How to write a good resume and cover letter.
Writing a good resume is not rocket science. In fact, many of the rocket scientists that apply are rejected based on their poorly written resumes. A resume is not a Curriculum Vitae, it is a document that includes the most relevant experience of the candidate (you) that matches the requirements of the job.
In order to write a good resume the first thing you have to consider is your audience. Who will read your resume? What are they looking for?
Imagine yourself as the hiring manager or the school owner. What would you be looking for in a teacher if you were the one hiring? Think also about the fact that your audience is probably shuffling a ton of resumes. How do you make yours stand out from all the others in a professional way?
At Footprints Recruiting we want the best for our teachers, and we want the best teachers. We also want people who are sincere about this opportunity (which is probably you given you are reading this page).
Even without experience, you can still write a good resume that will catch the interest of the hiring manager. Some important points to consider before you get started:
- Spell Check - an English teacher should know how to spell. Take the time to proof read your resume and cover letter. Use a ruler and closely study each line. We also recommend reading aloud and asking a friend for feedback.
- Formatting - take the time to make sure that your resume looks professional. There are many websites out there that offer free templates.
- Short and Sweet - a resume should be no more than 2 pages.
- Simple and straightforward - in many cases, those that are hiring you are not native English speakers. Use bullet points to make it easier for them to read and your vernacular should be carefully chosen to be clear, eloquent and easy to understand.
Items to Include in Your Teaching Resume
Like a good lesson plan, a resume should have clear points and should be laid out in an easy to read, easy to follow format. The following are critical elements we recommend including:
- Full Name
- Contact Information
- Date of Birth
- Education History
- Relevant Coursework and Certifications
- Relevant Work Experience
- Work Experience
- Volunteer Experience
- International Experience
- Awards, Merits, Certifications
- Hobbies and Interests
To start your resume you will need a jump off point. This is your Objective.
You would be amazed at how many "teaching resumes" we receive where the objective is to get a good job in IT or where "I want to get a position where I can make a positive impact". Blah Blah Blah. We want someone who knows what they want to do and who is sincere about teaching.
A good objective should clearly state your goals and interest in becoming a great teacher.
To teach elementary and/or middle school aged students in South Korea where I can develop my skills and knowledge as a teacher and explore an amazing country.
Your objective should be clear and it should be specific to teaching English. Be careful not to be too general or too specific. Being too specific will cause employers to discard your application if their job doesn't specifically fit your description.
Once you have your objective you are going to move on to the body of the resume.
It is important that you stay organized with your resume so that employers don't have to take out a magnify glass to find what they are looking for. A commonly used layout that we suggest would be to organize your resume in the following order (ideally one page long but definitely no more than two).
- Name and details
- Objective (make this job specific)
- Education (be sure to include the years attended)
- Work Experience (be sure to list both the month and year start and end date)
- Other Skills (make this relevant to the job)
Related Experience and Course Work
Although an Education degree and specific classroom experience is preferred, there are many other experiences and circumstances where you might have learned or exhibited the skills required as a teacher. The following are strengths and experiences you might consider including in your resume if they apply to you:
- experience with kids
- teaching swimming lessons, skiing or any subject or area of interest
- management roles as they pertain to training
- training in any area or subject
You can find a great sample resume to download at the bottom of this article
Your cover letter is important because it gives the company you are seeking employment with a snapshot of who you are, and what you have to offer. It not only summarizes your accomplishments, but it also reflects your personality through the words and experiences you choose to share in it.
Your cover letter also allows you to explain how your previous position/s have given you important skills that you can apply to the job you are hoping to get. In your resume it might not be evident why working as an administrative assistant etc. is relevant or useful for working as an E.S.L. teacher, this is your chance to explain why it is. Whether it’s because you were able to train other staff members, or because it allowed you to perfect your written communication skills, this is your chance to show that you have what it takes.
Below we have shown you the most common layout for constructing a cover letter.
Include the position that you are applying for and why you are applying for it. Show that you have a genuine interest in the position.
Include why you are a good match for the job. Briefly describe your education and the positions and experiences you have had in the past that make you an ideal candidate.
Let the employer know that you look forward to hearing from them.
Example (for a recent grad.):
Dear Sir or Madam: It is with great interest that I am applying for the position of an E.S.L. teacher at your school. After researching a number of opportunities, I have decided that teaching E.S.L. overseas is definitely the right decision for me. I feel that not only will teaching overseas offer me a chance to learn about another culture, but it will also allow me to work in a leadership role while becoming a better educator. As a university graduate, I have learned the value and rewards of hard work and dedication. Throughout my university career I strived to do my best, and I promise to do the same as an E.S.L. teacher at your school. In addition to the skills I learned while obtaining my Bachelor of Science, I also learned how to create meaningful lessons and activities while earning my T.E.S.L. certification, this will assist me greatly if given the chance to work at your school. Additionally, working as a swim instructor and babysitter has allowed me to work with children on an ongoing basis and I have proven to be a person that cares about his charges/students and their success. Finally, while volunteering as an E.S.L. tutor I have had the chance to help others improve their English language skills, and this has been truly rewarding for me and I look forward to continuing on the tradition at a great school such as yours. I would be honored to work for your school, and I look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me as I would be happy to answer them for you. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Now put that shiny new resume to good use! Apply now to teach overseas: