With just under two months to go before the new school year begins, we are currently in the middle of the recruitment high season. If you're currently looking for a teaching position to keep you busy over the coming year, then there are plenty of great opportunities out there, but there is also a lot of competition. In this post I'll be sharing a couple of ideas that can help you stand out from the crowd to land that position you're after.
1, What do you want to teach?
This may sound like common sense but a lot of teachers leave themselves open to teaching any level. The problem with this is that when you apply for a position you don't come across as someone with much experience.
Specifying the level you wish to teach shows that you have experience teaching, you enjoy teaching and you recognise your strengths (and weaknesses).
You will benefit from this in the long run because 12 months is a long a time when you're stuck teaching an age group you're unhappy with.
Finally, focusing on one area of teaching will help narrow your job search, enable you to tailor your CV and you will be better prepared for a demo lesson / interview.
2, The email
In order to make a favorable first impression your introductory email should be short and concise.
The teachers responsible for recruitment in Thai schools are usually teachers for whom teacher recruitment is just an addition responsibility they've been ‘awarded'. If they are advertising on a popular website such as Ajarn dot com, they will be getting hundreds of emails from perspective teachers (I once received over 1000 job applications from a single ad), so you need to stand out quickly.
Tips for standing out
- A clear message header
- A short introductory email which clearly promotes your selling points
- A CV attached as a Word document or PDF
- Links to any online profile, blogs, YouTube videos... that will support your application
- An appropriate photo
A photo is really important for schools in Thailand. It doesn't need to be as formal as a passport photo but it should be appropriate.
In a previous article I wrote about some of the least appropriate photos I've received. Unfortunately, this trend is still going strong with a large number of perspective teachers emailing photos of themselves in beachwear, on nights out - and some rather disturbing selfies.
3, The CV (resume)
Keep your CV short (1-2 pages) and focus on the experience and skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
Obviously if you have an Education degree (or even a minor in Education) you need to make this clear on the front page of your CV.
But even if you've studied just one university course in an education related topic, you should still highlight it. It may just be one term during your Sociology minor that you focused on the role of education in society or perhaps you studied a single term on child psychology - you should still highlight it.
University education in Thailand is really important and any education related courses you've studied at university could help you stand out from the crowd.
Likewise with your work experience, include anything that relates to the position you will be teaching.
For instance, if your applying for a kindergarten position, you can should those two years of babysitting you did during college - but if you're applying to teach at a technical college, it will probably give the wrong impression.
4, Your online profile
Online profiles are a great way to present your skills and experience to potential employers. The Ajarn dot com online resume is ideal, LinkedIn is another great platform. I'd also recommend using a new website called branded.me which enables you to create a great looking CV.
If you have a blog, video blog or even an online photo album with teaching/learning/education content you should include a link to this in your opening email. This will show that you have genuine teaching experience, teaching is something you care about and you are tech savvy.
But be careful - your online profile could also cut your job hopes short. If your Facebook profile is full of photos from your nocturnal activities, make sure it's kept private and can't be linked to by the email on your application.
The quickest and easiest way to run a simple background check is google an email - if your Facebook page uses the same email as the email on your CV, you may have a problem.
Best to keep your professional life and personal life on separate emails
5, Demo lessons
Demo lessons are very common in Thailand. They provide employers with the opportunity to see you in actions before signing you up for 12 months.
If you are asked to teach a demo, find out as much as you can about the class and the lesson you are being asked to teach - asking questions, will also show the school you are serious about landing the position.
You can also ask what the observers are looking to see from your demo - is it just classroom management, is it your use of child-centered activities or maybe they just want to see your presence in the classroom.
If you get a chance to speak with teachers already working at the school, you could ask them what the school is looking to see from the demo.
Last minute vacancies
Finally, if you're not able to get a full time vacancy before the new school year begins do not despair. During the first month of the new school year most schools experience some sort of ‘complication' (such as a new teacher getting homesick, or a teacher that was great on paper turning out to be disastrous in the classroom) and this creates last minute vacancies. You just need to be in the right place at the right time.
Well I hope this helps and if you are looking for work at the moment, best of luck!