Have you ever wondered how important your resume is in finding a job? Having a solid resume is absolutely essential to get past the first screening process and land you an interview with the school. Here are some important and useful reminders we’ve compiled when applying for teaching jobs abroad.
1. Make sure that your contact information is accurate
You may have an outstanding resume and impressive qualifications, but the employers have no way of reaching you if you put in the wrong information. Include your phone number, email address and Skype ID as most initial interviews are done over Skype video calls. If you still don’t have one, make sure to download and register right away. If your name is gender neutral like Toby or Alex, it would be better if you can include “Mr.” or “Ms.” to avoid confusion from the employers.
2. Include your time zone
Include the city you are currently located in and its time zone. Since your potential employers are often on the other side of the world, they can easily arrange a reasonable time to setup an interview for you. You should also include your nationality and place of birth.
3. Prioritize your resume content
Put important information first so that your most important and relevant experience is listed on top. Sometimes your previous experience may be more relevant to the job you are applying for so you want to make sure that the employer sees that first. If you have key accomplishments, they should also be listed at the top of your job position. If you are applying for a job teaching kids, be sure to include any type of work or activities you’ve done with kids. Be sure to include the exact start and finish dates for each position.
4. Relevant skills
Think about how your previous experiences match up with what the employer is looking for and list them as skills to let them know that you fit this position perfectly, giving concrete examples and descriptions. This will also show that you properly researched the company and the job you are applying for. Emphasize your strengths and capabilities and show the employers that you are compatible with their school. There’s no need to include irrelevant information to avoid wasting precious space on your resume.
5. Cultural diversity and foreign languages
Since you are applying for a position in a foreign country, your knowledge of at least one foreign language will be definitely worth including. Your knowledge of another language indicates that you are aware of the process of acquiring a foreign language and you can empathize with your future students inside the classroom. If you have worked in an environment with cultural diversity, this is also definitely worth mentioning. Being culturally aware and comfortable working with students and colleagues from various different countries who have different ways of doing things is a very important part of any teaching abroad job.
6. Write a customized cover letter
Using a standard resume and sending it to all available positions is a common mistake that people make. Surely, it is very convenient and can save time, but it also indicates that you didn’t do enough research about the job and what the company is really looking for. Your cover letter is a great opportunity for you to sell yourself and your skill set and to show that it is relevant to the job. It’s also a great way to inject your personality into the application process early on. If the school is based in Tianjin, China, explain why you’d like to work in that city in particular. If the school has interactive whiteboards in the classroom, articulate why you think they are useful tools for education.
7. Proofread twice and PDF
There are plenty of examples of bad resume fails that are sure to end up in the rejected pile. Be sure to proofread your resume not just once, but twice and even better, ask a friend to read it over too. Make sure you check your spelling, grammar and use the appropriate fonts, spacing and text sizes. Once you are certain that it’s typo-free, save it to PDF format so it can’t be easily altered. It also keeps your resume design intact since there are many different versions of Microsoft office out there which can alter the layout.
8. Setup privacy on social networks
With the popularity of social media, employers are now looking beyond the documents you provide when short-listing candidates. It is becoming common lately for employers to check candidates’ social networks. It’s best that you set your privacy settings higher. Keep those drunken photos private and hide your work rants and complaints about your previous employer.
9. Self-introduction video or a teaching demo
Here’s your opportunity to impress the school you are applying for. This will also give the employer an idea about your English ability, teaching style, classroom presence and the command of your voice. This is commonly asked from non-native English speaking candidates but native speakers can also find it very useful especially if you have no teaching experience. Make sure you make a proper script and rehearse before recording your video introduction. This will look more professional and can attract more employers. Even after you land that job, you can still use the same video introduction to get private tutors for some extra income. Including a short video clip of you inside the classroom actually teaching is also a great way to stand out from the crowd.