How to write your teach abroad resume/CV
However one thing that makes my job more difficult is when people send me Resumes/CV’s that place barriers to their successful application. Remember that your goal as an applicant is to get me to want to call you!
What are these barriers I hear you all cry! (In my head I hear you cry anyway). I’m going to give you some of the top 3 tips below in the form of key questions you should ask yourself before sending over your resume.
Please do remember you are applying for an English teaching job (or a job that will use English in some capacity), if you have badly spelled or typed resumes this is a big turn off to a recruiter and a school. Get a spell checking software-don’t type it in notepad or anything else that doesn’t accept spell checks and formatting! Likewise if you’re old-school with your writing/reading then get a print out and hand correct it! One thing I always do with important mailings or documents is get someone to check it before I send it out as no matter how careful I am I’ve usually missed something.
Before you send a resume off, take a step back and imagine how easy it is to read for a person who isn’t you! STRUCTURE your C.V.!
It often doesn’t matter what structure you use so long as it’s clear, concise and readable. Formatting is important and in many cases it seems to be feast or famine. It’s either way too little writing, making it hard to read or it's just way too much, making it a smorgasbord of design and fluff that makes a resume look hollow.
Make use of headings, sub-headings, categorisations, font and enboldening, underlining and italics. Is it really necessary to use ‘comic sans’ font as your body text? If you’re going to underline something is it the thing you really what you want to emphasise?
Tables can also sometimes be nice to layout your resume but bear in mind that they sometimes go a little skewed on different machines and reading methods so keep them simple without too much embedding.
Emphasis on the right information including dates (preferably with months not just years), also try to make sure overlapping dates are explained!
Emphasise the right skills: Education, training and development, English presentation skills, public speaking, working with certain age groups, tutoring and classroom experience are all important to your application. Many ‘crossover’ skills might not substitute for direct experience but a well thought out resume will make a big difference for a borderline situation of ‘are you suitable for the job?’.
Explain long gaps of inactivity and overly short terms of employment-why did you leave a job? Was it a short term contract? Did you have a family situation? Leaving this information out will prompt questions from any recruiter or school worth their salt. Also make sure to state whether work is part time or full time as having three jobs in one year could potentially look bad if dates and f/t p/t status isn’t complete.
KISS! Not 'Keep It Super Simple', as you may be aware of, in this context I say: 'Keep It Short and Sweet'. Some say resumes should be no longer than a page. I’d say a threshold of 1.5 or 2 is ok but certainly not 3 pages or more! It makes it very difficult to sift through for the key info that’s in there. Use short and sharp sentences that get to the point. Bullet points and numbers are your friends here.
For teaching positions, or in fact any jobs in China, the standard required information on your resume and C.V is a little different than in the west:
Photos: Chinese resumes generally require a photo in the resume or at least attached to it in some way. Make sure that your photo is appropriate to the job and if you’re looking to work with kids, a photo with a smile is likely to sway more than a serious one!
D.O.B.: This is a tricky one as many countries in the west state it is illegal for companies to request this info however, it’s a very normal and necessary thing for schools to do here, if only because of the Chinese work permit restrictions.
Nationality: Include the nationality that’s on your passport! Teaching positions in China usually require a native speaker from the 7 ‘core’ countries of USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. If you’re not from these places it will be harder (but not impossible) to find work. Most of the time this requirement is down to work permit restrictions rather than any real discrimination on the part of the school.
Contact Details: This is an international position in a modern and changing world. Make sure to have at least 2-3 ways of someone contacting you on your C.V. I personally like to see an email, a phone number and also some form of digital chat contact such as MSN, Skype,QQ etc. It’s worth noting too that Skype will be a common way for you to be interviewed for international teaching positions so get signed up! It’s free and makes it a much nicer (and cheaper) method of communication.