Let us share with you our guide on how to write your CV for a new teaching position overseas. A properly structured resume is essential to give yourself the best chance of securing an English or subject teaching role with an excellent school.
Your resume is how you will get the attention of a prospective school so it is important you get it right. It can be difficult to know what should be highlighted, how much detail to give and what you can omit. Our team at Teachers For Asia have compiled advice on best practice for laying out your resume and what are the key areas to include and focus on..
Top 10 Resume Tips
Here are our top ten tips for what to watch out for when putting together your resume:
- Photo: Include a head shot photo of just you (no friends or family!) Professional dress code (collared shirt is ideal) is best and ensure you have a smiling/friendly pose without smirking.
- Personal Details: This is ideal to include at the top of the resume, keep the information concise and include key information only (email address, contact phone no (include country code), Skype ID, nationality and date of birth/age)
- Profile Statement/Career Objective: Use key words to grab the reader’s attention and make this relevant to the application (i.e. highlight any teaching relevant skills)
- Education: Include degrees, any teaching qualifications and additional CELTA or TEFL/TESOL certificates. No high school or previous school results.
- Work Experience: Start from the most relevant/recent positions and include any relevant voluntary experience. Include the dates for all previous positions listed (e.g. June 2015 – Sept 2016) and the school/company name and location (city, country). A brief summary of your key duties or responsibilities for relevant work experience should be included but avoid a long list of bullet points and minimal information is sufficient for non-teaching work experience.
- Interests: Keep these to a minimum and include only relevant skills (e.g. teaching/sports coaching, youth work, first aid etc.)
- Length: Keep within 2 pages maximum – recruiters will lose interest after this and could skip over important information
- Format: Present the information in a clear, easy-to-read format with spacing between sections and consistent styling/formatting throughout and ensure all key information is well highlighted, not hidden at the end of a long paragraph!
- Dates: Include start and end dates for key information (degree, work experience etc.)
- Referees: There is no need to include referees’ details, just state “available on request”
Don’t Forget the Photo!
A photo is an important part of your application as when you’re not interviewing in person, it’s the first time the recruiter or school will “see” you. In Asian culture, how one presents oneself physically can be a key part of the selection process for NETs (Native English Teachers), so it’s worth spending time on getting the photo right! Schools expect to receive a photo along with your resume as part of your application, so leaving it out is not an option either!
The key elements to combine in a photo are a professional appearance and yet a friendly outlook to show that you have the ability to engage with students of all ages as well as with other teachers and that you like dealing with people.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- Choose a plain, light background (no restaurants/bars or busy backgrounds)
- Have somebody else take the photo (the result is always better than a selfie!)
- It should be just you in the photo
- Ensure you are face-on to the camera
- A head shot is ideal (just head and shoulders in the photo)
- Try to achieve a relaxed, friendly smiling pose – no big grins or scowls!
- Dress professionally (as you would for an interview – avoid low-cut or ill-fitting tops; a collared shirt is ideal)
- Remove hats and ensure hair is well groomed. A clean shaven look is also preferable in many locations in Asia.