How do I create a resume that will help me get a job as an online ESL teacher? Many people have asked this, so we thought it best to try to help out.
There are different approaches that others are going to suggest, and some of them are just as good as what you read here.
The main thing is to understand what the schools are looking for, and you should create a cover letter for each application you send. Yes, take the time to let the school know that you have read the requirements and how you match up with them. Don’t be lazy!
The resume that you give to a potential online school is much different than the resume for brick-and-mortar jobs. Just keep this in mind as we show you how to create a top-notch resume.
View Table of Contents
- 1 Cover Letter
- 2 Basic Resume Requirements
- 3 Additional Resume Items to Include for Online ESL Teachers
- 4 Example Resume
- 5 Concluding Thoughts
“Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do” from 21 Keys to a Happy Life. I always found that to be an excellent motivating quote whenever I was feeling lazy. Do not be lazy when it comes to writing a cover letter!
Keep in mind that most of the other teachers are going to send their CV/Resume with a generic cover letter. A generic cover letter is not a dealbreaker, but having a custom one specific for each school you are applying to might be that extra bit that grabs their attention.
The simplest way to create a cover letter is to write in a manner that explains to the potential employer as to why you are a good fit. Create this based on the requirements that they listed. It is that simple, and it will take little time at all to write a new one for each school where you submit your resume.
Along with meeting all of their requirements, you should also include what differentiates you from other teachers. Keep in mind that if the students are children, you should add relevant information about teaching children.
As an example, let them know if you have props to keep the children focused and excited. Explain your knowledge and ability to use Total Physical Response(TPR). If you do not understand TPR, then you can learn about it here.
If you are teaching adults, then highlight how your experience will help adult ESL learners in their real-world business life. You can find an extensive list of Business English lessons on Live English Tutor.
Here is a list of other items to think about when applying for a job as an online ESL Teacher:
- If you are a native or non-native teacher.
- What kind of accent you have or if it is neutral. Many schools are looking for an American(US) accent.
- How your teaching skills meet their demands.
- Do you have a TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or another certificate
- The Internet speed of your connection and if it is wired or wifi. Include as well if you have a backup connection.
- Where you are currently located. Yes, I realize that some schools require that you are teaching from certain countries and that could impact you getting a job.
- What kind of computer you are working on and if you have a backup. Include the specifications such as memory, OS version, and camera as examples.
- Your teaching environment including any props or whiteboard that you will use during the lessons.
- Mention that you have a high-quality headset and camera. If you do not have both of these then you should get them.
- Have a recent, professional quality picture of yourself on your resume.
- An introduction video that is posted on YouTube. Yes, many of the Chinese schools have YouTube blocked, but others will use a VPN to get through. If you can post your video on Youku.com for the Chinese schools then you are ahead of the rest.
Example Cover Letter Experienced Teacher
After reading all of your requirements here https://t.vipkid.com.cn/opportunity, it appears that I would be an excellent fit for your company and the wonderful children that you teach. Since I am from the United States and have a bachelor’s degree in teaching English, I am familiar with and know how to teach US Common Core State Standards. I have taught online for three years and have over five years of in-class teaching experience with children ages 5 to 10. The teachers in my school district and I all use Total Physical Response(TPR) when applicable.
I have read over the requirements regarding the number of hours per week along with the peak times. This fits in well with my schedule since I am a stay-at-home mom. Fortunately, I have a quiet section of my house where I can teach from and have various props and a whiteboard to use during the lessons.
In regards to the technical requirements that I see here https://t.vipkid.com.cn/tech-reqs, there is no problem with meeting any of those. My computer is a newer model Dell(8gb RAM Intel i5) running Windows 10 and the latest virus protection. It comes with an HD camera that works well, and I also have a top-of-the-line Logitech headset. Like I mentioned above, I have been teaching online for a while now, so I already have the proper equipment. My connection is a wired DSL connection with 45mps up and 30mps down. In my attached resume you will find a link to my speed test results. Lastly, I have the proper versions of Chrome and Firefox installed.
Beyond all the requirements that you have asked for, you will find that I am probably one of the most energetic teachers you ever met. Teaching is my passion, and I look forward to working with you. I am part of one of the Facebook groups for recruiting VIPKid teachers. Many of them remind me of myself, and that is why I chose to apply to your excellent company.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Example Cover Letter No Experience
After reading over all of the requirements listed here https://www.dadaabc.com/teacher/job/, it looks like I would make a great fit for your company and especially the children that I will be teaching. I am from Canada and am currently living in Thailand. My working environment is extremely quiet. The background behind me contains a whiteboard and props that can be used to engage the 5 to 12-year-old children that I will be teaching. Using Total Physical Response(TPR) to keep the children active is also important and part of my lessons. My 120 hour TEFL certification has also helped me to understand the needs of the students.
Committing to a six-month contract is no problem at all. Hopefully, we can sign an extended contract since I like to be committed to one job for a long period. The laptop I have is a Toshiba with an excellent HD camera, a powerful processor, and 8GB of RAM. My headset is one of the latest versions from Logitech and is of high quality. The Internet connection where I live is stable and has a download speed of 35 Mbps and 25 Mbps upload. I also have a spare connection just in case there are any issues. The last technical requirement is a Chrome browser which I also have.
I think that I will make a great DaDaABC teacher. My interaction with all of the children will be equal and exciting for them to ensure they get the best experience possible. During the demo lesson, I will be ready to ensure that I have the proper teaching delivery, frequent interaction with the students, clear and thorough explanations on language points, and prompt correction of the student’s mistakes.
Please find the rest of my qualifications and background in the attached resume. Beyond what you see on paper, you will find that I am incredibly enthusiastic and a highly reliable individual. I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you and follow the application process to the end.
Basic Resume Requirements
There are a few requirements that each resume should have no matter the position or type of job. Make sure that you have your name and contact details stated at the top and bottom of your resume. If you are traveling a lot, then you should get a Skype in number or some other method to where you have a consistent number that can be forwarded to your local number.
Do not worry about this too much as most people will contact you through email first. However, having a US-based number through Skype or another service is a bonus. Be sure to include your Skype ID as well since many schools like to perform interviews over Skype.
Keep your resume clean and straightforward. Use any of the primary fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman. Stick with black as the primary color, along with bolded letters when appropriate, and dark grey when necessary. If you provide links, make sure they are in blue only.
The other basics include education, experience, awards, skills section, certifications, and appropriate recommendations from others. Lastly, you want to make sure that you have an objective that lines up with the objectives of the school and job.
As an example, if you are applying to LearnShip then you should have a goal focused on teaching adults. If you are applying to 51Talk, then your objective should be lined up and focused on teaching children.
My preference in sending a resume is in pdf format. Check to see if the school requires a specific format. If they do and you have to convert it you should always check the conversion. The formatting might change during the conversion process.
Additional Resume Items to Include for Online ESL Teachers
Let’s go through the items that are specific to teaching English online. The main point is to show the potential employer your understanding of what it is they require from you as a teacher.
Just like your cover letter, you should make adjustments to your resume when applying if needed. Take the extra time and effort to put your best foot forward.
Native or Non-Native
Ok, so you live in San Francisco, but are you a native or not? Maybe you were not born in the US and English is not your native language.
List this out and let the employer know ahead of time. Yes, we all realise that there is a significant debate between what is native and non-native. It rages on in the various groups on Facebook. Use your best judgment an always tell the truth.
TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or Other Certificate
Having your certification listed is essential. Ensure that you have it front and center.
It is more than okay to list this before any of your past experiences. If this is one of your strong points, then make sure that you lead with it.
Having an active and reliable Internet connection to teach ESL online is extremely important. Not only a strong connection but preferably one that is wired.
You should run a speed test and post the image of the results along with a link to the results on your resume. Do note that the location of where the test is performed is included in the results.
Make sure that you do not have a VPN, or another type of connection on that will slow down the results. If you are fortunate enough to have a fibre connection run a test on Google fibre and included as well.
Included in with the rest of your contact information is your current location, so this should seem like a no-brainer. However, if you are not listing where you are located at as your primary address, then he should let them know in your resume.
Listing this can be a negative depending on where you are located. Use your best judgment concerning if you want to include this or not.
Having a quiet teaching environment that is clutter free is a valuable asset when it comes to getting a job and keeping the students happy. It would be nice if all of the students reciprocated, but of course, we do not live in a perfect world.
Include in the description of your environment if you have any teaching tools such as props and a whiteboard. If you are teaching children, you should think about investing in a whiteboard and some cheap props.
List out the type of computer you are using, the operating system, the amount of memory, and the type of processor. Also, include the kind of camera you have, and if you have a quality headset with a noise reduction microphone.
You are teaching online, right? Okay then, create an introduction video that clearly shows you are using a headset, have a nice clean background, can be heard crisp and clear. Show them that you are a real professional online teacher.
What to put in your video can be a rather lengthy topic and deserves a full post of its own. Take the time to write a short script of what you are going to say in your video. Record it a few times until you get it just right.
Include the basics about yourself while also including how you can help students learn through your online lessons. If you are focused on teaching children, this is an excellent time to bring out some props and show off your backboard as well. On the other hand, if you are teaching adults, make sure that you are wearing clothes that show you are in professional attire.
Keep in mind that YouTube has some reasonably easy to use editing functions once you upload your video. If you have a Mac, then use QuickTime to record your video and audio. If you are on Windows, there are different applications such as AnyCam that you can download to record your video.
Here is an example resume that focused on getting an online ESL teaching job:
Make sure that you are following up with the schools where you apply. Also, if you find someone who is offering a referral link to the company where you are applying, then get in contact with the teacher referring you to the school. Let them know you are applying, have used their referral link, and would like a little help. They get paid for each referral so they should be more than willing to help you out.
You will find debates over skin colour, age, if you are considered native or non-native, and all sorts of other topics. Do not believe everything you read from others when it comes to this subject.
Some people are just Negative Nancies or had a bad experience when applying to a company. Yes, there are some legit grievances, but merely apply and try your best.