How to boost your CV/resume as a TEFL teacher

How to boost your CV/resume as a TEFL teacher

The world of teaching English as a foreign language is, inarguably, very exciting. The chance to live abroad, start a business, change career, nourish your intellect and even help people make life changes of their own? In truth, it’d be difficult to sum up everything gained and contributed from a TEFL experience in one CV!

However, when it comes to TEFL, you’re going to need just that - an impressive CV that will make any employer sit up and take notice. TEFL employers are a discerning bunch, you see; for the best-paying and most reputable jobs you’ll need a resume that will leap from the page, and be worth repeat readings.

What if you’re trying to TEFL without a degree ? Or, you’re a non-native English speaker ? Can you build a CV worthy of recognition from top schools and employers worldwide? Well, yes, you absolutely can.

The case for everyone is that, whatever your level of skill, there are some key things you can do to really solidify the CV you’re sending out. Let’s get into it, and see what you can do to make you simply irresistible when it comes to hiring time!

Volunteer TEFL work

Volunteering is never a bad idea. It’s also the case that some of the people who need help with English the most are those who don’t necessarily have the resources available to them.

Therefore, teaching TEFL in a volunteer role is - undoubtedly - a good thing to do. In big cities, there are opportunities to teach English to refugees. For example, in London, Breaking Barriers are looking for volunteers. New York Cares are doing similar work, to excellent effect.

However, you don’t need to necessarily seek out volunteer programmes. Find out what’s happening locally, and get in touch with adult learning centres, the local council - speculative volunteering enquiries often lead to the most rewarding and fulfilling opportunities. 

From an employer’s perspective, volunteering looks great on your CV. By its nature, volunteering shows an awareness and empathy for local or international issues, and it shows a level of self-sacrifice, in that you’re giving up your time to improve your own skills, as well as providing a learning platform for others.

Three interviewers interviewing a female candidate

Proof of English proficiency

For non-native English speakers, there are more challenges in the TEFL jobs market. Unfortunately, native-speakerism, which leads to a bias against non-native speakers regardless of how excellent their English is, exists in the TEFL industry.

Don’t let that dishearten or deter you, though. Skilling up and taking on extra qualifications can really help to set you apart at the application stage.

Taking the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam shows you have proficiency in English, in terms of oral and written skills. 

Both are recognised internationally and are graded by regularly monitored and highly-skilled examiners. Objectively speaking, if you test well in either the IELTS or TOEFL, you’re proving that you can speak and write in English to a very high standard. Having a certificate of proficiency is an easy way for employers to tell that your English is of the required standard and will make it easier for you to secure work. 

Looking for a way to bolster your CV and ensure no employer will question your ability to teach English? This, perhaps, is the best way to go about it.

Plus, adding an officially recognised certificate to your resume is never a bad idea!

Gain experience teaching online

Looking to try the TEFL experience abroad, but want to test yourself and add an employer to your resume first?

Teaching online, even briefly, is a great way to go about it. We have a full and all-encompassing guide to Teaching English Online , as it’s something we’d heartily recommend for either the veteran or newbie TEFL teacher and everyone in between.

If you have TEFL certification (120 hours is the industry standard), you’ll be amazed by how quickly you can get started teaching English online. There are a plethora of great companies taking on teachers of different levels, and the beauty of it is that there’s a range of ways to get started.

You can advertise your TEFL services online and see who’s interested, or apply directly to established online teaching companies. Competitive salaries are on offer, but for the purposes of CV building, there are plenty of reputable names whose references would be extremely valuable going forward.

At the very least, it’s a great way to test yourself. Meanwhile, at best, it’s the launchpad to a long and successful TEFL career. For building experience and boosting that CV of yours, teaching online is a great option.

An interviewer holding an applicant's resume

Advanced TEFL courses are a good way to go

Call us biased if you like, but Advanced TEFL courses are a great way to set yourself apart when it’s time to look for jobs.

It stands to reason; for many these days, a Master’s degree is an important part of finding work in specific areas. In TEFL, having both a base qualification, for example, 120 hours, plus a specialised certificate, can make a fundamental difference to your job prospects. 

So, which Advanced TEFL courses are worth doing? That’s entirely your perspective. Some countries, particularly those with growing economies, will value the ability to teach business English , so taking a course focused on this area will really help put you at an advantage.

If you’re keen on preparing students for the aforementioned IELTS or TOEFL exams, there’s an Advanced TEFL course which specialises in exam preparation . Alternatively, if you’re keen to specialise in teaching primary/elementary age students, there’s an Advanced TEFL course for teaching young learners .

In short: if you’re able, it’s well worth seeing whether an Advanced TEFL course is a good choice for you. There are plenty of specialty areas, and an employer will be impressed with both an extra TEFL qualification, and the wherewithal to dedicate time and effort into finding a niche as a teacher.

The options are plentiful!

Whatever way you choose to bolster your CV, it’s well worth exploring the range of options. Volunteering shows initiative, empathy and a strong work ethic. Doing Advanced TEFL courses shows an employer that you’re committed to improvement from both a career and personal perspective.

Attaining IELTS or TOEFL qualifications helps to break down barriers or preconceived notions and ideas an employer might have if you’re not a native English speaker. Meanwhile, teaching English online with a reputable company will not only express your desire to gain experience, but it’ll also provide you with a reference that an employer can use to learn more about you.

Obviously, each of these options is dependent on what kind of time and resources you have available. If you can do any of these things to bolster your CV, though, you’ll find it’s more than worth it, especially if you plan on making TEFL your life’s work.

Good luck out there!

Not TEFL qualified yet? Or unsure what course you need to level up? Take our course quiz !

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