Apply for that Job: Cover every Angle

Recently a reader asked:

This might be a weird question but one thing that I have been wondering is if I should straighten my hair for my resume picture. I am mixed, although you couldn’t tell with my skin, and have extremely curly hair.

My hair doesn’t look bad or anything it’s just often times curly hair can be looked at as “crazy” or “wild”. This may not seem like something that employers actually look at but I know from experience that it is. So what do you think?

That was a good question – so here it is featured as a post and my answer was:

Your question is not so weird. It is good that you take an analytical look at things and try to find the best path. Sometimes the fine line between making the cut for a job and not making it can be pretty subjective, especially in many countries where just about any kind of discrimination is legal.

I can’t tell you what is best for you, but I certainly – when applying for a job – minimize anything about my appearance that could distract an employer from finding out that I could just be the best teacher they ever hired. That means I usually cut off my beard for a photo shot and leave it off for the interview and it slowly drifts back . . . It also means that – since I am “mature” in age – that I have the picture “Photoshopped” to take a few wrinkles/years away.

I wouldn’t suggest doing anything that so dramatically changes your appearance that your employer won’t recognize you on the job, but anything you can do to tilt things in your favor – do it.

If you have a goal, do everything reasonable to make it happen. My beard is not so important to me that I would give up the potential of a job I really wanted. People who get all self-righteous on such things often minimize the possibilities in their lives.

TED’s Tips™ #1: You are more than smart enough to decide what will work best for you!
Go get ‘em!

Teaching Internships in China


Will you Hate Teaching English?

Not everyone loves teaching English.  Not everyone loves being a teacher.  Some people don’t find English particularly interesting . . .

Before you quit your job, sell your house, dump the boyfriend/girlfriend (or sign them up to go with you) and head off to the other side of the world, maybe it would be good to find out if you really would like teaching English.

Have you ever taught before?

Teaching isn’t always what you might think it is.  Some people think you have to be “patient”, others think you must be really social and outgoing.

Yeah, well . . . to a point maybe.  I would consider myself shy, but something about a classroom excites me.  The challenge of making something work for students really gets my blood going.

I enjoyed acting when I was in middle and secondary school and maybe that helps.  Teaching is a bit like acting.  You have to keep the interest of the people in  your classroom.

But – to be honest – there are so many different kinds of teachers, such a mix, that I have no idea what really makes it work for one person and not for another.

So, if you are unsure, the best bet is to volunteer a little bit to see if it suits you.  Almost every large community will have an organization or two that helps immigrants or illiterate people learn to read and write and improve their English skills.

I got started with American Literacy Volunteers of Tucson Arizona (USA).   They gave volunteers about twenty hours of training and then had us start working with recent immigrants.

Wow!  What an eye opener it was for me.  I found the people I was teaching to be extremely interesting.  A Brazilian medical student studying at my old university.  A Vietnamese immigrant.  Quite a diverse group of people.

That was when I realized that I would enjoy teaching these people and others like them.  I had been an administrator in social services for years and done a lot of training of other people, but I wasn’t sure about the English part of teaching.

If the English part of teaching was going to bring me into contact with such interesting and diverse people, I had no doubt I would enjoy it.  And so it was!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Find out before you head overseas if you will really enjoy teaching English.  Volunteer somewhere and get a feel for it.

TED’s Tips™ #2: A TEFL training course can give you a bit of a feel for the occupation as well, but it is not the same thing as standing in front of a classroom.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China

TEFL Opportunities you won’t Believe

World events conspire to help you move up the TEFL job ladder . . .

Here is a bit of guidance on how to land jobs – right now – that you never would have been considered for, even just a few months ago.  Really!

First a bit of a short story to illustrate for you how it works.

During my 20+ years abroad I’ve lived in numerous countries where “interesting” things have happened.  This is not unusual and almost everyone who has lived overseas for an extended period of time will have experienced everything from riots in the streets, to wars to tsunamis to anything else that hits the headlines big.

Let talk a bit about these things and what they might mean for you.

When I was living in South Korea in 1992-94 there were tense times between the South and North and EFL schools had a terrible time recruiting.  No one wanted to come.  Even where I was – Pusan (these days known as Busan) – at the extreme far south of the country about as far away as you could get from N. Korea – no one would go there and many teachers there bailed out and left.  There were worrying significant incidents, perhaps roughly similar to the North shelling the island north of Incheon recently.

I was living in Taipei when mainland China was conducting “live fire” exercises shooting missiles directly over Taiwan back about ’94-95.  That incident only lasted perhaps a week or two – but no teachers wanted to go there for almost a year afterward.

In Thailand in 2004 when the Boxing Day tsunami struck, no one wanted to teach there for almost a year, even in Bangkok almost 700 miles away!

In Saudi Arabia, just shortly after the Al Khobar bombing, no one would go there to teach for almost a year.

In Thailand again, during relatively recent civil unrest in Banggok, no one wanted to go and teach in Phuket Island – again about 700 miles away, far away from the problems.

In Japan right now, teachers are bailing out and no one wants to go there.  And that situation will likely persist for at least a year.

Now . . . many other similar incidents have happened around the world, these are only a few examples.  Others would be earthquakes in Chile, drug wars in Mexico, street protests in Iran and on and on.  What they have in common is that teachers bail out in droves and new teachers won’t go there.  Even if the “incident” is over.  Even if the incident was hundreds, possibly even a thousand miles away – teachers bail, no one comes.  Even if the “incident” was three or four months ago.

I am sure that right now, even on Kyushu island in the far south of Japan, schools are having difficulty recruiting the teachers they need to fill their positions.  Even though Nagasaki or even Fukuoka are both well over 600+ miles away from the problems in the north, teachers are bailing out, recently contracted teachers will not arrive and there is difficulty hiring new teachers to fill their vacant positions.

This situation repeats itself probably at least several times a year around the world.  Saudi Arabia – right now – is probably having real difficulty finding the people they need for teaching positions as the world anticipates potential civil unrest.

What all this means to you . . .

LOTS of jobs are open and you can usually land jobs that are much higher up the food chain than you might otherwise have had the opportunity to grab.  This would be the time to apply for that supervisory position or university professor position that wasn’t really open to you a few months ago.

Now – I am NOT suggesting that you go to Libya and throw yourself in the line of fire in order to land a job with better wages.  Do your research as to what the situation on the ground is – no matter where you are looking for work.  But I would bet that there are good jobs going wanting in Alexandria, Egypt.  In Nagasaki and Fukuoka.  Probably even excellent university positions in Saudi Arabia.

Get the idea?  If you don’t want to be in or too near the trouble spot, look in the same country on the far other side.  If Saudi might have trouble in Damman where there is a majority Shia population – work on the other side of the country in Jeddah.   Because, generally speaking, people don’t think these things through – they just avoid the whole country rather than the specific area where problems are occurring.

If there was a riot in Los Angeles, would you refuse a great job in Las Vegas?  Phoenix?  San Francisco?  That is exactly what most teachers do

TED’s Tips™ #1: View times of trouble as having the potential for great opportunity.   I personally would not want to work in Sendai right now, but I would be very happy to work in Osaka or Kobe or Nagasaki.  And there are a load of good jobs waiting for you there right now.  Probably I would be game to work in Sendai a few months from now though . . .

TED’s Tips™ #2: After you have lived abroad for a few years, you will come to realize how much the international press over plays many situations.   It’s good for viewership.  But it is usually bad for the country.  I still remember when I was in university and a river on the edge of town flooded.  The press played it up like the whole town had washed away.  Great shots of cars floating down the river, a few people sobbing and crying – great drama for the ratings.  But far less than one percent of the city was affected.  That was never mentioned.  Friends and family were calling to see if I was still alive!

TED’s Tips™ #3: I am not trying to minimize difficult situations.  What I am suggesting is that you think for yourself, do a bit of research and if the situation seems right for you to seek great opportunity that might otherwise not have been available to you – go for it!

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China

Getting Started in TEFL: Transition from Dream to Reality

Free TEFL eBooks
Ten Week Plan to a New Life and a New Job Overseas

A reader recently asked:

I was just wondering how to get started with the TEFL program and if there is an organization or something that I have to talk to, to help get me a job, or if I have to find them on my own. If you do it on your own, where do you look for the jobs?

Transitioning from the dream of living and working abroad and experiencing the real world out here can be a bit of an overwhelming task the first time you consider it.

But, thousands of others have gone there before you and it is an easily done thing if you do a bit of research and locate the resources you need to help you.

This is not something simply explained as you can well guess.  A fair bit is involved, but I am happy to say that I have written an ebook on the topic (see the graphic above).  It is available for FREE at TEFL Boot Camp here: How to Teach English Abroad or – if you prefer you can pay US$9.95 over at TEFL eBooks —  up to you!

Getting the ebook free at TEFL Boot Camp means that you also get a free ebook called The Effective EFL Job Search – about how to find your first job: overcoming common pitfalls, using an international style resume and even how to work with recruiters.  YOU are the hot commodity!  Know it, use it!

Along with the first two ebooks you get an ebook I wrote called Seven Secrets of Success Abroad.  I wrote it to help people understand how to succeed in a foreign culture.  Our Western culture is NOT the culture you are likely to work in and using the skills that worked for you in the UK, Australia or the USA might just be your downfall when working in a developing country in Asia, Latin America or Africa.   Learn how to navigate foreign cultures and succeed!  It is not difficult and can be a lot of fun.

Imagine your success and know that it is possible and you CAN do it!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Go on over and get the free ebooks to help you plan your new life abroad.  Go here: Free TEFL eBooks and pick up your free ebooks.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China