How to Find Your First TEFL Job


One thing is for sure, if you are looking for information about TEFL online, whether it is for online training or jobs or accounts about other people's experiences abroad, there is a ton of information to plough through. The choice of training providers for the TEFL certificate is bewildering enough but, once you have your TEFL qualification, what is the best way to find a job?

The bigger job sites like Indeed, Monster or LinkedIn are not always the best places to look for TEFL jobs and it can become a little dispiriting to not find what you want after all the effort you have put into studying for your certificate. Most people in the know use dedicated ESL platforms to look for work and we review some of the best of these here.

Teach Away – Teach Away has an ESL jobs board which allows you to search across multiple vacancies using filters like job title, company, location or key responsibilities. Teach Away also feature useful career advice and helpful blogs

ESL Base – a popular and comprehensive search platform which allows you to search by country. There is a handy job alert system and useful advice about how to keep yourself safe from online scams

Transitions Abroad – a really well laid out site which divides up information country by country so jobs plus so much more that you need to know. There is also a handy sidebar which allows you to search for jobs by categories such as summer jobs and au pair jobs. Transitions Abroad cover TEFL training abroad as well so is a good place to look for information if you fancy studying for your certificate abroad and haven't yet booked up a TEFL training course

Dave's ESL Cafe – this site has been around since 1995 and is quite famous amongst TEFL teachers. It is easily split into finding work or advertising teaching jobs and there are lots of guides, blogs and podcasts to help steer aspiring TEFL travellers

Go Abroad - Go Abroad has plenty of TEFL positions advertised but also has a broader remit and includes volunteer positions and short-term posts, online teaching and online study

Go Overseas – again a platform with a broader range of offerings including studying and voluntary work and now a new online facility to reflect the current lockdown situation

i-to-i – this website offers a jobs board but so much more besides

Working through all of these different sites is time well spent as it will give a great feel for what is out there based on the type of work you are interested in or the destination country. Most of these sites are a mine of information so why not peruse them all and then pick two or three you really like and create an email alert for suitable jobs? This is a great thing to do whilst you are still studying for your TEFL certification as, by the time you actually want to start looking for work, you will have a much clearer idea of what's available and what is possible.

What kind of thing are prospective employers looking for?

Of course, a good TEFL accreditation is top of the list but assuming everyone has one of those, how can you stand out from the crowd? If you put yourself in the shoes of a school or college principal interviewing someone who is thousands of miles away then one of the most important factors for them is a TEFL teacher who can work without constant support and supervision. This is possibly even more important than the TEFL certificate itself and so if you already have TEFL teaching experience then shout about it. If you are new to teaching then use transferable skills from your former employed and even voluntary posts to demonstrate that you can stand on your own two feet and are resourceful and self-reliant in new and unknown situations.

Travel experience is helpful as well even if it does not relate directly to teaching because this will demonstrate to a future employer that you are less likely to suffer from culture shock. This is also perhaps a good reason to choose an English speaking country for your first and possibly subsequent posts because it dilutes this issue. Pick a country you have stayed in before as this neatly sidesteps that particular challenge.

Major on extracurricular activities that you are involved in both sporting and non-sporting; someone who is prepared to engage with the students outside the confines of the classroom is always going to catch the eye of a future employer.

Do your homework. If you have a country or a sector in mind then spend time researching the different jobs that come up – there are bound to be recurrent themes. Often it is about knowing the backdrop of the environment you will be teaching in which provides the greatest clues as to what the employer might be looking for. Sometimes what they don't specify in the job advertisement is almost more important than what they do specify – it's a question of reading between the lines.

Find someone who is teaching in that country or that location right now – there are loads of online bloggers – and see if you can pick their brains. There are also journalists working in the media who specialise in writing about TEFL and the different career options; they are always worth following particularly if they run Q&A sessions or podcasts. Many of the challenges you have are exactly those faced by other aspiring TEFL teachers.

If you are still finding it difficult to get a way in particularly in the current climate then why not start teaching online for an agency? Some of the listed platforms are already converting a lot of their posts to online and remote in order to keep generating work and income; students still need to learn English despite the Coronavirus. It can really help get under the skin of a country if you can start teaching their students even remotely and this will great on your CV when it comes to applying for the real thing.

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or emailarmchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get some advice of your own!