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Tips for newbies applying for ELT jobs

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Joined: 13 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:48 am    Post subject: Tips for newbies applying for ELT jobs Reply with quote

Hello all

Among other things, I recruit teachers annually for a UK Summer School. This means that I deal with a lot of applications; I've gone through a lot of CVs and done dozens of interviews. For what it is worth, I thought I would share a few tips for those applying for English Language Teaching positions from a recruiter's perspective. I am sure not all recruiters everywhere would agree with everything I say here, but I hope that this is nonetheless useful overall to a few of those who are just starting out.

(there is some overlap here with a previous post of mine...)

1. Be specific about what ELT qualifications you have on your CV/application form. Don't just say 'TEFL Certificate'. Give the precise title and where and when you got it.

2. Also be specific about your university degree(s) - that stuff matters. 'BA, Ireland' doesn't cut it.

3. In order to comply with child protection procedures while recruiting, we need to follow up any gaps in your employment history - it is helpful to explain these in your CV/application form. (I suppose if you are applying for a position where you will be teaching adults this may be less of a concern).

4. Don't say you have a DELTA (or MA or whatever) if you are still studying for it - be really clear when something is still in progress.

5. Don't apply for a position in the EU if you don't have a legal right to work there - we cannot magically procure work visas.

6. In the UK, at least, we ask for first degrees and accredited TEFL qualifications because we have to - if the British Council inspect us and find our teachers don't have those things then our accreditation is at risk. This isn't worth trying to argue about.

7. In terms of work experience, we would like to know...
a) How long you were at each place
b) What kind of classes you taught
c) The ages of the people you taught
d) The city and country you were in

8. In terms of skills, we would like to know...
a) What examinations you have experience of teaching for (IELTS, Trinity, etc..)
b) Your familiarity with IT - have you worked with IWBs, for instance?
c) Any specialist ELT niche areas you have experience or expertise in (CLIL? EAL?)

9. In your cover letter....
a) Keep it short - there is no need for more than one paragraph
b) It's not necessary to extol your virtues in terms of how hardworking, punctual and reliable you are. We care about these things, but we'll try to work out whether you have them at interview.
c) Tell us (more or less) where you are at with your life and why you want the job
d) Don't repeat details which are in the CV/application form unnecessarily

10. Your CV doesn't have to be a work of art in terms of typography and design, but it does have to be neat and tidy. Random changes in colour/font size/font type/line spacing make you look unemployable.

11. It's not necessary to say 'References available on request' - we already assume that they are

12. 'Quirky' cover letters and personal statements, where - for instance - I am redirected to a blog page, or you make jokes about how well travelled you are, are amusing but ultimately unsuccessful. Play it straight and act formal.

13. If you are a non-native speaker of English, have a native speaker proof-read your application carefully. 'I have been teach English since 6 year' more or less rules you out instantly.

14. Experience and qualifications in non-ELT areas (such as yoga, photography or civil war re-enactment) are fine to mention - but just that, there is no need to go into detail.

15. If you are not shortlisted for an interview, move on - arguing with the recruiter is not going to change their mind.

16. It is illegal for us to discriminate based on age, sex, gender, religion, race, marital status, and various other demographic variables. So, you don't need to mention any of those things - or include a photo...

17. ...if you do include a photo, though, make it a professional one. Not one of you at the beach/drinking a cocktail/hugging someone else. A standard passport style one of you dressed smartly, smiling and looking at the camera is the best sort.

18. Your interactions with administration staff matter. The person that you deal with who arranges interview times and asks you for scans of your passport works in the same office as the people who will be deciding whether or not to hire you. If you are rude or flaky with them, it will get back to the recruiter.

19. Interviews are, as much as anything, appraisals of your personality. The interviewers are not just thinking 'Is this person qualified for the job?', they are also thinking 'Do I want to share a space with this person?'. More than anything, avoid extremes - don't be too deferential or jovial, or too relaxed or up-tight. It is fine to be nervous - lots of people are - and if you are visibly anxious it won't count against you. It shows you are playing the game if you do a bit of research beforehand and show that you know something about the organisation that you are applying for.

20. Things to avoid at interview are...
a) bad-mouthing previous jobs. Even if they were legitimately awful, you don't come across well in explaining how dreadful they were
b) trying to crack jokes - this usually creates tension instead of easing it.
c) banging on incessantly about one particular methodology, theorist or book. It is great when people take what they do seriously, but I would worry that if you are a die-hard adherent to (say...) the Direct Method, your teaching style will be rigid and inflexible.
d) give one word answers, or; contrastingly, deliver epic soliloquies.
e) wearing weird clothes and/or makeup. We wouldn't expect you to wear a designer suit for a Summer teaching position, but something ironed and smart shoes wouldn't go amiss.

20 seems like a good number to stop at Very Happy
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Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 753

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Excellent post, many thanks for taking the time to pen it. I find that a lot of what you wrote applies to newbies and also to us seasoned veterans applying to that next position.

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