When searching for an English teaching position in China, it’s vitally important to have a CV that contains all of the necessary information schools look for, is easy to understand, and is relevant to teaching, regardless of how much experience you have. In this blog post, we’ll guide you on how to write a CV that stands out from the dozens that schools in China receive on a regular basis, with an example CV included that we have created to help.
At the start of your CV should be your personal details. It’s quite common for us to receive CVs that simply have a teacher’s name at the top and no more than that. When applying for a teaching position in China it’s important that further information is included, so that any school is able to quickly see whether you meet certain requirements for a work visa (Chinese Z Visa Guide). Therefore, along with your name, the following information should be included at the top of your CV:
Nationality – In order to legally teach English in China, you must be a native English speaker from one of the following seven countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, or the USA.
Marital Status – If you require visa support for your spouse or family, it’s worth including your marital status in this section of your CV. There are plenty of schools in China that are more than happy to assist with spouse and family visas, but they should be made aware at the start of the application process whether this assistance is going to be required or not.
Criminal Record Status – One of the requirements for obtaining a visa to teach English in China is to have a police clearance certificate, evidencing that you don’t have a criminal record. Therefore, it is recommended that you state clearly at the top of your CV that you don’t have a criminal record so that schools know you’ll be able to obtain this clearance. If you already have your police clearance certificate, then it is also worth mentioning here.
Along with your personal details, your contact details should also be at the top of your CV. It is certainly worth putting your phone number on your CV, in case you’re sending it to any recruitment agency that is located within your country. However, it is extremely unlikely that a school in China will contact you via an international phone number, so it’s important to give them as many different ways of contacting you as possible. It goes without saying that your email address should be included, but along with this, we would recommend including both your WeChat ID and your Skype ID, if you have either, as these are the two most common channels used by Chinese schools to conduct interviews.
To begin the next section of your CV, we would recommend including a short personal statement that is relevant to teaching English in China. This will be one of the first things that a potential employer reads, so it should give a brief overview of the relevant skills and qualifications you have, what type of opportunity you’re looking for and why. We’ve included an example personal statement in the CV below.
In order to teach English in China you must have a TEFL certificate and a Bachelor’s degree. Therefore, we would recommend including information about both of these qualifications just below your personal statement, so that it’s easy for schools to see that you have the required qualifications to obtain the required Z Visa. It’s also recommended that any other qualifications you have are listed, to highlight any other areas of expertise.
Our applicants typically fall into one of the following three categories:
- A teacher who has lots of teaching experience (over five years).
- A teacher with a moderate amount of experience (between one and three years).
- A newly qualified TEFL graduate with no previous teaching experience.
If you fall into category 1 or 2, then when it comes to the work experience section of your CV you should only mention your previous teaching positions or work experience that is extremely relevant to teaching. This is the information that schools are looking for and would like to see further detail on. The information included about jobs that are not relevant to teaching may only distract from the valuable experience that you have in the field.
When describing your previous teaching positions be sure to include information such as the type of curriculums you’ve taught, how big the class sizes were, how many hours you taught per week, along with any other information that demonstrates the responsibilities you held and the skills you developed.
If you fall into category 3 as many Teach English Global applicants do, then it is advised to include your two or three most recent jobs and try to describe the experience and skills gained from these jobs that are most relevant to teaching. For example, if your most recent job was working within a sales environment, you could write about how you developed your communication skills and adapted to working in a fast-paced role, which both demonstrate valuable skills relevant to teaching. Another example is if you worked as a journalist or writer in a recent job, then you could talk about how the job required you to have very high proficiency with the English language, which is clearly another valuable skill relevant to teaching.
To finish your CV, it’s recommended to include a short paragraph or a few bullet points detailing your interests and to mention any other skills you’ve developed outside of work. What you include in this part of your CV will not make or break whether you progress to the next stage of the process, but it will help the school build a picture of who you are, and may provide some nice talking points during the interview!
As you will find below, we’ve created an example CV that integrates all of the points we’ve mentioned in this blog post in a clear and professional manner. All of the information a school will initially look for when reading a CV is clearly presented, and within a couple of minutes, it will be obvious to whoever is reading the CV that this candidate will be able to obtain a work visa, so it is worth reading.
Since many of our applicants do not have any prior teaching experience we have made this example CV from the perspective of a newly qualified TEFL graduate. As you can see from the work experience section of the CV, we have demonstrated how the past roles that the applicant has held are relevant to teaching, by highlighting the relevant skills gained.
One final thing worth mentioning is that when creating your TEFL-tailored CV, try to keep the language used simple and easy to understand. There is a good chance that the person reading your CV in China will not read or write English at the same level as a native speaker, so try not to overcomplicate things. A good TEFL CV should be clear, concise, easy for the reader to follow, and most importantly leave no question in relation to your suitability for the role unanswered. Following this guide will help make your CV stand out from the crowd and enhance your chances of securing a fantastic job teaching English in China!