Before you even think about teaching abroad, you will need to investigate the type of employment you are after and write a CV or Resume to fit the profile of the Job Description.

*****A word of advice: Don’t apply for a job that asks for qualifications if you do not have them.*****

This wastes your time because your application will certainly be rejected by employers. It is also a waste of time for employers who might even put your name into a category marked unsuitable, which could mean that you miss out on other jobs that are a good fit.

Educational qualifications, or lack thereof, are probably the main reason for exclusion in the work visa application process. To get the correct work visa; most countries require teachers to have a full Bachelor’s degree. It is not necessary to have it in English, and there are opportunities for everyone even without a degree.

Here are the most important things to include when putting together a CV that will get a potential employer to consider your request.

Name, Date of Birth, Contact Details

Include your birthdate in your application or CV. Your date of birth or age is required by many international schools.

Put Education and Teaching Qualifications right at the Top

List your TEFL or American TESOL qualifications after your tertiary certification.

For English Teachers abroad, certificates in one of the above disciplines have become a hard requirement, and they are second in importance to Tertiary Degrees.

Include any practical teaching experience and include the name of the establishment. Make a copy of letters of recommendation to be included with the CV.

Don’t sweat if you haven’t got a certification in observed classroom teaching. Do include any teacher training practical experience or Teachers Assistant (UK) with references.

Photograph of Yourself

The practice of adding a photo to a job application is not usually required in the USA. However, many employers like to see what their applicants look like and this has become a standard procedure for online applications

At LaowaiCareer we read CVs every day, and we get some of the most astounding photos of applicants with their resumes. We have actually seen it all; tanned girls in bikinis with spritzer in hand to strange looking, photo-shopped, men posing on childish props and wearing business attire. Don’t do it!

Remember, your photo is there to help employers make a choice between you or thousands of other applicants. What they see will make or break your chances. They are looking to see, primarily, if you fit the remit and whether you will be the right addition to their company.

Photo Tips:

  1. Help from a Friend: Selfies are for FB. Get someone who is good with a camera to take a bunch of photos or you and choose the best one to attach to your CV.
  2. Passport type photo: Not a full body shot. Just take the picture from your waist up and make sure it is centered and clear.
  3. Wear professional clothing: Shirts with a collar for men and demure top for women. Don’t over-do it with funky hair, over the top makeup and jewelry. Jackets and ties are a little too formal for a TESOL or ESL job!
  4. Smile for the camera: Put on your best interview face. Remember you are applying for your dream job and want to present your best look.
  5. No Props: Keep the background neutral and make sure you have good lighting. Do not take a picture of yourself in a pub, on a beach or in a nightclub.
  6. Group Pics: The photo can be formal or show you in a group situation which is relevant to the type of job posting you are after. Do show yourself in the classroom with students.
    Good Photo Examples:
  7. We are here for you: we recommend you read up on our blog advice regarding job search advice and tips for good interviews.

*****DO NOT send a picture of yourself dressed in a peculiar fashion or behaving in an unreserved manner*****

Use Key Words in your CV

Many employers and agents including Laowai Careers, use keywords as a search tool for resumes. Words attracting our attention are a team, teaching, phonics, and curriculum development, etc. Add additional skills such as (NY) State Certified K-6, 2 years American TESOL or ESL teaching in Taiwan, or years of business English tuition or coaching.

Apply for the Right Job

Include a relevant title and summary on your CV and be certain that you don’t send your business CV when you request a K-6 teaching position.

Keep it Current

Employers are not interested in reading lengthy CVs that include every job you have ever had. Keep your CV relevant to education and don’t include jobs where you were employed for less than six months unless they show a skill that you are required to have for the job you seek.


Enhance any informal, practical experience you have picked up such as volunteer teaching or summer camp, coaching (especially children if you are applying to teach kids) and one-to-one tutoring.


  • In your “Skills Section” and to give prospective employers a good indication that you are independent or adaptable, include any time that you have studied or lived abroad.
  • By all means, showcase your experience in a carefully well thought out approach when you write your CV.
  • Never be afraid to include such attributes as Foreign Language, Adaptability, Leadership and Flexibility.

*****AVOID COMMON BUZZWORDS such as excellent communication skills, experienced team player and proactive. They never hit a sweet spot, ! *****

If you follow these short guidelines, you are bound to come up with a pretty good ESL CV

What are you waiting for?

LaowaiCareer Job Board has your dream job, apply today