I’ll follow this up with some housing search advice, legal advice, and more (of course, all coming from my personal experiences here in Prague).
First off, it’s very important to be tolerant, flexible, and have an upbeat attitude. Once you have that in the arsenal, you'll be able to follow these tips!
- Follow up: In this industry, it’s very important to follow up. It’s as simple as that. If you submit a questionnaire, CV, cover letter, sample lesson plan, or even something as simple as an inquiry, it’s important to follow up within a week just to check in and make sure they received it. Here in the Czech Republic, the service industry isn’t always as fast as you’re used to, but a simple reminder of your interest and your name is sometimes all they need to get back to you. If this doesn’t work,
- Get Registered: Have you ever subscribed to email notifications or joined a job distribution list? Well, you can do the same here in the TEFL world. You can register yourself as a job seeker on sites such as Dave’s ESL café so that employers can contact you directly. If you’re doing this, be specific with your objective! Otherwise you’ll get a ton of junk mail. Here’s a good starting point: http://www.eslcafe.com/jobs/wanted/#PostMessage
- Utilize our resources: We offer resources here at TEFL Worldwide to help you not only find a job, but also to become knowledgeable on the countries of your choice. We have job binders for each continent featuring job advertisements, country information, language school lists, and they’re able to be browsed through at any time. Also, if you request information on a certain country, our job guidance staff will send you recent job advertisements and information for these countries. We also have great books in our office called “Teaching English Abroad” which feature country specific information
- Warm-up letter: There are certain geographic areas such as Western Europe, South America and Central America, where the best way to get a job is just to go there directly and apply in person. Oftentimes our students will express interest in working in South or Central America and the first question from the potential employer will generally be “ok, so when can you come in for an interview?” One way to stick out in the minds of potential employers there (despite being abroad) is by writing a sort of warm up letter expressing your intention to present yourself in person in a few weeks or even months. This is also a good thing to do if you don’t think you have the credentials to necessarily “wow” potential employers.
- Contact Language Schools Directly: Here at TEFL Worldwide, we have frequently updated lists of language schools for each country which we’ve been adding to for years, so they’re quite extensive. With these language school lists, you can go through them and email schools directly, using your cover letter as the body of the email and attaching your CV as well. Go through the lists of the countries of your choice, tailor each email body to the specific job, and start sending out those emails!
- Reach out to graduates: We have an entire network of happy graduates living the TEFL life abroad. To be exact, there are over 1,700 graduates who have taught in over 60 countries. What better way to learn about living and working in a certain country than by talking directly to someone who has worked there or is currently working there? Just let us know, and we’ll provide you with their email contacts so you can talk to them about their experiences. Also, they may have some insider information as to schools that are hiring and may be able to help you get your foot in the door.
- Be Entrepreneurial: If you’re highly self motivated and entrepreneurial in nature, there are many ways to succeed as an entrepreneurial, independent English teacher abroad. What you can do is reach out to local businesses, restaurants, etc available on the expat websites for the country where you’re working, contact them directly, and offer to serve as their in-house English teacher. You can develop a program for them, choose your rates, and be persistent! A huge selling point for this is that you cut out the middle man. They no longer have to pay language schools to outsource teachers when they have their own in-house language teacher! From there, it’s up to you to sell yourself. Make business cards; highlight your TEFL experience, offer to speak to businesses where English is in demand, put flyers up at local coffee shops and grocery stores, contact recruiting companies, etc. There is a lot of opportunity out there!
- CV Advice: I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, starting with the top of your CV. You want to include your name, email, preferably foreign phone number, permanent address, current address abroad and nationality. Employers generally like to see that you’re already abroad and you don’t hypothetically “plan” to be abroad. Then, you’ll want to highlight your TEFL experience first. Make sure you mention that your program was XX hours and contained XX hours of teaching, mention its accreditation, as well as a brief overview of the course content. After that, list your relevant experiences. If you haven’t taught, no biggie! Just mention the experiences that highlight your people skills and ability to adapt, such as coaching, group counseling, voluntary work, etc. Also, it’s important to list your interests (if you play an instrument, have musical experience that looks especially good). For this section, the more unique the better! Also, including up to 3 references (one of which has seen you teach) as well as your their email addresses is also important.
If you follow these steps, do some research, check out some country forums, be persistent, positive, and proactive, you should have no problem finding a job in the country of your choice.
Having the entire world at your fingertips is quite an exciting feeling and during this journey, you’ll learn so much about not only other cultures and lifestyles, but also about yourself. And remember, it all starts with TEFLWorldwide Prague!
-Justin (Job Guidance/Admissions/Marketing Coordinator - TEFL Worldwide Prague)