Building the perfect TEFL CV/resume


Summary: This guide covers all the basics of creating a strong TEFL CV/resume. You’ll learn how to structure a professional-looking CV and highlight your relevant experience.

Topics you’ll cover:

> What to include in a TEFL resume

> Making the most of your experience

> The format of a TEFL resume

Before we get going, just a heads up – we’ll be using the term ‘resume’ throughout this course as this is the language most used by employers around the world.

We’ll be providing you with some top tips for writing your TEFL resume. We’ll also be applying some of the lessons we learnt in the first guide, Your Transferable Skills in TEFL. It’s a good idea to read through that guide before continuing here, as you’ll have covered the basics of preparing to apply before you try writing your resume.

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General resume advice

We’re going to start by hearing what TEFL employers and recruiters look for in a resume – so you can have a clear idea of what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Now we know what a good TEFL resume should (and should not!) look like, let’s look at how to make this happen.

There are a few general points to make when writing a TEFL resume, which apply to jobs in different contexts and countries.

  • A typical resume is no longer than 2 pages of A4.
  • The font should be consistent throughout, easy to read and an appropriate size (11 or 12 is best). Conventional fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, or Calibri work best.
  • Headings should be in bold or underlined so that they are clear.
  • Include a photo – although putting a photo on resumes might be quite unusual in different industries, it’s part of the standard in the TEFL world.

Take a look at this step-by-step resume writing guide.

⤓ Download resume guide (PDF)

girl looking for books at the library

Top tips for writing a positive resume

Resumes can be used in a number of different ways in the TEFL industry. For example, you can send your resume in response to an advert you found online. Alternatively, you can submit your resume to a jobs board or recruitment agency, who will match you and your resume to the best job. It’s important that you write a specific resume for teaching, if not a specific resume for each job you apply for to match the skills the recruiter or employer requires. Whatever you do, don’t simply apply for TEFL jobs with your engineering/IT developer/bartender resume! Start from scratch for your new teaching career.

Keeping a resume up to date is a really good idea as you’ll need to remember the key dates for your previous work experience and qualifications, which you might have to complete on an application form. You can use your resume as a written record and refer to it when applying to different jobs.

As we’ve said in our previous guide, the worst thing you can do is fire out your resume to every position you see. You should look into the position and employer first:

Why are you interested in this job? What do you like about the company?

You can then tailor your resume to the advert itself.

For example, if the job advert states it is looking for teachers who are knowledgeable, helpful, engaging and well-prepared you need to highlight these skills on your resume. Refer back to what we learnt in the first course on how to write about your skills, giving evidence for each skill.

Test your knowledge

What’s the recommended length of a resume?

  1. Half a page of A4
  2. 1 – 2 pages
  3. More than 3 pages

What should you do when writing a resume? (Multiple answer question)

  1. Write work experience and qualifications in reverse chronological order
  2. Put your qualifications before your work experience
  3. Always include dates
  4. Include your marital status
  5. Include a picture

folder with papers and resumes

Sample resumes

Have a look at a couple of sample resumes. Read through the content and pick out any sections that you think are relevant for you. As we’ve said before, it’s not a good idea to copy our examples word for word – you’ll need to ensure your resume is personal to you, your skills and experiences.

⤓ Download resume example 1 (PDF)⤓ Download resume example 2 (PDF)

⤓ Download resume example 3 (PDF)⤓ Download resume example 4 (PDF)

Create your own resume

Now we’ve seen what makes a good resume (and what doesn’t!), it’s your opportunity to write your own.

Remember to follow the advice not only in this course but in the previous course too.

You can use any resume template that you like – you might have one already. If you prefer, you can use our template, which can be accessed through google docs or downloaded as a Word Document below.

⤓ Access resume template (Google Docs)⤓ Download resume template (MS word)


Continue reading about: Writing a successful cover letter »

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