We receive numerous CVs and applications every week to review – one of the services we offer as part of our online TEFL Jobs Centre – and see the same mistakes being made again and again. These mistakes can make your application go straight from the yes pile to the no pile. So, here’s how not to apply for a TEFL job.
Open with ‘To whom it may concern’
The contact person or hiring manager is stated in most EFL job advertisements. Address your application to them. If there is not a contact person stated, give the school a call to see who is in charge of recruitment or in a last case scenario, use Dear Sir/Madam.
Go straight to Profile, miss out Contact Information.
Review your contact information to make sure it is up to date. A mistyped email address or contact telephone number could stand between you and an interview for your dream job. If you are planning on relocating, mention this in the profile section of your CV or in the covering letter.
I would also recommend looking at your Skype ID and email address – are these appropriate/professional? You may still have access to your university student account or use the same Skype ID you have had since you were 14 but is the username aliballybe56792 really sending a professional image to a prospective employer?
Re-use the same references you used when you last applied for a job
Obviously you should contact the people you want to make as references on your application first. If it has been some time since you have applied for a job, it might be worth getting back in touch or putting more relevant/recent references down e.g. previous/current employer or an academic reference.
Check that the contact details for your references are up to date too.
Ignore the application instructions
If the job advertisement that you must submit a cover letter and copy of your CV, do so. Application deadlines are in place for a reason so make sure that you have your application in on time.
Supporting documents are also required for some positions – a copy of your TEFL certificate, degree certificate or a video demo lesson. You want to supply these documents along with your application if stated in the job advertisement, or as soon as the employer requests them so be prepared. Have these documents already scanned in or recorded so you don’t have to rush.
On a side note, make sure that you attach an attachment. It’s amazing how many people forget and then send another email a couple of seconds later with the attachment. And also that it is the correct attachment!
Applied for a job and got this email back pic.twitter.com/6zI3cBnTLD
— Leonardo DiCaprisun (@Heathernab) February 6, 2015
Attach the same cover letter to all applications (or better yet, not include one)
Not every EFL teaching position is the same so neither should your cover letter. This is your chance to include information that you are not able to include in your CV – the reasons why you are applying for a position with their school and your motivations for teaching English in that city/region/country.
[Is your TEFL cover letter getting top marks? Check out our guide to creating a great cover letter]
Send your CV to multiple employers at once
Scraping together all your job contacts, attaching your CV and cover letter and hitting ‘Send’ might seem like a brilliant idea at the time but it is pretty lazy, not to mention unprofessional. CC’ing all recruiters into one email my save you a couple of hours or so but will it really help in the long run? Recipients of the email will be able to see who else has received the email. I’ve received a copy of CVs and applications like this and haven’t been that impressed. It’s also slightly embarrassing when an employer replies back, including all the recipients too, to tell you off.
Hit ‘Send’ and then spellcheck
You are going to be an English teacher so your spelling and grammar need to be perfect. A stray apostrophe here and a misspelt word there can hinder your chances of getting your application put in the interview pile.
You can use either using British English or American English but be consistent throughout your application, don’t use a mixture of both.
Have you made or witnessed any job application mistakes? Share in the comments section below