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The Key to Finding Your First Ever TEFL Job


It’s the end of your Trinity Cert. TESOL course. You’re psyched you successfully completed it and have made new friends from all around the globe, but now it’s time to face the real world. The moment to get your first ever TEFL job is here! But how can you do that if most job listings require at least a year’s English teaching experience and you don’t have any? You may actually be better prepared than you think.

Get a Jon in TEFL

Relevant experience is not just teaching English

In order to sell yourself as a TEFL teacher it’s important to think about who your potential new students could be. Take a look at all your background and experience and try to find anything that would relate to teaching them.

For example, if you have any babysitting or au pair experience this is very useful when applying for a TEFL position to teach young learners. You probably had to sit down with them to get their homework done, deal with discipline, and keep them entertained during their free time. Does this not sound like something that could also happen in a Young Learner classroom? Other positions that are relevant are summer camp counselling, youth group leading or coaching a sports team. It doesn’t have to be paid to be considered experience!

If you’re not too keen on teaching children and are hoping to end up teaching business English in-company, then think about your own professional background. If you’ve previously worked at a law firm, it’ll be much easier for you to help anyone in this field of work learn English for law than it would be for anyone else. Others would likely have to first study the jargon themselves before being able to teach it. You may also be better able to understand the type of emails, reports, and phone conversations your in-company students deal with and need to learn English for.

Think about transferable skills

So maybe you’ve spent the last few years doing a number of different jobs as a barista, office receptionist or shop assistant. That doesn’t mean you haven’t gained skills that will make you a good teacher. Whenever you mention these jobs on your CV or at an interview be sure to focus on skills that will be useful for you as an English teacher. Letting a TEFL employer know every detail about how you had to clean tables, serve food & drinks, or schedule your boss’s meetings may not be the best way to land a job. Opt for stating how you have great interpersonal skills, are able to work well under pressure, can meet deadlines and work as part of a team. Something as simple as stating that you learned how to adapt the language you used whenever you dealt with tourists in your previous workplace in order to successfully communicate with them will give your hotel receptionist job the right twist to make it relevant to teaching English.

Tutoring &Training  = Teaching

Did you ever tutor any younger students while you were at school, help one of your next-door neighbors prepare for final exams or teach guitar? Even if it wasn’t tutoring English, you still had to patiently explain the subject and help a student understand different concepts. Tutoring is directly related to teaching! Anything like this should be stated on your CV as relevant experience.

How about training new staff in your previous job? Did you have to show the ropes to the person that took over your position before you left? That’s teaching in the end. If this is your case, mention how often you did it and whether or not you had to assess the trainee’s progress. Did you do it 1 on 1 or with a group at a time? Did you have to follow a specific training program or design one yourself? Try to think about what a TEFL employer would like to know so that you can decide which details to include.

You DO have experience

What if none of the above applies to you?

First of all, keep in mind that the Trinity Cert. TESOL course has provided you with at least 6 hours of teaching practice. Highlight these details on your CV. Mention the levels you taught, any resources and course books you’ve become familiar with, having learned how to conduct a needs analysis, teaching techniques that you picked up and your ability to create original materials. You should also share a lesson plan that worked well with any TEFL interviewer and talk them through it. Trust in the training the Trinity Cert. TESOL gave you!

If you want to improve your chances of finding work, you can think about first gaining some experience by volunteering to teach English through different organizations. Civic centers around the different neighborhoods in the city will very likely be thrilled to find out about someone willing to help this way. This may actually be a good idea to consider even before starting your course. You may actually be better able to understand how students learn by the time you start the course!

As you can see, it’s all a matter of learning how to market yourself as a great English teacher whom employers just can’t miss out on hiring. Be confident about yourself and believe in your Trinity Cert. TESOL training. If you can show TEFL employers that you’re someone that’s willing to put in the effort to gain any additional skills, you stand a better chance of grabbing the position you want.

As an Oxford TEFL graduate, you are entitled to our lifelong careers service (take a look at this video of me explaining our careers service). This means that you can contact us any time if you need help with your CV, advice for interviews or making contact with potential employers. Also, don’t forget to check out our Oxford TEFL Jobs Facebook page for all the latest job offers.

Good luck with the job hunt!

If you are considering a change of career, a move abroad or obtaining an internationally-recognized TEFL certification to travel the world, studying a Trinity Cert. TESOL at Oxford TEFL is one of the best ways to start. For more information, contact us or apply via our website.

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