The quality of your application is going to greatly influence how many schools will want to interview you and how you stand out among the competition. While experience and qualifications count, there are many other factors that will determine how attractive your profile is to schools. Your photo, introductory video, the way you handle your email correspondence, your resume, all create an image for a school that will not have the opportunity to meet you until you arrive. We've complied some guidelines below to help you ace your application and enhance your profile.
Your profile photo is often the first thing that schools will see when browsing through lists of applicants.
Here are a few simple points on making the best impression through your profile photo:
You don't need a photographer to take a good photo, but make sure you use a good quality camera and ask a friend to help. The photo should be clear and bright.
Dress accordingly, just as you would for a job interview or a first meeting with a potential employer.
Make sure you're the only person in the photo unless you're applying with a partner. Even then, it's best to send individual photos.
Smile and look approachable
What to avoid:
Don't pose with a drink in your hand or in a party environment. It's a simple thing, but you'd be surprised how often we receive these types of photos. This is a sure way to scare of a potential school.
Avoid wearing sunglasses or a hat.
Don't send a passport photo, as those don't allow you to smile and be yourself.
Travel photos are OK, but can be too casual for a profile photo.
Don't wear revealing or inappropriate clothing.
Tattoos should not be visible. While tattoos are usually fine, they should not be visible.
It is important to write your resume in a format that will be easy for a non-native English speaker to understand and to be able to see the most relevant information first.
Make sure your resume is clear and concise and that it highlights the type of experience that relates to teaching or working with children. If you don't have prior formal teaching experience, be sure to mention any volunteer work that involved working with youth, such as coaching, mentoring, tutoring experience.
You can include a cover letter, but keep it short and clear.
Make sure to list your past work experience, with the most recent positions going back.
If you're taking a TEFL/TESL course, please mention it, even if it's still in progress.
SELF INTRODUCTORY VIDEO
A photo can only say so much about an applicant, which is why most schools in Korea and in China will ask an applicant for a self-introductory video. A video is your chance to show your unique personality and enthusiasm. Videos can be intimidating, but they don't have to be. With a little preparation and planning, anyone can make a great short video. Many of the rules for creating a video are similar to those for a photo.
Use a good quality laptop camera or ask a friend to take the video for you with a phone camera. Don't take a selfie video as it will come out blurry and shaky.
Sit in a clear and well-lit area and make sure there are no distracting noises in the background.
Speak clearly but not too slowly and remember that often English is not your director's first language. Be aware of your accent and pronunciation - if the director can't understand you, the students will have an even harder time!
Dress appropriately and smile (even if you're nervous)
Topics of discussion: Mention any relevant experience (formal or informal) with kids, your passions or hobbies (even if it's not related to teaching), any awards or leadership recognition, motivation to teach, show that you're flexible and open-minded.
Keep it short - A 1-3 minute video is often sufficient to make a good impression.
Upload your video to YouTube and send the link to your Teaching Representative (TR).