We asked experienced TEFLers on our online community Chalkboard to give their tips on finding work independently – and they didn’t disappoint!
1) Scour the Internet
“My top tip for finding a job independently is to scour the internet for it. Go to well know websites such as Dave’s ESL café job board which is updated constantly with the latest jobs. Don’t be worried about rejection and don’t stop after one interview – try to get as many offers on the table as possible. The schools that need the teachers urgently will probably negotiate the salary if you can start ASAP.”
“When you're searching for jobs delve into the darkened depths of the internet, using every search phrase or keyword possible for the locations you want. If you know the native language, search using it also. You'll usually find more results.”
“Some of the best jobs I have had have been recommended by friends. I recommend networking: check out the groups on Chalkboard, utilise your Facebook contacts (don’t be afraid to add more acquaintances!), go on expat forums….and there’s always friends of friends. Someone always knows someone who has had a TEFL job abroad! When you’re looking for a job always put the word out – you never know what might come your way.”
3) Check out your school thoroughly
“Prior to my interview, I did a search on the Craigslist community where my potential job was located and found teachers with blogs. I contacted a couple of them. In turn, they responded promptly with helpful information about the school chain and the city itself.”
“I had a hit from a Kuwaiti school and loved the school's website, school even wrote me back, but when I Googled the school to find more out I read nothing about blog and forum page after forum page about all this HORRIBLE things like teachers being threatened and such... make sure you find that out before you start accepting jobs!”
4) Use common sense
“If something seems shady, keep looking.”
5) Make sure your CV/resume is up to scratch
“Make sure you update your CV, as this is what will get you an interview. If you have no teaching experience, explain what your TEFL course(s) covered and how many hours of study were included, as well as any teaching practice or volunteer work done. Any previous jobs which required particular skills, such as managerial duties or a position which required creativity could also work in your favour.”
“If you are going to take a job make sure you set some ground rules. For me next time, I will definitely say I don't want to live in an apartment block without a lift amongst other things. I'd avoid living on campus too as they may lock the gates by about 11pm. Not good.”
7) Don’t give up!
“Since you're digging on your own... never give up the search. Realize it's not always roses and it's much harder to do on your own than to get someone else to do it for you. But it's much more rewarding knowing you are the one who busted your ass to get where you are. Always believe you'll find something. Your first or second TEFL job might not be the paradise you wanted to start in, but if you don't give up, you'll get to your dream destination.”