A TEFL Résumé or CV (Curriculum Vitae) is critical in helping you find work.
It is likely to be the first contact between you and a potential employer and thus is it extremely important that it looks good and is laid out properly.
There are 2 main ways to write a TEFL CV/Résumé: chronologically or thematically. The more traditional way is chronologically and since most of the world tends to prefer chronological résumés, this is the way we recommend doing it.
But before beginning there are a couple of points worth mentioning.
1) Remember that you may well be sending your CV/Résumé to people whose first language is not English. In some cases they may not speak the language well at all. So, to give your application the best chance make sure you keep your language simple and to the point. There is no point in trying to write in a flowery and highly educated manner when there’s a chance it won’t be understood by the person reading it!
2) Keep things simple. Many countries prefer a simple list of dates, qualifications and facts about the person and not the more subjective type of CV/Résumé containing your mission statement and so on.
Design your TEFL CV/Résumé in several distinct sections:
Basic Personal Details
Name: Joe Jones
Address: 123 Acacia Avenue
New York, NY, 12345
Telephone: 123 456 789
D.O.B. / Date of Birth: March 26th, 1980
Be careful about putting an email address of a website here which leads to a website with content other than teaching English or which may contain content that will put an employer off. It is sometimes better to have a G-mail, Outlook or Yahoo account for this purpose.
In some countries it is not done to include your sex or date of birth; if you are applying for a job in another country however, it may be acceptable there to ask these kinds of questions. If you have a problem with this, then don’t apply for the position in the first place.
The reason for the nationality is obvious – it lets the employer know at a glance whether there will be visa issues if they decide to hire you. If you have American nationality, for example, you will find it extremely hard to get employment in the European Union and vice versa.
If your nationality is not from an English speaking country then it is useful right here at the beginning to show you are either a native speaker or bilingual, etc.
BA English Literature, Oxbridge University, 2006
120hr TEFL Certificate, IWeb TEFL, 2020
Introductory Certificate in Grammar, Blowfish College, 2007
Put the highest qualification first and followed in descending order after this. This is perhaps the most important part of the CV/Résumé; don’t put anything here which you can’t back up and don’t put here irrelevant qualifications. Your high school diploma is not needed since you mention a degree which “overrides” it, for example.
You can also include here any short courses you may have taken in your employment, especially if they pertain to teaching such as seminars on specialized aspects of TEFL and so on.
Languages You Speak
English (mother tongue)
The languages you speak with your mother tongue first followed by the rest in order of skill level. If you can teach another language then by all means mention this as it may well increase the chances of employment (your new school could use you to teach English and another language or if you speak the language of a foreign country this will help you get work there).
However, don’t worry if you don’t speak any other languages; the school is looking for an English teacher above all so that’s the only language you really need.
Note that when you put your skill level keep it simple; basic – intermediate – advanced is fine.
Small Ville Language School, Tokyo, Japan (Sept 2011 – Now)
Teaching English conversation to all levels of classes. Gotham Language School, Perth, Australia (Sept 2008 – July 2011)
Teaching grammar and conversation to all levels of classes in preparation for the Cambridge Proficiency Examinations. English Yes! School, Shelbyville, USA (Sept 2006 – August 2008)
Teaching everyday conversation skills to immigrant workers.
This is a basic TEFL CV/Résumé so keep the employment history simple. State where and when you worked in each job and then add a single line or so talking about what you did. If the experience and work are relevant to the job you are applying for then feel free to enlarge on this area.
Put the most recent experience first and don’t forget to put down relevant experience no matter how old it is.
Don’t, however, include work experience which is not related to the job unless you have nothing else to include here. And if possible try to put an educational spin on things: if, for example, you had a McJob over the holidays then mention the position and state how part of your responsibility was training new employees.
If there are any major breaks in work experience try to fill them with volunteer work or an explanation (e.g. you were traveling in Asia for a year) because if you leave a long empty space an employer may well think the worse – that you were in jail for example!
English Yes! School, Shelbyville, USA (Sept 2005 – August 2006)
During college vacation I worked with the school in helping immigrant workers gain a basic understanding of English; taught beginner and intermediate level students of all ages and backgrounds
An optional section; it’s useful to have things here, especially if it relates to the job you are applying for so that, for example, if you are applying for work in a kindergarten to say you volunteered with young disabled children all helps.
computer literate (Windows/Mac, Office applications)
sports: blue belt in aikido, enjoy playing football and pool
clean car driving license
This is more about you which doesn’t really fit in anywhere else. Don’t make this section too big as it’s there to give the school an idea of who you are, not an intimate picture of your personality.
- Ideally the CV/Résumé will come out at about a single page long. The idea is that this isn’t a complete history of your life but enough information so that the employer will want to find out more about you.
- Include a cover letter (or email) and, where requested, a photograph.
- Check spelling! Once you have checked the spelling and grammar, check it again and then ask someone else to check it.
- Make sure you’ve spelled grammar with an a and not an e!
Video CV/Résumé – a growing trend is to make a video for your application.