The Dos and Don’ts of Writing an International Resume
You’ve got the qualifications, you’ve got the imagination, now you just need to get the job. Writing an international resume for a job in another country can be a daunting task – made even more so if a) you’ve never done it before and b) you’ve never even been to said country.
You’ll find that the idea of an acceptable job application varies from continent to continent, state to state, city to city and academy to academy.
But, never fear – while we can’t actually write your C.V for you, TEFL Work’s got the next best thing: the definitive list of dos and don’ts for international résumé writing.
It may seem like an obvious task to Google “Résumé style for (insert country here)”, but it’s incredible the amount of candidates who refuse to ditch the traditional American style. Does this particular country want a photo? How many pages is the résumé expected to be? How much past experience should you include? These kinds of things differ from place to place – Saudi Arabians, for example, want to know your religious affiliation, and the Spanish like to see an applicant’s photo. Know the difference between a C.V and a résumé; the latter is succinct and more relevant, the latter a detailed record of education and experience.
Don’t Send Generic Copies
So you’ve found a number of jobs you want to apply for, and what better way to kill a few bird with one stone than to send the same application to all? Stop right there, teacher – you’re about to make a serious TEFL faux pas. While it’s OK to use the same format for your résumés, each should be specifically tailored for different jobs, locations, countries and cultures. This rule especially applies to positions in various countries; you wouldn’t highlight your passion for Japanese culture in an application to Mexico. Make sure your potential employers know you’ve spent the time researching their home base, that you’re genuinely interested not only in the work but in its clients, and that you’re open to new experiences (and therefore not prone to culture shock!)
Do Highlight Your TEFL qualification
While years ago just being a native English speaker was enough, today most reputable academies are looking for a little bit more. That’s why you’ll need a qualification to set you apart from the rest. The most commonly preferred come from Cambridge; the CELTA certificate and its linked counterparts. Sure, there are still a lot of schools that’ll accept lower-grade TEFL courses, but for the best shot at an overseas post you’re better off with the ELT crème de la crème. Bold it, underline it, stick it right at the top of your résumé – whichever way you chose, make sure your certification is the first thing an employer sees.
Don’t Make Spelling and Grammatical Errors
It seems like common sense, right? Apparently for many candidates, it’s not. If you want a job teaching English, make sure your potential boss knows that you can actually write in English, that includes spelling, punctuation and proper syntax. Plus, consider what type of academy you’re applying to. Do they specify in American or British English? Your average document processor spell-checker can usually be changed to your desired language.
Do Include Experience
If you’re fresh out of a TEFL course, chances are you’ve got little to no experience under your belt. That is, unless, you studied the CELTA; a course set apart by its mandatory, observed in-class teaching hours. If it’s the only teaching-relevant background you’ve got, put it first on the list. Then, think outside the box – perhaps you tutored high school students with their homework, joined a study group throughout university, or volunteered at a local library. All of these areas involve some form of teaching – whether it´s transmitting, understanding or processing information – and all belong on your résumé.
Don’t Be Flaky
While most people who study to teach English are looking for a long-term career change, most can’t envision themselves living abroad for decade-long periods of time. For the most part, TEFL employers advertise for semester or year-long contracts, with the opportunity to renew once the year’s up. That said, however, they’re usually looking for a longer commitment – not just a fly-in, fly-out flaky worker. Make it seem like you’re in for the long haul – employers are looking for commitment, and not someone who will jump on the next plane at the first hint of culture shock. Legally speaking, you can easily leave whenever your contract is up – you just don’t your future employer to know that!
Do Be Contactable
That’s the thing about overseas communication – the international calling codes, time differences and dodgy connections make tracking down candidates difficult. Make sure you’ve got a good Skype connection and that you regularly check your email, add the calling code to your phone number, and list the city where you are currently located. There’s nothing worse than missing out on a job because of a missed connection.