TEFL related jobs are available in cities, towns and beach resorts in dozens of countries spread right across the world, but what is the best way to secure the right position for you? Unfortunately there is no simple answer as it varies from one region to the next. Here we look at the main job hunting strategies that you can use to find and land that dream job teaching English abroad.
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If you are looking for a job outside the country you are currently in, then using online searches is a common option. There are many jobs boards online that post available positions from countries worldwide. The majority of these jobs will be in regions where the demand for teachers is so high that employers are happy to hire teachers without the need for a face-to-face interview. These are most likely to be found in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Once you have found a job or several jobs that interest you simply fill in the application form online or send in your CV/resume and wait for a response. If successful the next step will probably be an interview via Skype or even telephone.
The great benefit of this method is the security you get by having a job already in place before you leave your home country. On the downside there is always a risk in accepting a position without actually seeing where you will be working or meeting your fellow staff members. The best advice here is to ensure that the contract is very clear on important issues such as salary, working hours, contract length and issues involving early termination of your employment. In the worst case scenario that the job is not all you hoped it would be, you will at least be in a good position to look for new employment from within the country.
Another popular option for ensuring you have a job before you leave your home country is to apply via a recruitment company. Many employers, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, use outside recruitment companies to fill their available teaching positions. The upside of this method, apart from job security on arrival, is that it can reduce much of the hassle involved in organizing the whole process including visas, work permits and other paperwork. The downside is that a small proportion of these companies are less than reputable so you should always do your research and ensure that you are clear on all the terms of the contract before signing.
Also worth considering are government sponsored programs that operate in some countries. The two most popular programs are the JET Program in Japan and the EPIK Program in South Korea, both of which recruit large numbers of teachers every year to work in state schools. These programs tend to be quite competitive so you will need to meet certain criteria to have a chance of being accepted.
Being in the country where you are looking for work clearly has many advantages over applying from abroad. This approach generally provides many more options than you will find online and also allows you to visit the school and talk to current teachers before you make any decisions. Applying for jobs locally can be a great way to land a job in any country worldwide and is realistically the only way in certain regions such as Latin America and parts of Europe where few jobs are posted online. Unfortunately this approach does require adequate funds to see you through to your first paycheck, and it is hard to know how long that might be.
If you are not yet TEFL qualified it is worth considering an in-class TEFL certification course in the region where you are keen to work. This will allow you to get used to your new environment and also research the local employment market whilst becoming qualified. Most course providers will also include some level of job hunting assistance that can prove invaluable in kick starting your teaching career.
Of course, you are not restricted to using only one method of finding a teaching position. Once you have decided on a region you could sign-up for a TEFL course in that area, contact recruitment companies to see if they have any openings and also send off your CV/resume to jobs you have found online. The more options you explore, the better chance you will have of landing the perfect teaching job to suit your plans.