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How To Create a Great Web Resume for Jobs Teaching English Abroad

A sample web resume for teaching English abroad
A sample web resume for teaching English abroad.

Unlike most job searches, landing a job abroad is usually done via the Internet. Most teaching jobs are advertised on the web and most demand a response via email. This method of job searching, therefore, requires a somewhat modified approach. A web resume is a little different than in a paper format and has many advantages.

By following a few easy steps, it is possible to maximize these advantages and land a teaching job abroad quickly and easily.

Step 1: Resume Structure

Using word processing software or other online tools from Google and Microsoft that are available with an email address, first put together your resume. Your resume will be structured differently than one you would create at home country. Foreign employers will want to know some personal information that is not usually listed on an American application, for example. They will also ask for a recent photo.

Most employers are not trying to discriminate unfairly. Rather, they need to know this information for logistical purposes. If you are married, for example, they may need to make accommodations for your spouse. Also, most jobs require native English fluency and citizenship from a country where English is the native language. By putting this information at the top of the resume, you make it easy for an employer to see that you meet these basic qualifications.

Therefore, begin the resume with the following information: Name, address, phone number, email address, marital status, country of citizenship, and native language.

The next section should be subtitled "Qualifications." Many job seekers put their educational qualifications after their job experience. However, foreign employers consider educational qualifications very important. Most jobs do not demand experience, but nearly all require the applicant to have a college degree. Therefore, list all degrees and certificates (especially TEFL/TESOL certification), the name of the institution that issued them, and the month and year that they were obtained— immediately after the personal information section.

After qualifications, list your job experience. Be sure to stress any teaching or training related duties, no matter how small. If you helped orient new employees, list that. If you trained people on the milkshake machine, list that ("Trained new employees on restaurant machinery.")

Also be sure to list tutoring, volunteer, or travel experience. American and British employers may not be interested in this background information, but a school manager will be. They want to know that you are comfortable being in an unfamiliar culture. They are looking for people who are flexible and adaptable. Sell yourself but assume a less aggressive tone than you would use for an American employer. European and Asian bosses tend to prefer a more toned-down approach. Explain your experience, but don't boast.

Following the "job experience" section, you may wish to relist your educational qualifications, especially those which do not directly relate to the job requirements.

Following that, list your hobbies and skills—especially those which demonstrate an interest in other cultures or which may have job applicability (computer skills, language ability, etc.). Finally, list three references and their email addresses. Get permission from these people before you list them as references. The best people to use are former bosses and teachers.

Step 2: Photo Hosting

Next, you need a recent photo. This should be a medium close-up of the top half of your body. Dress conservatively for the photo. Men should wear a dress shirt and tie. No matter how you will dress once working, this photo should present a very conservative appearance. Men with long hair should have it pulled back for the photo. Women should wear a dress suit. Be sure to smile for the photo. For many employers in Asia (and elsewhere), it's better to look good than to be good! A sloppy photo can kill your chances no matter how good your qualifications are.

Save the photo in JPG format and try to use a digital camera for the best possible resolution.

Next, go to Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr, or some other cloud site that hosts pictures for free. Open an account and you may then you may browse your local files to upload photos.

Step 3: Creating the Web Resume

The next step in the process is to open a free web hosting or blog account such as WordPress. Go to the site and sign up for an account. Use your full name as the name of your "blog."

Once the account is open, create a new post. Your first post will be titled: "Why I Want to Work In (Japan/Korea/Turkey/Etc.)." Almost every TESOL employer will ask this question, so it's a great idea to answer it up front, on your website. When answering, stress your interest in the culture and in travel in general. While you may be hoping to save big chunks of money, this is not the place to mention that goal. Try to convey that you are open, curious, personable, and flexible. If you have a connection with the country (martial arts training, an interest in their films, etc.) mention it. Spell check the entry and then post it.

Your second post will be titled: "Teaching Philosophy". If you are an experienced teacher, explain your approach. Many applicants, however, will not have teaching experience. Don't worry. Most English conversation schools profess to use a "natural approach." Also, most do not require previous teaching experience. They will be impressed, however, if you display a little background knowledge. Write a short post about your desire to teach conversational English in a natural and communicative way, for example

Finally, your third post will be the resume itself. Create a new post, then copy and paste your resume into the editor. Arrange the formatting to create a neat appearance. Put your name at the top in large bold letters.

To really impress, you can add active links to the resume. For example, find the web address for your past employers or universities and link them in post using the blog editor. Potential employers can then click the link and read more about your university or past jobs.

Publish the post and go to your blog online to test it for typos and a clear user interface. For web users who are more advanced, Wordpress resume themes can be purchased for a low price to create a very slick blog quickly that will likely impress.

Note: Websites such as LinkedIn are often becoming the place to create and post your online resume, and some potential employers abroad will ask you for a link to your public account. There are many reasons to have such an account, as LinkedIn was created for just such a purpose.

Step 4: Add Your Photo to Web Resume

Now its time to add your photo to the top of the web resume. Next, open your blog account and select the resume post in your blog. Then insert the photo from the Google Drive, Flickr or other cloud software into your resume post. The resume will now appear with your photo at the top.

Step 5: Respond to Job Ads

The final step is to respond to job ads found at eslcafe.com, totalesl.com or other ESL job sites such as on TransitionsAbroad.com. By creating a web resume complete with a photo and two short essays, you are making the employer's job much easier (and yourself much more appealing).

When answering ads, it is best to be brief and direct. The school will receive a massive number of replies. Make yours easy to read:

  1. Use a clear Subject Line such as "Job Opening" or "Teaching Position."
  2. Mention the job's criteria and directly state that you meet all of them. For example, "I meet all of your required qualifications: I am a native English speaker from the United States and have a Bachelors degree from the University of Georgia."
  3. Mention that your photo and additional information is available on your website and include a link. For example: "A recent photo, resume, and references are available at www.JaneDoe.com."
  4. Paste a copy of your resume at the end of the email, as in-line text.

By following these steps, you will set yourself apart from the horde of responses that each employer receives.

Good Luck!

More by AJ Hoge
Find a Job Teaching English in Thailand in 10 Days
Freelance Teaching English in Bangkok
Teaching English in Japan: The Internet Job Search
Teaching English Abroad: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Living in Bangkok: Live Local, Eat Local
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