E-mailing for jobs
Doing it the right way!
So you are thinking of getting a job as an EFL teacher, huh? By e-mail...?
Recruiters have a busy job. They sometimes receive many hundreds of e-mail applications every day, particularly to ads posted on the internet which of course is read world-wide. If you wish to even receive a reply you could consider the following points:
1. Personalise your application to the organisation whose ad you are answering. Obvious blanket or multi-mailings are uninspiring, demonstrate a lack of personal energy and engagement, and will almost certainly be ignored. Make sure that you adhere faithfully to the requirements of the ad: no less, no more; and if you are applying for a job in EFL, make sure your own English is absolutely perfect. One of my friends, also an EFL director, with a typical British penchant for cynical humour sometimes sends this automated reply:
"A prerequisite for being an English teacher is being able to understand the language. You were unable to follow the instructions in our ad. We regret that your application cannot be processed". or "Thank you for your excellent example of bad grammar. With your permission we would like to use this as an exercise in our end of term exams for 3rd graders."
2. Avoid lengthy letters of motivation - it is unmodern, and everyone uses the same template, particularly those which were prepared with the help of the instructors at the TEFL/TESOL institute. Do not display your lack of knowledge about the country which you have 'supposedly' chosen to be your next place of work. We know if you have sent the same letter world-wide. If it is Thailand you want to work in, it might help to mention it. For one thing, it will show the recruiter that you already know about salaries and costs of living in developing countries; that you have looked up everything you can find on the net about 'Teaching in Thailand' and that you realise that the average EFL teacher lasts less than 4 months in a job before leaving because the school was a lousy place, or he/she got fired and sent home.
3. The CV is critical. Nobody is interested that you were a pom-pom girl, a catcher's glove carrier, or a cub scout. Likewise, the vacation stint serving burgers in Joe's diner only demonstrates that you were refused anything better! Nevertheless, do not be so brief that the recruiter will have to contact you for more information. He won't; he has 100s more complete CV's to read!
4. Try to avoid sending your CV as an attachment. These take more time to download and open and often carry viruses. Attachments are usually binned without being read.
5. Do not send CV's to organisations who are not currently recruiting. They will certainly not be read.
6. Never send grouped applications. This demonstrates a lack of independence. Everyone can sign up for kid's mail like Hotmail or Yahoo and have his/her own account. What's more, it's free! It is also fairly unlikely that that an organisation will
have a vacancy for two friends or couples. It is also not generally desired.
7. It helps to mention your age. In fact it is one of the main features of personal details that should be on every CV. A 20-year old greenhorn is less likely to manage a class of 60 unruly grade 12 farmer's sons than someone with firm experience in class discipline. Some climates (and work-load) may also be unsuitable for older persons looking for a post-retirement job. So, no age, no reply.
8. It helps to mention your gender. With all the first names out there from a hundred countries using western languages, it is not always clear if boys or girls are writing in. Some jobs involve specifically working with girl students in convent schools, while some require teaching English to car mechanics. So, although Thailand may have three genders, neuters don't get replies to job applications.
9. If you are applying from a country other than where you would like to work, never suggest to the recruiting organisations that they should call you. This demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the cost of international phone calls and the time it takes to make them. Likewise, recruiters will definitely not take time to look you up on your personal web site, because YOU don't have the professional hosting and bandwidth and it can take 5
minutes or more to log on to it!
10. And finally, to reiterate a tip on many a teacher web site: The best jobs go to those who are already in the country and on call for an interview at a moment's notice. Beware of those organisations who ply the universities with promises of jobs abroad. In one year you will not even earn back the cost of their fee (900 pounds in the UK + air fare), the insurance package they offer you can be got locally for half the price (BUPA) and the rafting in Kanchanaburi the week before your group leader dispatches you to your school can be done for 15 pounds at any weekend of your choice.
Happy job hunting!
Chris, if I could add an 11th point to that excellent list, it would be don't just send a resume without some sort of cover letter. It only takes a moment to type out a short cover letter to state which position you are applying for and perhaps just a few words about yourself (or write 'please find my resume attached') When jobseekers send an e-mail with a resume attached but don't bother with any kind of cover letter, it suggests an unprofessional, half-assed attitude. Seriously - why would I want to employ a person like that?