In 2005 Cambridge University advertised for an executive for Thailand. Of 300 replies, over 100 had CVs longer than 10 pages. HR people form their opinions within 5 seconds of their first glance...
NELC's Ten Tips for getting it right
About the EDBA on-line recruiting system.
You can also discuss these points HERE.
There is now a plethora of TESOL job websites; many are bulletin board based and many, particularly the automated ones share the same databases. This has given rise to a confusion of choice for applicants and many ply the web and enroll on them all. The resulting increase in applications received by the schools is phenomenal. Many of the automated applications submitted by job sites are often not considered because they contain too much, too little or the wrong kind of information. NELC's application form may seem to ask a lot, but so do others; however, it does save candidates from wondering what they should tell us, keeps resumés short, and obviates the need for statements of motivation. Developed by experts in questionaire design together with specialists in programmation, the form is able to carry out an initial 'search and destroy' of irrelevant or incorrectly filled application forms thus relieving the recruiting stafff of the task of manually sifting through thousands of applications. The form is also designed as part of the interview process - how it is treated can be decisive - over 68% of applications have not followed the instructions and are automatically deleted by the server's first scan.
Application forms must be completed by all candidates, giving them all an equal opportunity to demonstrate their suitabillity for a teaching position. Being highly qualified will not enable an applicant to bypass the system. Teaching requires a lot of routine form filling, so candidates who find application forms tedious, may wish to reconsider. Careful answering and completing all fields correctly will be well worth the time invested. The yellow tool tips can be used for more help. Irrelevant key words in the text boxes can also cause an application to be rejected. An auto-reply will be generated listing the reasons for rejection. Correctly completed forms are automatically emailed to the Director of Studies for personal attention.
This website has been designed to provide candidates with as much advance information as possible, completely removing the need to ask any further job related questions. Again, the time invested in searching the site will ultimately save time for all, and help candiitates who are also applying to other schools or agencies. The FAQ page is probably the best place to start as it provides links to everything else you need to know.
If a recruiter replies or calls personally, it is a good idea for candidates to be prepared to show that they remember the information about the school and having applied for a job there.
The average EFL teacher lasts less than 4 months in a job before leaving either because the school did not honour its claims, or because the teacher was asked to leave..
Pure common sense in any kind of job application counts for 90% of the success, but less than 45% of applicants for teaching jobs follow all the tips below. The last paragraph is of particular importance for anyone wanting to teach in Asia.
How to apply for the jobs you really want to get...
JFollow the instructions and personallise your applications to the organisation whose ad is being answered. Obvious blanket or multi-mailings are uninspiring, demonstrate a lack of personal energy and engagement, and will almost certainly be ignored. The instructions in the job ad should be rigorously followed: no less, no more; and of course, the applicant's own English is absolutely perfect...
CV Databases: The text you enter which describes you should contain a reply e-mail address, see Tips #7 and #8 below. Applications which just state "Hello, I want the job you advertised." or "Please send me details." will be ignored; many advertisers now include links to their websites which contain all the infomation which candidates require. Yor CV is free, but the schools generally have to pay to see them, and they want value for their money.
ALL fields should be complete whether they appear indiscrete or otherwise. Leaving information blank leads recruiters to believe applicants have something to hide. Applicants who are really keen to get the job will tell the Asian recruiters what they want to know, including marital status and religion if they ask for them. (NELC doesn't.)
Lengthy letters of motivation should be avoided - it is unmodern, and everyone uses a similar template. Mentioning Thailand will at least show the recruiter that the applicant already knows about salaries and costs of living; that everything about 'Teaching in Thailand' has been looked up on the Internet.
The language content of your application needs to be toned down; terms, expressions, acronyms or idioms will confuse a non-native recruiter. To say you are "hardworking", "totally comitted", "perfectly suited", "an asset to the school", "the perfect candidate for this job", " an excellent teacher..." is not very original and will not impress the rercruiter who will be the judge of these quallities during an interview. Key words and phrases such as these do not impress the NELC computer either.
In Asia, particularly Thailand, all the schools which advertise for foreign teachers are very modern and have excellent resource libraries, state-of-the-art materials and equipment; they often feel embarrased by applicants who suggest bringing their own ideas and materials. Many schools are better equipped than their European counterparts. DISCUSS
The CV is critical. Nobody is interested in an applicant's past history as a pom-pom girl, a catcher's glove carrier, a cub scout or a newspaper boy. Language centres do not want to know about sporting achievmements or hobbies. Having been a Peace Corps volunteer, unless it has a direct and positive bearing on the job, is not important. Likewise, the vacation stint serving burgers in Joe's diner only demonstrates that the applicant was refused anything better! Helping people choose their meals from the menu in McDonalds is hardly to be classed as 'nutritional consultant'. Having a PhD in marine biology or or being a retired Boot Camp drill sergeant will contribute precious little to the power of singing the ABC song to a bunch of naughty 5-year olds.
Nevertheless, a CV should not be too brief. HR people won't ask later for more - They have dozens more complete CV's to read. One A4 page - or even less, contains all a recruiter needs to know to decide to call for an interview. All relevant information should fit on one A4 page, the EDBA form server will truncate any excess and the application will not be processed.
References must be provided but will be taken up if a candidate accepts a position. If a referee declines to reply, NELC may have to withdraw its offer. Choose a referee whom you know will be able to answer.
A CV should not be sent as an attachment. Attachments are usually deleted unread. They take time to download and often carry viruses. If email applications are allowed, a CV is best copied and pasted into the body of the e-mail - it won't be more than one page A4.
Copies of degrees and photos should be sent only when requested. It will NOT enhance an application to add copies of your GCEs, GCSEs, Abitur, Bac, US High School Graduation, Life Saver's Diploma, Football Coach Certificate or Peter Pelican's Road Saftey Certificate for Five Year Olds. It will compromise the entire application attempt. Scanned documents must be small enough to print on ONE A4 page (You will know that the US 'letter' size is not standard in the rest of the world). Documents should be saved only in JPG or GIF at low resolution (72 dpi), - NEVER in PDF or a Microsoft format. Video clips, slide shows and presentations are not accepted. The file size must be less than 1Mb. DISCUSS
Multiple applications for the same job or to the same advertiser will disquqlify the candidate. The electronic system may even treat them as spam.
Grouped applications from partners or friends demonstrate a lack of maturity and independence - qualities which teachers MUST have. Everyone can sign up for free to Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail and have his/her own account. Thailand is a very conservative country, unmarried couples are not socially accepted, and at teacher level it would be tantamount to a scandal.
There are a great many very different reasons why employers need to know the age of a candidate for a job. So, no age, no reply. With all the first names out there, particularly in the USA, it is not always clear if boys or girls are writing in. Teaching jobs can be perfectly legitimately gender specific , so although Thailand may have three genders, neuters don't get replies to job applications.
Candidates abroad Please don't suggest the suggest to the schools call you. Recruiters like to make their own short lists of people to call. Recruiters will definitely NOT visit your personal web page or blog, it takes too long to load. The information in your e-mail should be enough.
Prospective teachers should BEWARE of those organisations who ply the universities with promises of jobs abroad. Some offers a re nothing more than pay-to-work programmes.Tthere is no need for job seekers to pay any fees whatsoever to obtain a job placement. NOBODY, (unless on an assisted training scheme or internship) not even the least experienced and least qualified, needs to volunteer or teach English for less than 20,000 baht per month in Thailand, and may not even need to pay his/her own air fare to get here if recruited by a good school. There are other scams too. Read these first hand reports. And particularly these.
And finally The best jobs, with the exception of the elite intyernational schools that recruit through the TES or their own bona fide agencies or parent schools, go to those who are already in the country and on call for an interview at a moment's notice, and who can dress for the part. Any one who has the confidence to stand in front of a class of kids or a conference room full of executives should also be self assured enough to travel alone and ask around. DISCUSS
ESSENTIAL READING :
EDBA welcomes your feed-back on the design and content of this site.
You can also discuss this article on the forum.