Monday 30 June 2014

How to Write a Networking Email that Gets Results

Updated 8 December 2014

Everyone knows that connections are gold, but few people act on this. People continue to look for jobs and send their CV just like they've always done. They need to start networking and one easy way to do this is to contact peopel via email.  I've written about cold calling to get teaching jobs and how to network your way to a great job, but never had any sample emails about networking, so I thought it was high time to do so.

Below are 4 sample emails. The first email I received from someone (and yes, he gave me his permission to use the email as is) who is a avid networker. The last three are sample emails that I got from Cool Careers For Dummies. There are a ton of networking books out there with good tips as well.

Sample email asking if they know of any jobs
Dear Sharon,

First, I want you to know that I appreciate you being one of my LinkedIn connections. I am grateful to have university educators to assist me in gaining knowledge of a profession I plan to be a member of in the near future.

I am writing to ask you if you would keep your “ears and eyes” open for any positions that are available at your school. If you can send me the name and e-mail of the person in charge of hiring, I would be thankful. (Your name would be kept confidential, of course)

I am aware of DavesESLCafe, but I know that universities will ask their teachers if they know of a qualified individual.

 My education and experience is under my LinkedIn profile.Please feel free to contact me at or 010-6288-7959 if you have any questions or comments. Finally, I hope you remember that I am here to assist you in your professional endeavors.

Daniel Wolkenfeld  

Sample email to a friend of a friend
Dear Mary,

Tom Hawkins suggested I contact you. I have long been fascinated with fragrances and imagine that working in a perfumery would be wonderful.

I'd guess that I could do more than one thing for you, so I thought I'd share a few things I've done. Perhaps the following will enable you to see how I might help you:

I helped turn around the shipping department at McFallon's Wholesale Nursery. I developed a new system, hired great people, and created an environment in which everyone wanted to work hard.
I developed the website for a little home business: see
I received a grant from Exxon to create a catalog of South Carolina's wildflowers. It was an amazing experience.

Am I deluding myself into thinking that I might be of help to you even though I lack direct experience in a perfumery?

If you think I might be worth interviewing, or if you simply have a little advice for me, I'd love to hear from you. My number is 555-123-4567, and the best times to reach me are between 8-9 am and 5-6 pm.

Monica Pataki

Sample email for getting in touch with someone after many years
Dear John,

I'd imagine I'm the last person on the planet you'd expect to hear from. You and I were in the same statistics class with Professor Maracuilo at Penn Stat 20 years ago.

I've been a project manager with a video game company and got great evaluations, but they just sent all the work to India.

I've been reading a book on how to find a job and it urges job seekers to call everyone they know, no matter how distant the tie. So, I'm wondering, by any chance, if you might know someone who might need a good project software project manager or could lear me to one. And by any chance, might you know someone at one of these employers? (Insert your list of 25 target employers.)

Thank you for considering my request. I love my work and am eager to get back to it.

Henry Mikulski

Sample email for getting in touch after cold calling
Dear Mr. Johnson,

Thanks for taking my call yesterday.

I am pleased that you think my experiences at college make me marketable. I do think that my job marketing the campus radio station on the web taught me a lot that would be valuable to an employer.

And, of course, I appreciate your offering to keep your ears open for a position that may be appropriate for me.

I've already followed up on your suggestion that I contact Jane Doe. I just called and left a voice mail. 

Work aside, it was fun hearing about your new sailboat.

Best regards,
Harry Moskowitz

Some Tips
Here are some things I've learned over the years about networking.

Don't ever, ever ask people to get you a job. Just don't. I personally don't feel comfortable recommending someone and I wouldn't want someone to recommend me. It can easily backfire. You can read more here. That's one reason why I really like Daniel's email, because he said he'd keep my name confidential. I have no problem passing info on, and I have, many times. But I don't recommend people, ever.

Say thank you. I cannot believe how few people ever say thank you. I've been on Dave's ESL Cafe for over a decade, blogging since 2008, and also in a handful of Facebook job groups. I like organising info and I like helping people. I often get a couple emails and PMs a week asking for help. I always answer and that's usually the end of it. Hardly anyone says thanks, which is a big mistake. It really doesn't take that long to hit reply and say something like thanks for taking time out of your busy day to answer my question. I don't do this because I want people to thank me, however, it's common courtsey, like the poster that says Everything I need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Even if they can't help you, you should still say thank you.

Don't take it personally. If someone doesn't get back to you, or can't help you, that's ok. Move on.

Follow up. If they don't get back to you, try sending a follow up email. Just one though, you don't want to stalk them. Over to you


Saturday 28 June 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in Georgia

Here's the information for Georgia for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

I only have one job listed. If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at
  1. TGL (Teach and Learn Georgia): There are a number of posts on Dave's ESL Cafe about this programme.


Tuesday 24 June 2014

Why You Should Use Role Plays in Class

Using role plays in class is great to get students motivated and involved in learning. This holds especially true for ESL and EFL classes. Role plays can be used with all ages and levels.

All Levels
They can be good for beginners because they can see how they can use the few words they know. Intermediate students often hit a plateau and role plays can help them grasp more words for specific situations. Role plays can help advanced students become more fluent in English.

All Ages
Children really enjoy doing role plays since they often pretend on their own. When left on their own children are likely to play house, pretend to be dinosaurs, or act in any number of situations. Using role plays with teens is a great way to get them up, doing something, and involved in the class. Adults might already have experience with role plays in the workforce, at training events for example.

Different Ways of Learning
People learn differently and some people learn by doing. If you combine speaking a foreign language with actions they may be more likely to remember.

Positive Feedback
Students are able to get immediate positive feedback through applause and verbal feedback. Both you the teacher and other students can tell the actors what they've done well.

Review the Lesson
Role plays allow students to use new words, expressions, and grammar in a suitable context. By using what they've learnt earlier in the lesson straightaway, they are more likely to retain what they've learnt.

Useful Links
You might want to check out fun ESL plays for children, role play ideas that work, and example role plays.


Friday 20 June 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in France

Here's the information for France for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at Europe for non-EU passport holders and The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at
  1. Ministry of Education assistant teachers: You'll have to be between 20-29. Here's the info from the French embassy in Washington, Escape Artist, a short summary, as well as a description of the programme. 
  2. Speaking Agency: They mainly have au pair, nanny, teaching, and tutoring jobs. They also have short-term jobs such as those in retail, restaurant, hospitality, tourism and more. If you need a visa they can put you in touch with an agency that can help you get a visa. Some of the visas they have gotten people were working holiday visas, working visas, student visas, private life visas, and resident visas.


Tuesday 17 June 2014

Top Tips for Teaching Pronunciation

You might also be interested in
Teachers are often plagued by students asking them how they can improve their pronunciation. This probably happens because we often don't teach pronunciation directly like we teach other things such as grammar. International House has a good online course helping teachers learn about teaching pronunciation.

What do you tell them? Practice? Listen to native speakers? Watch TV? Those are all legit answers and can help students, but you're going to have to go a bit more in depth. Below you can find some ideas to help you out. You can also find specific websites dealing with pronunciation in the article sites for lesson plans

Physically Show Them
Different languages cause you to manipulate your mouth differently. Showing students how their mouth has to form the sounds can help. You can also try using charts which can be found in some ESL and EFL books.

Use Phonetics
The phonetic alphabet may be tough to learn, but it's incredibly useful when trying to teach pronuncation. Learn it and use it. Your students will thank you. Too hard? Invent your own alphabet. You can use words that sound similar or rhyme to help your students as well.

Speak Naturally and Link Words
While you may need to speak slowly for beginners, don't speak like a robot. English speakers naturally run words together. You don't want your students to say, "What. Are. You. Going. To. Do?" You want them to say, "Whaddya gonna do?"

English has word stress and sentence stress. Syllables are stressed inside of words, not every syllable receives the same stress. For example, you say, "TAble", not "taBLE".

In addition, sentences can change meaning depending on which word you stress. For example, "Give ME the pen" means that you want the person to give you the pen and not to give it to someone else. "Give me the PEN" means that you want the pen, not the pencil.

Going along with stress and not being a robot is intonation. Our voice goes up and down in pitch when we speak English. For example, "I'm so happy" would have your voice start at a low pitch and go up. "That's too bad" would start high and go low. Here are some Tips on perfecting your pronunciation.

Voiced vs Voiceless
Voiced means your throat vibrates when you talk, for example, when you say the letter "g". Voiceless is when your throat doesn't vibrate, like in the letter "k". Your mouth and tongue are in the same position for "g" and "k", but the former is voiced. Have your students feel how their throat vibrates when they talk.

Aspirated vs Not Aspirated
This is when a little puff of air comes out of your mouth. For example, "b" is aspirated, but "p" isn't. Your students can hold their hand in front of their mouths and feel the air come out.

Words such as "15" and "50" are easily confused. 15 has a long vowel while 50 has a short vowel. I saw a teacher demonstrate this once with a rubber band. The students had to say the word and stretch the rubber band if it was a long vowel. Simple, but it works.

Minimal Pairs
Make a worksheet with words that are nearly the same, such as "tip, tap" or "fashion, passion" or "pray, play" or "ship, sheep". They should say them aloud and can work in pairs, groups, or as a class. You can even use pictures or have them draw, such as "a sheep is on the ship". Ship or Sheep is a good website for these.

Have Some Fun
Have your students try to impersonate people. This is fun and a relaxed way to learn pronunciation. They can practice with different accents, such as British, Australian, Irish, etc. Have them take it a step further and imitate foreigners speaking their language.

Tongue twisters are another favourite among EFL learners, especially since it's hard for native speakers. Demonstrate a tongue twister and your students will see that making mistakes are ok and can be fun. There are a number of fun activities you can do with your students.


Saturday 14 June 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in Cyprus

Here's the information for Cyprus for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at Europe for non-EU passport holders and The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at

It's hard to work unless you know the Greek and are E.U. citizens. The exceptions are private secondary and primary schools where the first language is English, which do advertise vacancies from time to time but their demands are quite stringent and include relevant experience apart from academic qualifications. There are a number in the all the main towns. Here are the ones from Paphos.
  1. The American Academy
  2. The International School of Paphos: you'll need to have a degree and be fluent in English.


Thursday 12 June 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in the USA

Here's the information for the USA for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at

  1. ELS
  2. DLI (Defense Language Institute): Located in Washington DC, Monterrey, California and Texas. They recruit through  usajobs and may advertise under the US military, such as the air force, army, etc. Here's an example of their advertsPay is usually $58,000-$75,000 plus benefits.
  3. i-to-i: Trainers usually work on the weekend. You pay i-to-i a certain fee and keep the rest of the fees the students pay.
  4. Oxford Seminars: Trainers usually work on the weekend. You pay Oxford Seminars a certain fee and keep the rest of the fees the students pay.


Wednesday 11 June 2014

Getting a UK Visa for Your Spouse or Partner When You Live Abroad

Option 1
The normal route for family migration requires you to make at least £18,600 for the past 6 months if it's just your spouse that you're sponsoring. If there are children, you'll have to make more. In addition to the monetary requirements there are other hoops to jump through.

Now most TEFL teachers aren't rich, so there is a loophole.

Option 2
The Surinder Singh case changed British law and allows people living abroad a little more leeway when applying for a spousal / partner visa. Instead of having to fulfill British laws to get a visa, you have to fulfill EU laws. This basically means that the British spouse / partner doesn't have to meet income requirements in order for their spouse or partner to get a partner / spousal visa. Eur-Lex has more info about the official ruling.

This is great news for British TEFL teachers who may not earn enough TEFLing where they are now. They simply have to establish themselves in another EEA (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) for six months and then they can apply.

Option 3
If you have at least £64,000 in a British bank or an equal amount in investments for at least 6 months. You also have to prove that this money is yours and not a loan.

More tips
If your spouse is from an English-speaking country and/or from a 1st world country, your application isn't looked upon with the same suspicion as it would be if your spouse was from a place where moving to the UK would be considered a financial incentive.


Tuesday 10 June 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in Australia

Here's the information for Australia for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.   

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at

Kinshachi from Dave's ESL Cafe shared some good tips on what you should expect from a good job in Australia in this post. Basically, you're looking at 20 hours face-to-face teaching per week (most colleges now do 5 hours per day, so you get 3 day weekends) to classes of mixed L1 adults, legally capped at 18 students.

The rates depend on qualifications and experience, but average around $50k per year, plus 9% superannuation.You should also look at the Fair Work Australia website.
  1. IDP is the owner of IELTS and has branches all over the world. (they're also in recommend in The Best TEFL Jobs in Cambodia). Good management, salary, and opportunities to do IETLS exams.


Saturday 7 June 2014

List of ESL, EFL, and Linguistic Journals

If you're looking to get published, here's a list of journals, online publications, and online resources that should help you get started. Be aware that there are open access journals out there as well. Many of them are shady, you pay, you get published. There are also lots of tips on how to get published. Or you can go to to self-publish.

Useful Links


Poll Results May 2014: How long did it take you to get your job?

May's poll was "How long did it take you to get your job?" Here are the results.
  • less than 2 weeks: 0% with 0 votes
  • 2-4 weeks: 50% with 1 vote
  • 4-8 weeks: 50% with 1 vote
  • more than 2 months: 0% with 0 votes
It seems that most people are able to get a job pretty easily. Good jobs can be hard to find though! Check out this list of the best TEFL jobs around the world

Be sure to vote in this month's poll: Student evals are . . .


Sunday 1 June 2014

Sending Money Home

Updated 12 November 2014

Many people go overseas with the intention of saving money to pay off debts and bills back home. How you send money can make a big different. Some ways are expensive and others are cheap. Some are fast and some are slow. Below you can find some of the most popular ways to send money back home.

Before You Send Money
Check the fees. Bank drafts and debit cards seem to have the cheapest fees. If your fees tend to be high, try to only send home large amounts of money a couple times a year. You'll have to consider exchange rates as well. Though to be honest, unless you're sending home HUGE amounts of money, it probably won't matter that much. Here are 8 ways to send money home.
  1. Bank Drafts / Cashiers Cheques / Money Orders from Banks
  2. Bank Transfers to Different Banks
  3. Bank Transfers to the Same Bank
  4. Debit Cards
  5. Money Orders
  6. Paypal
  7. Traveller's Cheques
  8. Country Specific information

1. Bank Drafts, Cashiers Cheques, Money Orders
tttompatz from Dave's ESL Cafe suggests money orders: the cheapest way to send money is to get a money order from a bank. It's available at most banks that offer foreign exchange and available in most "global" currencies" (dollars, pounds, euros). Fees are lower than bank transfers.

This is also known as a bank draft, demand draft, or cashiers check. You make it payable to yourself. Then mail it to your home account with the endorsement "payable to the account of the payee only #xxx-xx-xxx-xxxx". JoeKing has instructions for how to do this. It is still safe and secure but will take 1-2 weeks to get to your account and your bank may hold the funds for up to 30 days pending clearance of the money order.

You might be able to do this on your phone as well. It's called remote deposit or remote capture. All the big banks and credit unions have this feature.

Canadian, UK, and US banks will treat it the same as any other check for deposit in regards to fees. Some banks will not even wait for it to clear (if it is drawn on a US bank). They will credit your account as soon as it is deposited. It is the same as a certified check but issued from the bank and not from a personal account.

2. Bank Transfers to Different Banks
You usually need to have residency in the country you're living in in order to send bank transfers, though laws vary. In order to send bank transfers, you will need to know your home bank's information (SWIFT number, routing number, account number, address, phone, and fax of your bank). Fees vary and often you'll be charged by the bank you're sending money from and your home bank. It's fast and secure, but often expensive, and can be about $20 to $50.

Some banks often regular bank transfers (often called overseas remittance, plus or premimum accounts) at reduced prices. You often have to pay a monthly fee (about $10) to set up the account overseas and then your home bank will charge you a fee (about $20, depending on the bank) to receive the money.

3. Bank Transfers to the Same Bank
If you're lucky to be able to open a bank such as Scotiabank or HSBC that has branches all over the world, then you could cut down on fees. Make sure you can open an account in the country you're going to. While it was easy to open an HSBC account back home, in Korea I was told I needed half a million dollars. In order to send bank transfers, you will need to know your home bank's information (SWIFT number, routing number, account number, address, phone, and fax of your bank).

4. Debit Cards
Open a bank account in the country where you're living. Get a debit card that can be used overseas. Send that card to someone you trust back home. Once they get it, then activate it. Sometimes you can't do this and need to activate it in the country that you're living in.

If you do this than make sure you send it via secure post or don't have any money in the account before you send it. Deposit money into that account, then have the person you trust take out the money back home. You'll probably be charged about $3 to $5 for each withdrawal, but it's cheaper than doing a bank transfer.

5. Money Orders
Western Union, Moneygram, and Xoom are commonly used to send money. The money gets there fast, but fees are on the high side. You'll also need someone back home to pick up the money and deposit it in your account.

6. Paypal
Set up a Paypal account in the country you'll be living in. You'll need to link your overseas and home bank accounts. Check fees (they're usually about 2.9%) and exchange rates since they tend to be low. If your bank charges a flat fee it can be better to send a large amount through the bank rather than Paypal.

7. Traveller's Cheques
Buy traveller's cheques and make them out to someone back home. You sign in both places, but state that it's for deposit only, that an ID is required, and it's non-transferable.  Mail it back home via registered mail.

8. Country Specific
China: With only your passport you can exchange up to $500 a day. Foreigners who want to exchange more than this will have to bring docs such as their passports, contracts, and letters from their employers. You can create a bank account for foreign currency and then exchange up to $500 a day and put it in that account, then transfer all of it at once back home. ABC (Agricultural Bank of China) and CUP (China Union Pay) seems to have less restrictions. 

Some people use Western Union even though it costs more but is less hassle. 

China Post is even better since it costs less than Western Union. 

Other people use their Chinese ATM cards back home to get money out. Be aware that legally only up to 70% of your salary can be converted to foreign currency. 

Chinese have less restrictions than foreigner, so if you have a chunk of change to exchange and don't want to jump through the hoops, ask a Chinese friend to help you. You should be able to send up to $50,000 without a Chinese ID. You can find more info at this post on Dave's.

Japan: Get a GoLlloyds account. It's quick, easy, and cheap. You can do it at the ATM or in the bank.You could also send money through Japan Post's international money orders. They have great exchange rates and only charge 2,000 JPY. With the post office you will have to fill out a form and wait about a week. Plus, you need someone back home to deposit the money order. 

Another option is through Remit. It made Gaijinpot news so seems to be a good deal. 

The Paypal option works in Japan too.

Korea: In Korea you can get an automatic overseas remittance through KEB. They set up an account for you, separate from your main account. You can access them through the bank, ATMs, or online. Any money transferred into this special overseas remittance account will be sent to the overseas account of your choice at the end of the business day. Fees are lower if you do this. Keep in mind that in Korea, you can only use ONE bank for overseas services, such as bank transfers or ATMs. KEB is the best one.

Mexico: The Paypal option works in Mexico too. (Thanks go to Samantha from Dave's ESL Cafe for this info). Open a Paypal account referencing your Mexican bank account. Then after your Mexican bank account is verified, add a US bank account to your same Paypal account. After that account is verified you should be free to upload money to your Paypal account from Mexico and withdraw it to your US account. You will have to do a bit of reading and research on the Paypal site if you aren't familiar with it. They will need your 18 digit CLABE from your bank.


Privacy Policy and FTC Disclosure

Please read TEFL Tips' Privacy Policy and FTC Disclosure.
Google Analytics Alternative Google Analytics Alternative