By: Noah Franc
If you read my last two articles, Hopes of the Past, Dreams of the Future and Getting a Work Permit to Teach English in Germany, you
know the gritty details of my personal adventures searching for a teaching job in Germany these past few months. To cap of my tale, I would like to offer some good, general tips for job hunting through TEFL that are useful regardless of the country you wish to teach in and what type of students (or schools) you seek. Enjoy!
1) Keep the resume simple and straightforward
As someone who has spent time working in recruitment, and has had to sort through dozens and even hundreds of resumes and online profiles at a time, I know first-hand how much more frustrating recruiting can be if the resumes in questions are filled with huge paragraphs for each position. Keep it simple, keep it direct, and for the love of God, keep it short. In my own resume I put a few bullet points under each job I’ve had with the most important aspects of that job, and saved the more lengthy explanations for actual job interviews.
2) Don’t short change the cover letter/e-mail
When in the midst of the job search, you always try to churn out as many applications to as many positions as possible. And by the time you get to your umpteenth e-mailed resume of the day, it’s tempting (especially for someone like me, I am FULLY guilty of this) to write the simplest e-mail possible and just let the resume do all the talking. However, while you certainly don’t want a cover message to be too long or rambling, it is important to try to use a cover letter to make some sort of basic statement about yourself, perhaps fill in a few details that didn’t fit on the resume.
Since I obviously do not have much past experience in teaching, while doing my applications, I would use my cover e-mails to tell each school why my other, non-teaching related experience would help me in a classroom setting. For example, since I spent half a year working in recruitment, I am familiar with a lot of HR, chemical, and financial terms that are important in classes for Business English. This was a particular point in my favor that helped me get my current position with Eifert (which caters specifically to business clients).
3) Remember to follow-up
This only helps to a certain point, as most companies will reach their decision solely based on your past experience and what they want for the job. But keeping in touch regularly (and NOT obsessively) could tip the scales in your favor every so often by showing your prospective school that you are genuinely motivated and want the position. I tried to send reminder e-mails every 2-3 weeks to companies and schools that had expressed interest in my resume to see if I could land an extra interview, and, on occasion (with Words Words Words and Kern Language School), it worked!
4) Keep your chin up
Job-hunting is rarely easy or quick. It’s usually tiresome and frustrating, and it can take ages before the right opportunity pops up (or at least FEEL like ages). At such times, it’s important to regularly remind oneself that the long waits are perfectly normal, and staying energized and motivated is just as important as the actual job applications themselves. For me, this was especially important during the agonizingly long process of procuring my work permit, which ended up taking several weeks longer than I’d wanted it to. Thankfully, I was able to keep my spirits up by getting involved in my old theater group in Frankfurt that I worked with during my year of study abroad, so that gave me something to do besides sitting around and stressing. Working on my two blogs also helped keep my mind active and engaged.
5) Know When To Let Things Be
There comes a point in everyjob search when the best thing you can do is just leave it for a bit. Although keeping staying proactive and engaged is crucial to a successful job search, there inevitably come times when the only effective course of action is to wait. One can pepper the secretary of this or that school before your e-mails become so much useless redundancy. Once the applications are sent, and there are no immediate prospects that demand attention, take some time- a few hours, a day, perhaps the weekend if it’s Friday- and do something fun. As long as it’s something that lifts your spirits, make room for it amidst the bustle, stress, and worry of the job search. As I said above, writing for my movie blog and regularly reading my favorite reviewers provided an excellent break from the worries of job searching. My girlfriend and I also went on a few trips to nearby sights to get out of the house from time to time, which also worked wonders.
Those are my 5 most important tips for any job search, not just teaching English in Germany. Remember, staying positive as much as possible as they key. Happy hunting!
Noah Franc is a 23-year-old graduate of TCNJ, The College of New Jersey. After graduating with a degree in History and International Studies (including a year of study abroad in Frankfurt am Main, Germany), he decided to prioritize returning to Germany to continue his travels. To this end, he decided to return after obtaining a TEFL certification, so he could travel while also being able to work and save money.