How to Market Yourself For a TEFL Job

See the DRAFT (not finished yet!) transcript below.

This is one of the most important segments if you’re out there looking for a job and it’s how to market yourself, how to look at all the things that are important, to make sure you present yourself in the best possible light. So what you need to think about is how can I make myself as attractive as possible for a potential employer.

Two things are important. Make them want you on their team, to think this is the person I’ve been looking for. And make yourself an attractive candidate in every way and let them know you don’t have the problems the last person they had to let go.

Be an attractive candidate both literally and figuratively. Make sure your photo on your resume is professionally done. Be sure to dress professionally. When I was hiring and placing people in China and other locations, people literally sent pictures of them drunk with friends or snuggling up with a boyfriend and girlfriend our making out with a boyfriend or girlfriend. What message did they want to give a potential employer?

For the photo, be dressed professionally. Men should be in a dress shirt and tie and women should dress with a similar level of formality. Teachers are taken seriously in most other countries (Especially in East Asia). They are expected to act and dress as a profession would. Smile in your picture. If you have visible tattoos, especially if on your face or neck, hide them as best you can. You are after all looking for a job in a market that is most likely far more conservative than your own. Teachers in most places are expected to project a relatively conservative appearance.

The point here is to try to make yourself competitive, as competitive as you possibly can. When you can, demonstrate that you have some real interest in the occupation and are not just trying to get a plane ticket to another part of the world. Let an employer know that you have volunteered, have any kind of multicultural knowledge, travel experience and or multilingual skills.

Any previous experience you have had with other cultures and countries will reassure potential employers that you will not freak out and run away after only a week or two on the job.

Be sure that you eliminate any negative issues. Show specifically that you are reliable that you can hold down a job for a long time. Note any family responsibilities, if you’re married and anything else that stresses stability and dependability. Schools are used to or people just passing through and they are hoping that you’re going to be really stable and reliable.

Expectations of employees are sometimes reflected in contracts employers will show you. Try to counter any of the negative ideas the contract may raise. In another video, I mentioned that in my very first teaching contract there was a clause that said exactly this: If the teacher gets drunk and breaks up furniture at the school, the teacher will be expected to pay for it (!) What kind of experience do you think they had with teachers! Think a bit about the chances the school is taking and present yourself in a way that will reassure them.


Semi-retired EFL teacher/teacher-trainer working and living abroad since 1989 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.