“How can I get a TEFL job if I don’t have any previous teaching experience?”
If you’re new to TEFL this might be a question on your mind – it’s one our TEFL advisers are asked all the time! The good news is that there’s plenty of work out there for those who don’t have any teaching experience at all. In fact, many of our course graduates have never taught before and that doesn’t stop 80% of them finding a job within two months of looking for work after the course.
4 steps for finding a TEFL job without teaching experience
Step 1: Get TEFL Qualified
Years ago it used to be possible for native English speakers to walk into TEFL jobs abroad with no teaching experience or qualifications. Today that’s much more difficult to do with the majority of employers worldwide requiring English teachers to have at least a 120-hour TEFL qualification.
Most of our students have no previous teaching experience, so our courses are designed to set you up with everything you need to start teaching English for the first time. You can get your TEFL qualification entirely online or combine online and classroom study – if you’re completely new to teaching then a classroom course is highly recommended and will look great on your CV.
Step 2: Choose a destination
Once you have your TEFL qualification the next step is deciding where you want to teach. Asia, South America, Southern and Eastern Europe are great options if you don’t have any teaching experience yet. The biggest TEFL jobs market in the world can be found in China, where the English language industry is booming, but there is plenty of work to be found in other Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and more!
Not all countries offer an abundance of opportunities for newly-qualified EFL teachers. The most lucrative TEFL positions are found in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but you’ll need a few years’ experience under your belt before you’re eligible for those. You’ll also find it much harder to come by jobs in Western and Northern Europe if you don’t already have some teaching experience.
Another important factor to consider when choosing your destination is visa requirements. Many countries require teachers to have a BA degree so it’s very important to research to the requirements to make sure you’re eligible – see our post about where to TEFL if you don’t have a degree for more information.
Step 3: Prepare your TEFL CV
TEFL qualification: check. Destination: chosen. Next up: a stand-out TEFL CV.
If you have no previous teaching experience then employers are going to be looking for transferable skills. If you’re applying for a job teaching young learners then you’ll want to highlight any experience you have working with children. Remember to always research the employer and tailor your CV to that specific position. An employer is going to be particularly interested in evidence of good communication skills so make sure to demonstrate those – maybe you give presentations in the workplace, train up new hires, take phone calls or work with the general public?
For help putting together your TEFL CV see our helpful guide.
Step 4: Apply for jobs
There’s a huge demand for EFL teachers worldwide, so you can find plenty of job adverts online – if you know where to look!
All our students get lifetime access to our TEFL Jobs Centre, which is a great place to start your job search. There are plenty of other jobs boards where you can find thousands of positions worldwide – we’ve put together a handy list of some of the best to help you out.
It’s important to keep safe when applying for TEFL jobs, so make sure to read our post about how to avoid TEFL scams and bad employers before you start applying. If there’s anything you’re unsure about you can always get in touch with us.
Going the extra mile
If you really want to stand out and land a great TEFL job then there are a couple of things you can do after you get your initial TEFL qualification.
We run specialist TEFL courses in Teaching English Online, Teaching Business English, and Teaching Young Learners, which are great to add on to your training. If you’re interested in specialising and intend on applying for jobs in any of these areas, then these courses will further enhance your teaching abilities and show employers that you’re dedicated.
Volunteering to teach English as a foreign language is a good option if you do want to gain some experience before taking your first paid job. This is a great way to boost your TEFL employability, but more importantly it will improve your confidence in the classroom and give you a feel for teaching.