How do I write the perfect resume for teaching online, you ask? Are you telling prospective employers, “Hi, I’m currently (or will be) a great teacher”? From formatting, to language skills, work history and background research; here are 10 questions to consider that will highlight your positives…. and get you hired.
Is my resume well formatted?
A resume for teaching online needs to have the grammar and spelling must be “on point”. You are applying for an English teaching job after all. Download a free app like Grammarly and/or ask a friend to review your resume before you send it.
Find a clean, simple template (a free template from Microsoft Office is more than sufficient) and keep it to 1-2 pages.
You should also put in a few things that you don’t when applying for a job domestically:
- Put your time zone, with the GMT+number code, e.g “GMT+10:00 (AEDT)”. This helps the interviewer schedule a time with you.
- Skype ID (Optional). This is the most common way for online interviews to be held.
- Phone number, including country code, +61 Australia / +64 New Zealand (Optional).
- Photo (Optional). While there is A LOT of debate on whether or not to include a photo, we recommend that you include a small, professional-looking head shot. If a company is going to reject me based on my looks, I’d rather they do it before wasting my time in an interview. This is optional though and completely up to you.
Who is reading my resume?
Keep language simple and clear. Many staff members speak excellent English but don’t assume this to be the case. Consider the person reading your resume. Are you using any colloquial English that someone from another country wouldn’t understand?
Is my resume focused?
Make sure that your resume is focused on teaching or your professional history. Keep personal history relevant to your job only. Languages, qualifications, short courses etc. are great – when relevant.
If you are a new teacher, consider how your previous work experience can directly help you teach (good organisation, people skills etc.) OR how you may be able to teach related English. The main complaint that we hear is that newbies often just put a list of the previous jobs that they have had, in chronological order. Try and keep it related to teaching-adjacent skills as much as possible. Probably best to keep that job at McDonalds back in high school off your resume!
Emphasise non-teaching experience only when relevant to to the English that you will be teaching. Stand back from your own experience and consider what your student might need. Use key words and phrases for the area in which you wish to teach. IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Adult, Business, Career, Health, Psychology, Exam preparation, high school etc. Make your experience in these areas CLEAR.
Is my resume highlighting my positives?
If you are from a non-teaching background, this is A POSITIVE. If you have skills sought by others in common or popular professions such as medicine, business, any professional skill such as accounting, finance and media – this makes you stand out.
How do I highlight my positives?
What is your mission statement?
Teachers are often humble folk and the idea of a mission statement seems to them self-promotional and marketing a terrible beast to be best avoided. While we understand this feeling, it cannot be further from the truth. In order to attract the highest salary, you must be able to quickly and succinctly tell a company that you are worth the amount that you are asking for by highlighting your strengths – in all areas. Students must be immediately attracted to what you are doing, so spending some time really thinking about a teaching niche for yourself from a larger range of broader teaching areas, such as IELTS etc – we have found – means that you can be teaching part-time almost immediately with a regular student base.
This can as simple as:
“I am name. I am from x. (My mission statement is) I help students to manage anxiety in IELTS speaking tests. This comes from my own experience of anxiety in international language testing and speaking which I successfully overcame (FOR EXAMPLE).”
“I teach English.”
Who are you?
Humble teacher, You are full of positive attributes. Highlight your positives in a brief fashion, ask for a salary that provides you a comfortable living wage. Negotiate and ask for more. Assert your positive strengths and give an approximation of your available hours.
Do not consider anything a negative. You must sell and market yourself to the company. Bi-lingualism is a positive asset, as is international travel, study and exam taking.
Is my resume truthful?
We often mistake what people want from us. This means that we use dishonesty to confuse or mistake our students. We can never know what people want so it is better to just be yourself. Do not lie on your resume. It never pays off.
Should I mention my language skills?
Multi-lingualism is a positive asset and a widely coveted skill. If you speak multiple languages, please let your interviewer/students/mentor/friends know. You should be paid more if you can attract students in more than one language. Sell your skills.
Have I put TOO much history?
Only put relevant jobs. One page is enough. Even for experienced teachers. 20+ years means 20+ years. No need to elaborate. Time is a premium in hiring offices.
Will my resume get me an interview?
As any novice teacher will tell you, it is the interview stage where you will quickly need to step out from behind your resume. You will now be assessed on your ability to teach English online in an engaging, fun and enjoyable way.
Questions interviewers/hirers/HR staff ask themselves:
- How do you present to camera?
- Do you smile while speaking?
- Are you engaging and approachable?
A resume is only ever a summary document. It can only tell an interviewer so much. How you act in front of a camera will ultimately weigh more than pure experience. Don’t be afraid to apply at more than one company, with experience comes a confidence in teaching. Find your teaching niche, market yourself and be clear in who and what you wish to teach …and charge accordingly.
Want to stand out even more? Do your research!
Kate (GradCertEd TESOL) studied a TESOL certificate in 2010 and has been teaching English ever since. Tutoring ‘freelance’ for many years before starting an independent teaching business, she began Teach English Online to support Australians and New Zealanders to do the same. Just starting out, want to apply to one of the 300+ global companies or build your own small independent teaching business? She can help.