Tag Archive | Teaching English as a foreign language

TEFL Lessons Learned – finding a job

A quick Google search will give you thousands of TEFL job sites. Finding one for jobs in France is much more difficult.

These are the sites that I used:

TEFL.com has a good selection of jobs that is updated regularly, and you can sign up for job emails. The only problem with this site is that you need to use their online form to apply, which is really restrictive. Craigslist is Craigslist – many dodgy ads, but also many legitimate ones and it’s targeted at expats. Fusac is a French and English classifieds magazine that comes out every month or so, and you can view it online or download the pdf version – you can also find the hardcopy at W H Smith, the American Church of Paris, some language schools and other expat hangouts. There are lots of jobs for expats advertised, ranging from teachers to aupairs to bilingual secretaries. It also advertises rooms, conversation groups and other activities for Anglophones.

And i-to-i, the school through which I did my TEFL course, gave me a 477-page pdf of contact details for English language schools around the world, including 14 pages of schools in France. If I hadn’t had any luck with the job ads, I would have started knocking down classroom doors, begging for a job.

So, what goes into this resume and cover letter if you’re looking for your first TEFL job?

Luckily I’d done some English tutoring at university (two 1.5 hour classes on a Saturday morning for a class of three seven-year-old girls and a class of eight eight-year-old boys). So I divided my work experience into ‘teaching experience’ and ‘other experience’. Under the teaching experience I made this tutoring job sound like I was teaching English as a foreign language, and left out the dates so they wouldn’t know that I’d only done it for three months in 2007.

The ‘other experience’ section of my resume was my regular resume – because I was applying for Business English positions, demonstrating that I had some business experience was advantageous.

In my cover letter I tried to emphasise my language skills and my English skills, and structured it like this:

  1. Information about my course – how many hours it was, how many of these were in person, and a list of some of my appropriate specialist certificates
  2. Information about my degree – I have a BA with a major in English, including several subjects on grammar and writing, so I cashed in on this
  3. Information about my teaching experience – in my case, the tutoring I did at university. If I didn’t have this, I probably would have referred to work that I’d done with people.

I didn’t hear back from everyone, but it was enough to get me six positive emails, four interviews, two job offers and one job!