In this article, I will tackle how to write a great resume that increases your chance to get the job you want. This means that you should know well what any employer wants to see in your resume and how to catch the eye of your potential employer. With that in mind, let’s split our article into two main sections, then tackle the common mistakes many job candidates make and that you should avoid. At last, I will give some final tips you should consider when making your resume to have a strong one.
What Employers Want to See in Your Resume
Before you think about building your resume, think about what you need to have on it to make it impressive and help you stand out from other candidates. Let’s take a look at the kinds of information employers are looking for.
This does not mean you have to get a Master’s Degree in TEFL, but rather employers want to see you have education relevant to the job. As I mentioned in What You Need to Get a TEFL Job: Five Main Things, most employers are looking for candidates who either have a BA or BS. If you don’t have a college degree, your options may be limited, though the windows of opportunity are not closed. Employers ideally want you to have a BA or BS in a relevant field of TEFL study, though that is not a strict demand. If you have a degree in a related field, that is great; if you don’t, that just means you are going to have to make up for that in other parts of your resume.
My email course that will start on 18th August 2019 will look great on your resume because it shows you are committed to learning about TEFL, and it shows you have educational experience in the field in which you are applying. (Subscribe to my blog now to get the course for FREE)
Some employers might require you to take a further certification, extra test or short supplemental course. Again, whatever you are lacking in this section, you will have to make up for in a different section.
Of course, employers prefer those who already worked in TEFL or held a job in the field previously. If you have teaching experience, that is something you want to highlight. If you don’t have, that is all right but it’s better to look into getting some intern or volunteer experience before you go looking for a job. If your experience in the field is unpaid, it will look better because it shows your great passion and commitment, so start by looking closely at the companies and schools offering these volunteer experiences.
Related Work Experience:
Even if you are not experienced in the TEFL field, you can display any work experience that is related to the field. Have you ever worked with children? Have you ever worked with non-English speaking people and helped them in any way? Think about what it takes to be a TEFL teacher or any of the teaching skills that you have used in a different job.
How to Make Your Resume Look Good
So, you mentioned all your experiences and skills, now how do you present this information in a resume that represents you well and catches the eye of your potential employer? There are some specific things you can do to make your resume stand out from others’.
You want your resume to be clear and easy to read. You want the employer to pinpoint any piece of information that he or she wants as quickly as possible.
- Use wide margins to take advantage of space. That does not mean you should fill every bit of space with wordiness.
- Use a bulleted list to make things short, sweet, and easy to read.
- Organize your experiences and skills into logical and clear sections that are marked accordingly.
- Use bold and italic print sparingly, but smartly, to draw the reader’s eye to the information you want to highlight.
Focus on Accomplishments, Not Job Descriptions:
A potential employer does not need the definition of your current or former job. Instead, they need to know what you accomplished at those jobs that make you a valuable asset to the company or school you worked for.
Mention your job title, then describe what you accomplished and what you worked on at that job. Were you a manager? Great. That means you led a team of employees. The point is to let the employer know that you did a lot in your previous jobs, and what you did for your former employer can be done for your future one.
Highlight what you have achieved and that you think your potential employer needs to know about and be specific about what you accomplished giving the employer something quantitative to work with. E.g. How did your work specifically improve your former workplace?
Make sure the accomplishments you write are yours, and not just your team’s or your company’s. The employer isn’t hiring your project team; they are looking to hire you.
Language Mistakes Are Not Allowed:
Read your resume over 5 times and have 5 friends read it over too. This may seem like overkill, but that is enough to avoid tossing your resume aside. This is especially true when you are applying for a job to teach English to new English language learners. If you cannot create a 1-2 page document that is error-free, how can the employer expect you to be an effective English teacher?
Avoid the Following Common Resume Mistakes
Even the best candidates make the mistake of submitting a below-average resume and then wonder why they don’t get a call-back. Do your best to avoid these common resume mistakes.
1. Being Too General:
Adjust your resume for each specific job you are applying to. Every job is different and has different requirements, so why are you handing the same resume to every potential employer? You should not be changing anything dramatically, but look closely at what the employer is looking for, and adjust your wording so it addresses their needs.
2. Focusing on Jobs Instead of Experience:
Tell the employer about who you are and what you are bringing to the table. What did you accomplish? Why were you a great employee for your former employer? Find a way to highlight your strengths and accomplishments.
3. Restricting to Certain Number of Pages:
The old rule that your resume has to fit on a single sheet of paper has been thrown out the window. That does not mean you should turn in a dissertation. Studies show employers give each resume about 25 seconds of attention, so make sure your resume is dynamic. It is acceptable to have a two or three-page resume, but only if you have a lot to show. Do not have a third page on your resume just to tell the employer your hobbies are sports and movies. Use the space you need, be concise, but do not worry about restricting it to only one sheet of paper.
4. No Objective:
If your resume misses a certain objective, it means that you use the same resume to apply for any employer. Be specific and highlight what your potential employer is looking for and what you want to accomplish.
5. Too Busy:
Make sure everything on your resume is in a logical place, and your resume does not appear too busy. If the employer can’t make sense of what you are saying, he or she is going to move on to the next one.
6. Missing Important Information:
Show the employer everything that makes you desirable. Include the information that will help the employer know well your personal traits and your strengths. Don’t forget to include the information that can help the employer contact you easily if you are selected for the job.
Final Resume Tips
Remember that your resume is your first step on the road so you should make sure it is strong. Here are some extra tips to make it as strong as possible.
- Your resume should be organized and categorized effectively.
- Write your resume from your employer’s viewpoint not from yours so focus on including what he or she wants to see.
- Do not be afraid to discuss the future briefly in your resume. It can be helpful for you to let the employer know what your career goals are.
- Use numbers and figures when possible. If you can provide a number that displays your accomplishment, do it.
- You can tackle any difficulty the employer is facing suggesting how you can solve it. Do some research and find something relevant. Do not assume the employer has a problem when they may not.
- Use action verbs rather than “is” or “was” to highlight your exact role in whatever accomplishment you are noting.
- Avoid personal pronouns. You are the implied subject of every sentence because it is your resume. Instead of writing, “I excelled in my TEFL study, earning A+, write, “excelled in TEFL study, earning A+. It gets to the point directly.