Know Before You Go- How to Find the Right International Teaching Job for You

Moving abroad is a daunting idea. Living on a beach or having the Eiffel Tower in your backyard may sound like something out of a movie, but how do you make it happen? When I started my search to move abroad, I went about it all wrong. I applied to every job I could find and simply hoped for the best. Like you can imagine, that didn't work. Over the years I have become more picky and intentional with what jobs I apply to and have found much more success. Here are 4 ways that you can find your dream job abroad:

  1. Update your resume. Your resume should be updated and modified regularly. Your resume is the first, and maybe the only thing, an employer will see when you apply for a job. Sell yourself with it.

If applying to jobs internationally, your resume will likely need to look different than if you were applying for domestic jobs. Many international schools want a picture on your resume, as well as care about PD classes and courses you have taken, showing you are staying up to date with the latest educational practices. Simply listing your past teaching experiences will not be enough. If you are very interested in a specific school, research what their school pillars are and incorporate them within your resume. If the school states how important technology is to them, share your experience teaching online or how you are a regular GoogleClassroom instructor.

Selling yourself should also be done in your cover letter and/or CV. Create a LinkedIn account and update your information and contacts on there regularly as well. Remember an employer does not spend a great deal of time looking at your resume, so make it concise and highlight your greatest roles and assets.

2. Benefits schools could provide. Before applying for a job, look into what the benefits and pay are. Although teaching in Spain may sound great, are you financially able to live off of just $1000 a month? Save both the employer´s and your time by only reaching out to jobs you actually see yourself working at. Apart from salary, different schools and countries offer other benefits such as medical insurance, housing, flight reimbursement, gym passes, setting up a bank account, paying for your visa, language classes, etc… Take these costs and factors in mind as well when applying for jobs.

3. Find a reputable company and school. If you Google “Teaching Abroad Opportunities” or “Places to Teach Abroad,” you will come up with thousands of pages. You will come across job listing pages, schools themselves, and recruiters.

One way to find jobs abroad is by using a recruitment platform. These platforms have schools list their vacant jobs on their site, and you are the one to directly apply. Other platforms connect you with a recruiter who helps find the right fit school for you. These platforms usually cost money and offer different packages and assistance. Some are better than others, all depending on what you are looking for and the amount of work you want to do or have someone else do for you. One platform I recommend is TEFLHeaven. ( My friend, Andy, is a recruiter for them and can quickly find you a teaching job in Asia and South America. If you mention my name or MeganMovesAbroad, you can get a free Grammar course as part of your TEFL package.

Apart from these platforms, there are also Facebook groups. With these groups you can find other teachers also looking for jobs abroad, or who currently teach abroad. If you search “Teaching Jobs in Sweden,” for example on Facebook, you will come up with several groups. There are dozens of genetic groups called, “International Teachers,” with teachers from all over the world in them as well. These groups are a great place to ask your questions about a certain school or city, as well as to find jobs. You can also privately dm members of the group if they are teaching at a school you are interested in. This is the best way to get first-hand information about an employer and school.

Google is also your best friend in the teaching abroad process. I can't tell you the number of hours I have spent looking for jobs abroad through Google. It's best if you have a narrow search such as a specific country or city. From there you can apply directly to the school or send an email. Don´t be afraid to reach out even if there isn't a listing posting. They may have a vacancy that was not yet advertised or can keep your resume on hold for the future.

Stalk the school or company you are applying to. To get a better idea of the school you are looking to work with, be sure to look into their school website and Facebook page. There are often reviews left by the employees, parents, and students on the site or page. You can see if there are any red flags you should be aware of, as well as if there are any questions you need to address in your interview.

4. Questions to ask in the interview process. Although the employer has the power to hire you, you have the power to also get hired by them. Do not let the interview process be 1 sided. Show interest in the school and that you did research on them. I often have the interview start by having the employer share about the job, and then share about myself and I would be a great candidate for the position. The employer then has the opportunity to ask any questions they have for me, while I then follow up by asking them questions as well. Yes, you can ask questions! Don't simply say, “No everything sounds great, thanks!” Just like in the dating game, don´t sound too desperate, and play a little hard to get. I personally have a notebook fully devoted to my interviews with the questions I will ask written ahead of time in it. In the notebook, I will also write any additional follow-up questions I may have or want to look into after the interview, as well as the next steps of things I would need to do to get the job. If applying to multiple jobs, it's great to have everything in one place so you can compare them easily. Here are some questions I will always ask if not answered in the job posting or previously mentioned in the interview:

  1. What is the length of the contract? When does it start and end? (You may also want to ask what penalties there are if you would break the contract, although asking this may be a red flag to your employer.)

  2. How will I be paid? Hourly wage or salary? How often will I be paid? Is it directly deposited, or in the form of a check?

  3. What ages will I be teaching, and how many students are in the classroom?

  4. Are there any behavioral or academic concerns I should be aware of?

  5. Is there large parental support in the classroom and school?

  6. How many days and hours in the week will I work? Do staff members often stay and work longer than these hours?

  7. What does the Visa and relocation process look like? Will you be paying for my visa? Help setting up a bank account and to get a residence permit?

  8. What benefits does the job include? (Medical Insurance, flight reimbursement, housing, gym passes, language classes, etc…)

  9. Are the city and school safe?

  10. Is housing provided, if not will you help with the search?

  11. How many teachers are at your school? How many of them are also foreigners?

  12. What would my day look like working at your school?

  13. What are the biggest challenges teachers at your school face? What would my biggest challenge be?

  14. Do you have any reservations regarding hiring me for the position?

Finding a job abroad is hard, but there are ways to make the process easier. Be patient and don't get discouraged if you don't hear back from a school; teaching internationally is highly competitive. Know that I am always just a message away to help your search. I also offer workshops monthly, as well as 1-1 support to help you find the perfect teaching job abroad. Together we can find the perfect international teaching job for you!

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