How do I Market Myself for a China ESL Job?
How can I make myself attractive to a potential ESL employer?
Two things are important. One, make them want to hire you. Make yourself an attractive candidate in every way. And two, let them know you don’t have the problems the last person they fired had!
Be an attractive candidate
Literally and figuratively. Make sure your photo on your resume is professionally done and that you are dressed professionally. Men should be in a dress shirt and tie – women – uh, I don’t know what you call it – but dress professionally, okay? Smile in your picture. Avoid facial hair (men and women!) [But I do have a mustache and beard so I am not following my own advice here, okay?]. If you do have facial hair, groom it well for the photo.
If you have tattoos, a pierced anything, a Mohawk hair style or anything that makes you look less professional, hide it as best you can. You are, after all, looking for a job in a market that is much more conservative than your own. Reveal your true self later, not during the job hunt! Prepare yourself in the same way you would for any job that you really wanted in your home country.
Highlight your TEFL training if you have it (in particular – it shows you are prepared and ready to go), any teaching/training experience you may have (TEFL or not, paid and/or volunteer), multicultural knowledge, travel experience, multilingual skills (if you have them) and anything else that helps you appear ready, skilled, and professional.
Your travel and knowledge/experience with other cultures and countries will reassure potential employers that you won’t freak out and run away after only a week or two on the job. That happens more often than you might believe.
Be sure to highlight any special skills and abilities, and anything you might have identified in your recruiter’s or potential employer’s webpage when you reviewed it.
Eliminate the Negative
Write specifically that you are reliable, can hold down a job for long periods (if you can and have), highlight family responsibilities, note if you are married, add anything that stresses dependability.
Review potential contracts and stress your positive side of any issues related in it. For example, I once had a contract that literally said, If the teacher gets drunk and breaks the furniture in the classroom, he must pay for the damages. What experiences that school must have had in the past!
That was my very first contract. Expectations of employers are often reflected in contracts they will show you. Read the contract carefully and try to counter any of the negative issues.
Regarding that first contract of mine . . . FUNNY, but you only hear on the Internet about the BAD and terrible EMPLOYERS – never anything about the troublesome employees . . . Remember the Internet often/usually/almost always presents only one side of the story.