Here are some proven ways to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Proofread Your Resume—Again
If you’re trying to get someone to pay you money to teach English, you’ve got to use the ‘the product’ correctly. That means absolutely no typos and grammar mistakes. These can be the kiss of death in your job search.
Here’s the tip: have a friend or colleague proofread you resume and cover letter. Our brain tricks us into thinking what we are reading is correct. It allows us to read what we think we should see on the page instead of actually reading the text word for word and letter by letter.
If you’re like just about everyone else—and can read this message—you’ll need to have other people proof your prose.
Can Your Resume Be Read in 6 Seconds?
That’s about how much time a recruiter will typically spend on one. Resumes aren’t read; they’re scanned. The Power Resume format we teach gets rid of the “objective statement”—what you want. We employ a summary that tells the hiring authority what you offer—in about 60 words or six seconds.
Do Your Research
Got an interview lined up? So find out everything you can about the school. Google them. Go to their website. Read everything under “About Us.”
It's not enough to know what they do; you have to know what they've done lately. Check if they have a Facebook page or other social media. Scroll down their timeline to get a sense of the recent activities. And if you know whom you are interviewing with, see if they have a LinkedIn account.
You want to get a sense of their mission—who they are, what they do and what they’re trying to achieve. The more you understand that the more intelligent you’ll sound during the interview.
Dress for Success
While it may sound obvious, it’s important for the interviewer to be able to picture you as part of the team. So dress for interviews—smart or business casual—like you would on the first day of school.
The buyer—the school’s hiring authority—is making a purchase decision in hiring you. Help reduce their risk by looking like they could present you to your future students’ parents.
Appreciate Thai Ways
Show some understanding for the basic Thai expressions such as knowing how to wai and say “Sawadee” and watch others to know if you should take your shoes off when entering a building (or noting the scores of shoes on the outside shoe rack.)
It also important to keep smiling and never ever get angry. If you lose your cool in Thailand, you’ve lost, no matter how right you are.
There’s no need to master Thai, but a few keywords go a long way. Thais are super polite. Let them handle the rest as they educate you to their world.
Pound the Pavement
With today’s digital devices, in just a few clicks you can submit your resume and cover letter by email. All that’s great, but because it’s so easy that too many applicants think their job is done. Why not follow-up with a phone call? It’ll help you stand out—and may provide you will valuable information.
Even better: why not drop into the school itself with extra copies of your resume in hand? Again, you will differentiate yourself from the herd. Just ask the reception for the English department and you may be suddenly sitting in front of someone who can recommend or even hire you.
A living breathing teacher is much easier to evaluate and remember than a paperless resume sent through a faceless email message. No appointments are often needed. And if they’re busy, simply schedule to come back when they are free.
A lot of great jobs are rarely advertised—they’re found through good research. Today, networking by social media can be particularly effective, but don’t ignore tried and true old-fashioned face-to-face meetings.
Coach Your References
Most job candidates simply ask people to be a reference for them and get their contact details. That’s a start, but there’s much more you can do.
Coach your references. Many will only know you from one of the places you’ve worked.
Send them your updated resume—in a thank you note— so they can talk more intelligently about you—as well as to refer to other experience points where they did not even know you.
It's important that you maintain your relationships with influential people in your career. Keep these connections fresh so that you can call upon them when you need them.
You’re a TEFL Grad—Show it!
Try to think of some way to bring evidence of your skills to the interview. Take in copies of your best lesson plans to show how you’ve been professionally trained to develop a strategy that makes for a highly successful class. It could also be used if a demo class is required.
The communicative approach to language teaching is being adopted into many Thai schools by a successful multiyear project led by The British Council. There may be opportunities to talk about the ESA or other communicative methodologies. Review your TEFL terms, how you approach classroom management and be prepared how to discuss why it’s not good to use Thai in the classroom.
Two magical words. In the hundreds of interviews I’ve done, I can count the Thank You letters/emails I received afterwards on one hand.
Thanking your interviewer through an email isn’t just polite. It also demonstrates follow-up on your part.
Additionally, you can re-answer a question that you think you didn’t handle as well as you could have during the actual interview. (Guess which answer will be remembered.)
Your Thank You Note will also keep your name top of mind, i.e. ‘remembered’. That’s important in jobs with many applicants.
Kevin Cullen is the Jobs Coach at Vantage TEFL Certification He’s formulated scores of Power Resumes and coached his students into top jobs throughout Thailand and around the world.
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