TEFL/TESL/TESOL Job Search Information & Advice 

TEFL Job Search Tips


Different Approaches To Finding A TEFL Job

There are two major ways of finding an overseas TEFL job from Canada or the USA:
1) contact potential agents/employers to ask if they have any vacancies;
2) respond to advertised job vacancies.
To maximize your chances of finding a suitable job, you should incorporate both approaches into your job search.

Some useful tips on both approaches are given below. You can find more detailed advice on these and all other aspects of TEFL job searching in Jeff Mohamed's Teaching English Overseas.

It is also possible to find jobs by traveling to overseas countries to look for work. You can find advice on this approach to job searching in Teaching English Overseas.

Some teachers also find jobs by posting on the Jobs Wanted board at Dave's ESL Cafe. Advice about how to do this is given below.


Contacting Potential Agents & Employers

Many more TEFL jobs are obtained by contacting employers and agents to see if they need teachers than by replying to job vacancy advertisements.
The following tips should maximize your chances of finding a suitable overseas job by carrying out a 'cold' job search.

Get an up-to-date list of employers/agents for your target country/countries. As postal services are often slow, use a list which includes e-mail addresses and fax numbers.
(For details of a suitable list, go to our
Publications page.)

Prepare an appropriate résumé. This should be laid out simply and should be no more than one page in length. Include details of your citizenship, marital status and age. (This is standard practice in all overseas countries.)
Most employers in the USA and almost all employers elsewhere prefer a chronological, jobs-based résumé to a skills-based one.

Prepare an appropriate cover letter. As many employers have only limited English, your letter should be written in clear, simple and straightforward English.
Note: Check your letter carefully to make sure that it does not contain any errors in spelling, punctuation, etc.

Send a clean photocopy of your résumé and cover letter to each employer and agent on your list. If at all possible, use fax or e-mail. (If you do not have access to a fax machine, use one of the free internet fax services.)
If you use email, send the documents as text in your message and not as a file attachment: In these days of computer viruses, few employers will risk opening an attachment from someone they don't know!


Responding To Advertised Job Vacancies

Locate suitable vacancies by searching the the Jobs Offered boards of the major EFL/ESL websites.
(You can find site addresses on our
TEFL Sources page.)
Respond to all suitable postings.
Note: When you do this, be sure to follow any instructions which are given in the postings re. how to apply and which documents to provide.
Be persistent!
If the Jobs Offered boards do not feature any suitable vacancies, check back with them every day until you find what you are looking for.
Incorporate a different approach.
Many employers never advertise job vacancies but rely on being contacted by potential teachers. If this seems to be the case in your target country, start contacting possible employers/agents 'cold' (as explained above).


Posting On Dave's Job Wanted Board

You may be able to find a job by posting on the Jobs Wanted board of Dave's ESL Cafe. If you want to try this, be very careful about how you write your message. Remember that employers will initially judge how professional you are by the appearance of your posting.

The heading/title of your posting is crucial so:
- mention where you want to teach;
- say if you are TEFL certified or have experience;
- avoid silly headings (e.g., "Crazy Dude Wants Job").
Make sure you include your correct e-mail address.
(I find about 10% of e-mail addresses are incorrect.)
Avoid using a cute screen name: "CoolChick" and "LazyBoy"do not look very professional.
Include a brief résumé, as text. (See "Contacting Potential Agents & Employers" above.)
Check your grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization. Then check it again: Employers do not hire people who are "expierienced" or who want to teach "english."


Completing Your Job Search

If you carry out a job search as we have suggested, you should be offered interviews by employers and/or agents. If you perform well at interviews, you should then receive job offers.

For detailed advice on how to be successful at interviews and how to evaluate and respond to job offers, read Jeff Mohamed's book Teaching English Overseas, which the ESL Cafe's Dave Sperling has called "truly the finest job guide available for Americans and Canadians."

As almost all interviews for TEFL jobs include questions about grammar points and how you would deal with them in your classes, you will want to brush up on your knowledge of grammar. There is no better way to do this than by using our book A Grammar Development Course For American Teachers Of EFL/ESL.


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