9 Reasons Why Your ESL Resume Isn’t Getting You Interviews (And what to do about it)
Don’t start applying for ESL jobs until you get your applicant package in order. Find out why it matters, and how just jumping in can hinder your chances of success. Rachael from Just ESL Resumes explains why your job application should contain a resume, cover letter and a video introduction that are all focused towards the ESL industry.
1. Your resume is from your old career
If you are transitioning to a career in online English teaching, have you included all the transferable skills you have that will be relevant? Even if you are an accountant with no teaching experience there are plenty of skills that you can highlight to show potential employers that you would be a successful teacher for their students.
2. Your application is not suited to the ESL industry
There are certain standards that are expected in the ESL industry. Many of which would be illegal in your own country or just not a consideration. For instance, it is very common in an ESL resume to include a photo and whether you’re a native English speaker or not. You are also more likely to communicate with your potential employer over Skype or WhatsApp, so it’s more important to include those details rather than your address or phone number.
Of course, there are often other requirements when you apply as well that wouldn’t be common in your own country, such as a video introduction. This video doesn’t have to be a professional production, but it does have to be thought out and recorded in good quality. You have to think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Remember to consider who your audience is, and who you will be teaching. For example, if you are applying for business English roles you need to look professional and you would use different language than if you were interviewing for a children’s ESL teaching position.
3. Your resume has what YOU think is important, not what IS important
A lot of people take their resumes too personally and see it as an extension of themselves and not as a tool to help them get a job. They tend to include irrelevant information that is of no interest to someone recruiting for an ESL job. Do you honestly think it is important to include every job you’ve had for 30 years or your high school results? Other details you do not need to include are:
- Your address
- Date of birth
- Country Identity number
- Your marital status
- Children’s ages
- Or even your blood type!
We’ve seen all of this and it’s just not necessary.
4. Your resume doesn’t include keywords to grab the recruiters attention
Many online applications go through a process called ATS which stands for Applicant Tracking System. Amonsgt other things, an ATS can identify whether an applicant is a suitable candidate to move through the recruitment process. One of the easiest ways recruiters do this is by automatically assessing how many keywords a resume and/or cover letter contain. The keywords identified will depend on the role and the company, and no-one other than the company would know what they are. However, there are a lot of common keywords that will help you progress to getting your resume into the hands of a recruiter.
Just ESL Resumes can do a Resume Analysis Report and provide you with feedback that will show you what you have done right and where it could be improved. They can also give your resume an ATS score using their own ATS scoring system.
5. You don’t look like a professional to prospective employers
Some people who are new to the ESL teaching industry tend to think of it as less of a professional opportunity because there can be a low entry barrier to starting work. Often many online positions only require a TESOL/TEFL certificate as a qualification. However, you still have to present yourself as a professional teacher who can do their job. A recruiter is going to want to see that you are a good role model for their students, that you can represent their company in a positive light and that you see your job as important and you are committed to doing it well. Simple things such as wearing covered shoulders in interviews and not using selfie photos on your resume can make a huge difference. Also, did you know there are many recruiters who actively search LinkedIn for potential candidates? If you are looking for work, the more information you provide in your profile will ensure you come up in the search when keywords are entered.
6. Some companies will only allow one application submission
This one is a huge shock to many job seekers! Did you know that some companies only allow one application every six months, yearly…. or even forever! This is no joke, and not meant to scare you but it’s true. Some companies get so many applications from unqualified or unsuitable candidates that they have started implementing restrictions on how often you can apply. So it is imperative that when you make any applications that you ensure you have your best application possible, because you may not get another chance.
7. You think this is just like any other job
It’s not! You are probably used to applying for jobs in your own country, where you know what is expected in your resume and cover letter and where you attend a face to face interview. You might even have an advantage over other applicants if you know the right people or have better qualifications and experience than everyone else. However, in the ESL industry even though they are desperate for teachers, they still have to get the best teachers for their students. Remember the students or their parents are paying good money to learn a new skill off someone who can teach them.
If you want to teach English online you have to prove that you:
- Possess the right qualifications
- Have the right skill set and
- The right personality
- Can communicate effectively online
- Would be a good representative for their company
- Are able to commit to a certain number of hours per week for a period of time
And you have to prove all of those things from across the other side of the world to someone who may not speak English well and is very culturally different.
8. Recruiters get 100s of applications a day
The ESL industry is huge, there is no doubt about it. And if you have the right skills, personality and a TESOL/TEFL certificate you have the opportunity to be a part of it, but you still have to catch the eye of the right recruiter, you still have to prove you are right for the job. Most recruiters for the big companies get hundreds of resumes a day, first they go through the ATS and keyword finders and they spit out the ones that meet their bare minimum. And from there the recruiter may have mere seconds to identify whether a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile or introduction video is good enough for them to take the next step and contact the applicant. If your resume is too long or the first three pages are full of information that isn’t useful, it just won’t get read. It’s not even that the recruiter can’t be bothered or don’t like the font of your resume… they literally just don’t have time to search for the information they are looking for. So the key is to make it easy for them!
9. You’re not prepared
The world moves fast these days! Schools are desperate for suitable candidates so when they have made the whole recruiting process as simple and quick as possible. It is possible to apply for a job and within 10 days be teaching your first class. That means you need to be prepared for the whole application process. You need to ensure you have a good resume, that you have all your qualification documents, that you have referees ready. Your Skype or WhatsApp need to be set up and that you know how to answer important interview questions. You also need to ensure you are ready to teach, and that your recruiter can see that, for instance, you should have your work area set up and a headset ready to go even during your interviews.
Does your resume need an overhaul? Let Just ESL Resumes create a professional ESL Profile for you that will give you a greater chance of being selected for a job interview and landing your first ESL job! Besides creating ESL-focused resumes, they can also provide you with services including a cover letter, a video introduction script, a LinkedIn profile that is customized to your skills, education, and experience. See their range of services here.