4 Ways to Land a Job Teaching English Abroad


Landing a job in another country is a little more complicated than finding one close to home, but the process is still very similar. You still need the proper qualifications, and you still need to line up interviews and impress your prospective employer. Follow these four steps to improve your chances of landing a job teaching English overseas.

1. Get the Right Education and Certification

The competition is growing for English language teachers abroad. There are more jobs available, but there are also a lot more qualified teachers since the popularity of TESOL/TEFL programs has been increasing. TESOL or TEFL certification is a must, but it may not be all you need. Students with master's or bachelor's degrees will have a much easier time finding employment than those with associate's degrees.

When choosing an instructional program for your TESOL/TEFL certification, check to see whether the school you are considering offers any placement services. Finding a job will be a lot easier if you have some help available. Also check out What You Should Know About Preparing to Teach English Abroad

2. Decide Where You Want to Teach

Have you always loved the Spanish language? Maybe Mexico, Spain, or Venezuela will be among the countries that appeal to you. Are there specific countries you'd like to visit someday? This can be a great way to see the world and cross one or two of those must-see destinations off your bucket list. Some things to consider when deciding which country you'd like to teach in are:

•    What is the native language? Are you willing to learn to speak at least enough to get by?

•    Which countries appeal to you from a tourism perspective?

•    Which countries offer the best payment and benefit packages?

3. Scour the Job Listings

In addition to working with your school's job placement department, you'll want to keep an eye on online job boards that publish listings for English teaching jobs in other countries. Here are a few boards to get you started with your job search:

•    Dave's ESL Cafe

•    ESL Employment

•    ESL Job Feed

•    TEFL Job Search

•    Total ESL

As you can see by taking a look at these boards, the jobs are out there. In most cases, you'll be asked to send a resume or CV along with a recent photograph when you apply for a job. Read the job requirements carefully, follow the instructions given for applying, and customize your cover letter to emphasize the skills you have that match their requirements.

4. Prepare for the Interview

Although you can certainly hop on a plane and conduct your job search overseas, it makes a lot more sense financially to conduct your job search from home and wait until you have a job offer to buy your plane tickets. You'll most likely be interviewing through Skype or over the phone. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your interview:

•    Dress for success: Even if the interviewer can't see you, you'll exude more confidence if you're dressed in business attire.

•    Equip your computer: If you don't have a microphone, speakers, and webcam, you'll need to get them. Be prepared for a video interview on Skype, just in case.

•    Prepare the background: Pay attention to what's behind you. Your interviewer will see the mess the kids made or the peeling wallpaper, and that won't make a good impression at all. Make sure the area behind you is clean and neat.

•    Read sample interview questions: Review both basic interview questions and lists of questions for people teaching English abroad. You may be asked about your familiarity with the culture and other things that you wouldn't typically hear in a domestic job interview. Be prepared.

•    Research both the country and the school: In addition to researching the company you'll be working for, make sure you know a little bit about the country you'll be living in. What is the native language? What sorts of foods are commonly eaten? What are the biggest tourist attractions? What is the most prevalent religion?

•    Research the culture: Pay special attention to the appropriate way to address a superior and any taboos that may cause you to be seen in a negative light.

Once you've decided which country you want to work in, you can start looking into immunization, passport, and visa requirements. You'll also need to figure out what to do with the possessions you're leaving behind. By dealing with details such as these well in advance, you'll be ready to say "yes" and book your flight right away as soon as you get a job offer.