Only a small percentage of teach English abroad jobs or vacancies are advertised. The most numerous and assessable source is, of course, online. Another good supply of ESL jobs is the specialist press like the UK’s Times Education Supplement. Responding to individual advertisements takes time so the process needs to be well-planned and coordinated. The first few will take you much longer than subsequent applications but care needs to be taken in answering the specific ad precisely and not turning out generic responses that have little chance of success.
Any post advertised is likely to receive a good number of applications. The key to making a successful application is to distinguish yourself from all the other prospective teachers who will be competing for the same position.
Make sure you follow all instructions to the letter. This will include how to apply and what to include. Attention to detail is an ESL job requirement. If for any reason you are unable to adhere to any points, such as not having transcripts available, then state this clearly in your cover letter email and say how you will rectify it if possible.
Always keep a copy of the advertisement and application. If it is online, cut and paste it into a specified file. As already mentioned, if you are contacted for an interview it is essential you know exactly what you have applied for to prepare for the interview.
Before the rise of the internet, the application process was a long and drawn out affair. Because of the relatively unreliable and slow international post, responses to applications took weeks, months or just never came. Fortunately things have improved. However the ease and availability of ads on websites means that many applicants don’t take proper care in responding to them. It is far better to apply to 8 teach English abroad jobs properly than 30 briefly and quickly. With some sites you will need to be a registered member. Be sure to have an appropriate user name. If you don’t, re-register. In a long list of applicants the first ones to be deleted will any that don’t look like they are a serious applicant.
There is some debate over whether you should include your resume as an attachment or not. Many people are, understandably, afraid of computer viruses and may not even open the document, especially if it is your first contact with them. An alternative is to paste your resume at the end of your email. You might even want to consider doing this as well as adding an attachment.
Try to be brief and direct when responding to ads. Use a clear subject line such as “Teaching Position” or “Job Opening”. The employer will receive a great number of replies so make yours easy to read.
Show clearly in your cover email/letter that you meet the job’s criteria. Instead of going into detail about your background simply say “I meet all of your required qualifications: I am a native English speaker from the United States and have a Bachelor’s degree from Temple University, Philadelphia “.
You may want to consider setting up a website with a profile, photo, resume and other relevant information that prospective employers can visit. Make it very clear you are interested in teach English abroad jobs. If you haven’t set up a website before it is easier than it sounds. Many web-builder sites offer a free basic service and it should only take a couple of days to get up and running. Don’t forget to include the link in your message.