Wednesday 30 January 2008

How to Write a TEFL CV

Updated 23 June 2016

You'll usually see CV and Resume used interchangeably in TEFL job adverts. In reality a CV is much longer and has just about everything you've ever done. CVs also contain personal information. A resume is usually more concise and has 1 or 2 pages. Here are some guides on how to write an amazing CV. You can also find some examples at CV Rite and Open Colleges.

Watch out for too much jargon and too many buzz words. Here's a list of the best and worst resume phrases according to INC. The Muse has 41 of the best resume templates ever. Employers often want a cross between a CV and a resume because they want personal information and a maximum of 2 pages. Keep in mind that requirements vary country to country.

You might also want to try searching online: I found Timothy Day's CV that way.I'd be happy to send you my CV if you'd like just email me at

Nowadays, there are plenty of online resume builders, such as Canva, My Perfect Resume, Super Resume, and Resumizer

Although it will vary according to your career field, there are some basic dos and don'ts. Bloomberg has the best and worst fonts to use on your resume. Some people advocate having two different types of fonts on your CV, one for headings and one for everything else. I like to use a sanserif font for headings, such as Arial, Helvetic, Gills Sans, Futura, or Franklin Gothic. Everything else gets a serif font, such as Times New Roman, Palatino, Garamond, or Calson.

New to Teaching?
If you're getting into teaching from another career try reading this article about transferable skills. If you have little teaching experience you might want to consider a Functional Format like those in example 1 and example 2.

At the Top of a Teaching CV
  • Photo (For many countries this is the norm)
  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex, nationality
  • Contact information: address, email, phone number with country code, Skype, etc.
In the Middle of a Teaching CV
In general, if you've just graduated then your education goes first. Otherwise your work experience should go first.
  • Work: dates, company, city and country, your responsibilities, and awards received.
  • Education: dates, title of your degree, GPA, honours received, name of the university, city and country, and any outstanding things such as a thesis, internship or study abroad.
At the End of a Teaching CV
The last sections can be separated if you have enough items or put together "Highlights and Achievements" or "Continuing Development"
  • Workshops given
  • Conferences / Workshops attended
  • Publications
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Other Skills (languages / computer). The Times wrote about why this is the most important section of your CV.
Dos: Things to Remember When Writing Your Teaching CV
  • Update your CV often
  • Proof-read
  • Look at adverts to see what they require and using similar wording
  • Have a consistent layout
  • Use your DOB rather than your age
  • Include an updated professional picture
  • State that you’re a native speaker
  • Use reverse chronological order
  • No teaching experience? Think about how training employees, creating schedules, or chairing meetings could help you
  • Mention experience living in another country or working with people from other culture
  • Use specific words, like those mentioned in why your TEFL resume sucks
  • Talk about your own language learning experiences
  • Get experience working or volunteering with people from the country you want to teach in
Don’ts: Things to Avoid When Writing Your Teaching CV
  • Include things they don't ask for such as your driver's license number
  • List too many jobs
  • Use informal language, bad punctuation and spelling, or contractions
  • Crowd the page

Don't Forget Your Cover Letter!
Once you have a great CV it's time to write your cover letter. Cover letters are what an employer sees first so if it gets rejected they will never look at your CV.

This article has also been featured in the ELT Times and mentioned in The Guardian.



  1. HI Sharon, I am very interested in checking out your resume as an example. How can I see it?

  2. Email me at and I'll send it to you.


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