You’ve fine tuned your resume to show off your TEFL abilities — now what? No CV is complete without an accompanying cover letter for employers to screen potential team members. This one page letter is your moment to shine, revealing your dazzling personality, your interest in the job, and taking the reader on a journey of your abilities and experiences that have contributed to you being the quintessential contender. Give them no option but to open your CV. Your cover letter also needs to reflect your careful attention to the job specs so that your CV is not automatically tossed into the discard pile.
Because we’re passionate about helping others to succeed in the ESL industry, we’ve compiled the following tips that, if followed, will help you to create a captivating cover letter to land your dream TEFL job teaching abroad or online.
What to include in a cover letter
- Address a specific reader
Personalise this cover page by addressing it directly to the company/school’s hiring manager (if given), or address the company as a team (e.g. Dear iTTi South Africa Team). It might feel professional to say ‘To whom it may concern’, but instead it comes across as generic and indifferent.
- Your teaching objective
Here you will let the company know that you’re applying either to be an online or face-to-face teacher.
- Your experience
Put down all relevant experience you have, for example tutoring, au pairing, preschool or teaching work (and age range you’ve taught), volunteering, etc. If you do not have experience working within teaching and / or community service spheres that directly relate to this industry, think about all past job experience and how it may be of relevance to this industry. Mention all key skills you’ve gained that apply to the TEFL classroom, such as oral and written communication, leadership, critical thinking, patience, teamwork, time management, creativity, etc.
- Why you’re interested in working for the company
Spend some time scanning your potential future company’s profile on their website and social media pages. Be familiar with their vision and mission statements, and ascertain why this company is the best fit for your aspirations and principles. This screams passion, effort and interest!
- Why you’re a good fit for that company specifically
Find the balance between selling yourself and being humble. Do be honest about your strengths and relevant prior experience that give you the leg-up for this TEFL job. Your sincerity and enthusiasm should be evident for the English teaching position you’re applying for.
- When you can begin working
State your start date availability for online teaching. If you plan to teach abroad, keep in mind school starting dates in that country and when you’d need to be there prior to the school year to set up life and receive orientation in your new hometown and school.
- Mention that you’re a native or non-native English speaker
Non-native English speakers can successfully attain TEFL jobs! State that you’re a non-native, proficient English speaker. Non-native English speakers have a secret advantage: You’ve learned the language, use it to a high level, and have personal insight into the best teaching methods to motivate learners, making you relatable to your learners. Be confident and promote your mastery of the English language! Also note that whether you’re a native or non-native English speaker it will be worth the while to add that you have a neutral accent.
- Education and EFL/ESL qualifications
Specify your TESOL/TEFL certifications, including the amount of hours the course was, along with all your other qualifications (including degrees and other certifications) that pertain to the ESL job. Note that you can teach English online without a degree, but a TESOL certificate is essential.
- Mention the space you have available
If you’re teaching online, mention that you have a quiet classroom that is dedicated to online teaching, as well as that your classroom is well-lit and equipped with props and posters, ready to take on students.
- Note your tech specs
Companies need to know you have the necessary equipment to be a fully-functioning online English teacher. Indicate your laptop/PC’s model, memory, OS, processor speed, type of webcam (external or built-in) and headset, and type of internet connection and speed. Test your internet speed online here (http://speedtest.co.za/).
- Skype, email and cellphone details
Be sure that your email address and Skype name are professional.
With your cover page complete, it’s time for the last step: polish it to perfection. If you want to be an English teacher, your English spelling, grammar and punctuation need to be accurate. Use online grammar checkers to proofread your cover letter before hitting send.
At iTTi South Africa, we never want you to feel like ‘just a number’ in the sea of applicants, so contact us today to get you signed up for one of our online TEFL courses or face-to-face classes, and you’ll have lifetime support from our recruitment head and join our network where we share industry tips, have an up-to-date job board and peers to converse with.