How to Get that Job Teaching English Abroad

Click on the eBook cover to sign up for a FREE copy

TEFL eBooks is releasing the second edition of their classic How to Land a Job Teaching English Abroad.  It’s subtitled, What you must know for an effective job search and its packed full of little tips to help you succeed.  This eBook is also free over at TEFL Boot Camp HERE.

If you signed up for the FREE second edition of How to Teach English Overseas that we featured last week, you will get this eBook automatically.

The eBook is designed to help you find your way around the more common pitfalls of those looking for work abroad.

Section One of this publication includes tips on how to respond to an advertisement.  Section Two explains how resumes and CVs are different when applying for a teaching job in the non-Western world.  Do you know you need to have your photo on that resume?

Section Three gives you some tips about how to better market yourself.   Section Four will give you some insights about contracts.

Most important of all . . . do know what employers are really looking for?  A grammar whiz?  A perfect accent (whatever that is!)?  Most employers are looking for someone who is friendly and easy to get along with.  Of course, they want to know also that you are reliable and stable, but everyone looks for that.  Workplace harmony is a more important factor outside the Western world most of us are familiar with.

The second edition of this book is an update of the original so if you are on the mailing list already,  you have the older copy.   You probably don’t want to get on the mailing list twice (as enjoyable as that might be 🙂 ), so use the contact form HERE and ask us to just directly send the new version to you.

This newer version should be a lot easier to read on a iPad or other tablet type reader.  We’ll have a Kindle version out eventually.

Ted’s Tips™ #1:  The price is right, so grab a free copy even if you are an old hand.  You might pick up a new trick or two. As always, let us know what you think of it.

FREE How to Teach English Abroad eBook

Grab this helpful ebook FREE – just click on the ebook cover

The second edition of How to Teach English Overseas has just been released and for a limited time you can get it free over at CLICK HERE.

If you are on our mailing list, you already have the first edition of this ebook and if you would like the updated second edition, just use the contact form at TEFL Boot Camp and ask for it and we will send it to you immediately.

This helpful ebook tells you everything you need to know to get yourself overseas and on the job teaching English.  It walks you through the process with a week-by-week description of what to do and exactly when to do it.  Even without a passport, you can follow the directions and be working overseas in ten weeks (we even tell you how to get a passport).  If you already have a valid passport, you can easily move that schedule forward.

The ebook starts with twenty questions to ask yourself before deciding to head overseas? Are you really cut out for it? Can you handle it? Try the twenty questions to discover if you are ready to master your future. The introduction also covers what makes people successful overseas and tells you specifically what employers are hoping to find in a teacher. Do you have what they are looking for? Find out!

Chapter One (Week One)  tells you a bit about what it possible. It also gives you links for applying for a passport, just in case you don’t have one. It also tells you what other documents are important to have in hand before you start your job search.

Week Two helps you discover the best places for you to go and the best timing for going there. Hint: If you have degree, the world is your oyster. If you don’t, there are still lots of places where you are welcome to get your start.

Week Three helps you organize your job search, discover what types of jobs might be available, breaks down what should and shouldn’t be on your resume/CV (international resumes/CVs are different) and tells you how to make yourself an attractive candidate for employers. They’ll want to offer you that job – right now!

Week Four gets your job search going and has you contacting employers. It helps you know what to say in a telephone interview and even recommends the countries that most people think are the most “newbie friendly” in the world. Exotic places you WILL want to go!

Week Five helps you decide which job offers you should accept and tells you how to research your potential employer, so you can avoid scams and scamsters.

Week Six gets you organizing yourself for your move once you have accepted that job offer and signed a contract. Everything from paying taxes in your home country to checking on health insurance for your new country is covered.

Week Seven has you applying for your visa, giving 30 days notice at your job (are you ready?!) and even making a budget for the transition overseas.

Week Eight helps you organize your finances online so you can still use your accounts even while abroad. And it’s time to get your plane tickets!

Week Nine has you finalize your passport and visa and do some planning to cover all the possible angles while abroad.

Week Ten helps you know what to put in that suitcase, saying goodbye to friends and family and getting on that airplane.

That’s it!  Not!

The ebook also includes advice for your first two weeks abroad.  How to settle in to your new job and culture and some helpful suggestions for adapting to, surviving and even thriving in your new culture and country.

Ted’s Tips™ #1:    In the words of a teacher who used this book to get himself overseas:
Thank you for your e-book “How to Teach English Abroad” I followed your week by week instructions and methods and the whole experience of finding and obtaining a teaching position in Zhengzhou [China] was completed very smoothly. I know that I could have probably muddled through on my own but your advice was so clear and concise, that I just couldn’t go wrong.
–  M G Birch

Ted’s Tips™ #2:  Keep your eyes open, we’ll be releasing second editions of quite a few helpful ebooks over the next few weeks and months.

Real Money, Real Fun, Real Job

Teaching English Overseas is a “Real” Job

I’m sometimes asked by anxious Newbie or Would-be English teachers if teaching overseas is a job that can—or should—be taken seriously.

I guess that depends on your goals.

If maintaining a decent lifestyle while living an enviable, exotic life and learning a new culture is a goal, then, sure, you can consider Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) a “real” job.

If  hoarding up a savings of quite a bit more cash than you’d be able to “back home” is your goal, then, yep, you can consider TEFL a “real” job.

If you want to sample the world’s offerings, travel extensively and make a decent wage, then heck yeah, you can consider TEFL a “real” job.

If you understand and expect that you will need to go to work, be a reliable employee, take your students’ needs seriously and deliver what you are paid for, then, of course, TEFL is a real job.

You gotta start somewhere . . .

However, don’t expect to walk into a tip-top TEFL job for your first assignment. Because it is a “real” job, you’re going to have to do some “real” work. Like starting at the bottom in EFL teaching. You’ll need to gain the skills you’ll need and probably do some study or training to get those skills where they need to be.

And, you’re going to have to nurture a garden of contacts who will improve your future potential employment opportunities. Along the way you’ll occasionally meet up with some obstacles—clueless bosses or cringe-inducing colleagues. That part of the “real” world will also intrude on this “real” job.

In addition, your employer will expect you to put effort into your teaching and business savvy in how you represent your school or company.

You can be sure your boss will consider it a “real” job, since he is paying you real money, and will expect you to behave accordingly.

Your employer will most likely expect—and perhaps demand—that you groom and dress yourself professionally. Sloppy dressing and quirky appearances such as body art, alternative hairstyles, etc., will make finding and holding on to a TEFL job more difficult.

What’s NOT the same

Unlike jobs you may have held in your home country, for a TEFL job you may be hired via a telephone interview or even an email exchange. You may have short working hours, you may work less than five days per week. Your vacations might be longer than your friends’ back home. You might get any number of uncommon (to back home) “perks” such as free housing, low or no income taxes, low or subsidized utilities, paid flights to and/or from your new location, transportation provided.

And, you may have to do some things that aren’t common back home, for example including your photograph with your resume and answering personal questions during a job interview.

It’s still “real” even if it’s not familiar

Your friends back home may not recognize your TEFL job as a “real” job at first glance. But, just because you’ll be able to save up more money and work less, travel more and worry less, doesn’t mean that TEFL is not a “real” job. Take my word for it. It is.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Know that you’ll work just as hard at TEFL as you did “back home.” Also, expect to take pride in your work and make an effort to provide quality instruction for your students.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Don’t give the impression to your contacts back home that you’re not giving your all at this new career. Let them know that it is a “real” job. If you let people think that you’re all play and no work overseas, it may make them leery about helping you find a good job when/if you later decide to transition back to your homeland.

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When It’s Time to Go Home

People have asked numerous times if it will be difficult to find employment when they return home from teaching overseas. 

Here’s some good advice to follow when (or if!) you decide that you’d like to transition back to a life in your home country after teaching English abroad . . .

Maintain your network of friends and former colleagues back home. Don’t let it slide just because you’re not in the same country. Keep in touch with everyone—even if, at first, you’re only planning on staying away for a few months.

Keeping these relationships going will take some effort on your part, of course—when you take a vacation back to your homeland, call around and make contact. Invite them for a beer or for lunch. Exchange emails with them, send them photographs of your life abroad.

When you talk to them, don’t let them think you’re just gadding about. Tell them that your work is REAL work, not just a ‘lark.’ This will help them take you seriously later if you ask for their assistance.

You mean I have to keep networking?

Of course! I think that networking is very important when teaching English overseas.  Even more necessary than when I lived in the USA. Because of my web of contacts, over the last 20 years or so I’ve only had to do a handful of interviews.

Take, for example, my last few positions. One was organized for me by a longtime pal, the other was with an old employer. Whenever I was in the vicinity, I’d invite these contacts out for a beer or meal, and that diligence paid off.

On a side note, I made sure that I paid my fair share of the meals and drinks we shared when we went out, even though my friends might be better of financially than I was, just to make sure that I kept that relationship healthy.

I’ve spent about 20 years in the English-teaching industry and now I keep in contact with people in several countries. And I know that many or all of them would be ready to lend me a hand finding a job if I needed them to—and vice versa.

When in Rome…Network!

You’ll find that even though you may consider networking essential in your home country, it’s often given even higher importance abroad. So, don’t just focus on keeping your ties to home healthy—keep up with new contacts everywhere you work overseas.

I want to stress how important these overseas contacts can be. In many places, just the simple fact of being introduced to the right someone by the right someone else may garner you that dream job. In fact, introductions can play a meatier role in getting a job than your qualifications and experience will.

At this point, I anticipate, some of my readers are thinking, “Well, OK, but cut to the chase— will I have trouble when I go home?”

My advice is to keep up with your old contacts and further your education/training in both your former career and your new one.

It will also, of course, depend on what your previous job was and how fast the skill set for that occupation changes. If your background is in a volatile high-skill-set job, then yes, it does become harder to return to the exact type of position you left when you went overseas. In the beginning, perhaps the changes will be negligible, but after five or more years abroad, you’ll certainly notice that you’re missing skills when you try to transition back to your old career—if you haven’t tried to keep educating yourself.

My Story

The last time I worked in social work administration—my occupation in the States—was in 1989. I have kept up many of my former contacts from that line of work, but I doubt that I could truly go back to the same position that I had held before I left. However, my contacts would make it easier for me to go back to a different position in the same field—I’d just have to be a low man on the totem pole for awhile.

A few years ago I lunched with a former supervisor. I think that if I asked her, she’d be able to help me get a decent job—she’d be in a position to help too, because in the time that I’ve been away from the US, she’s worked her way much higher and gained more responsibilities (and abilities!).

Even Years Later

It’s funny that when I first wrote this, I was getting ready for an old friend to visit—someone I had worked with in Africa in 1989. We were Peace Corps volunteers together and shared great experiences, which left us good friends even all these many years later. I’m positive that we would be more than happy to help each other land a goof job if the need arose.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Don’t let your friends and old colleagues back home fall by the wayside. Keep up your contacts and invite them out for a drink or meal whenever you’re visiting the country.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Don’t devalue what you are doing abroad. Be sure your contacts know that you’re serious about working as an English teacher and about serving your students. Some people (especially those who have more traditional jobs) may see TEFL as a “slacker” option—make sure they realize that’s not true in your case.

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Reverse Culture Shock

All right. You’re prepared. You know all about culture shock and you’re ready to face those demons if they arise when you transition to a new teaching post overseas.

But are you on guard against Reverse Culture Shock?

What the heck is that, anyway?

Reverse Culture Shock (RCS) is the same as culture shock—only you get it when you return to your homeland.

If it seems unbelievable to you now that you could be ‘shocked’ by moving back to something that should be familiar and comforting, start believing it now.

When we go abroad and adjust to living in a new culture (and starting a new career, and speaking new languages, and…, and…) we often romanticize and idealize what it’s like “back home.” We only think of the good things, and we have an expectation that when we do return, everything will go swimmingly.  But, life has been going on while you were away and upon your return things often are not how you remembered—either they’ve changed, or you have.

Just as in culture shock, when you experience RCS, you may go through periods of elation, disappointment, anger and, at worst, depression.

Studies show…

I’ve read some research showing that people who assimilate well into their new foreign culture are more likely to experience more severe RCS when they return home.

What I know…

For me, I know that my home country doesn’t feel like “home” any more. In fact, I feel odd there. The go-go-go lifestyle with its attendant stress just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I find it a bit repellent, actually. I watch my friends and family and think how glad I am not to have such a high level of stress.

What if nowhere is home?

I’m not sure where it came from, but there’s an old saying that applies here: Once you’ve learned to live anywhere, you’ll feel at home nowhere. (If anyone knows the source of this saying, please send the reference!) There’s a lot of wisdom in this old maxim, and it’s something to consider when you’re thinking about starting a life abroad.

Little by little

However, the more countries you live in, and the more varied the cultures you adapt to, the more skilled you will become at transitioning between your “home” culture and your adopted one – and back. You’ll deal more smoothly with the issues that come up, and, usually, it will get easier to adjust.

This is another of life’s challenges that you’ll have to work through, not worry through.

Ted’s Tips™ #1: Don’t let people back home fall into thinking of you like this: “What happened to old  Whatshisname? Didn’t he go abroad?” Keep up your old contacts so that you have got a go-to list of people for friendship and job possibilities when (or if) you do go home.

Ted’s Tips™ #2: Use the same tricks to beat RCS as you would to beat culture shock: get out of your shell and get busy.  Volunteer, join a community club or group. The worst thing you can do is stay at home and wallow.


Teaching Internships in China