Getting Hired - Resume and Cover Letter Tips

I review close to 200 resumes (curriculum vitae) and cover letters every month from prospective teachers interested in Taiwan. Here are some tips to increase your chances of being hired:

  1. USE A SPELL CHECKER - Remember, you are applying for a job teaching English. Sending a resume that has spelling, grammar punctuation, or capitilization errors will greatly reduce your chances at getting hired by a good school.

  2. TAILOR THE RESUME FOR AN EFL POSITION - You may have lots of unrelated experience as a stock analyst or computer programmer, but these things are not going to help you get a teaching job. Consider your reader and include those things that are related to teaching. Even if you only have experience as a stock analyst, perhaps you did a training seminar for new employees, gave presentations to prospective investors, etc. Emphasizing any teaching/people contact aspects of your job will greatly increase your chances.

  3. INCLUDE AN APPROPRIATE JOB OBJECTIVE - putting “I’m looking for a position to help me leverage my computer programming skills” or “Looking for management position in the hospitality industry” isn’t going to help you much.

  4. USE THE BCC (Blind carbon copy) EMAIL FUNCTION - If you do decide to send out the same resume to more than one school or company at the same time, using this will make it seem that you are only sending it to the person receiving it. As a recruiter, if I see that an applicant has sent his message to me and 30 other recruiters, I’m much less likely to respond.

  5. PERSONALIZE THE COVER LETTER - The more specific, the better. Writing “To whom it may concern, I’m looking to teach in either Asia, Europe or South America…” will result in you sending out 100s of resumes and getting no response. Take a little time to find out about the school your applying to (check out their website) and the name of the person you are contacting. Once you have this information, address the letter to the person, include the name of the school and country in the body of your letter, and add a sentence or two that shows you know something about that particular school will increase your chances dramatically (it shows you’ve done your homework and that you are genuinely interested). I would say it roughly triples my interest in an applicant if I see these three things.

  6. INCLUDE COMPLETE CONTACT INFORMATION - on both the resume and cover letter. Your snail mail address, email address and your full telephone contact number including area code and country code (remember, it will be an international call to contact you).

  7. INCLUDE REASONS FOR COMING TO TAIWAN - a couple of sentences or a short paragraph telling why you are interested in coming to your school’s country will show that you are serious about your application and that you are committed to coming.

Good luck to you! I hope you find a great job!

What is your job, Prentice?

Hi Wolf,

I’ve taught at KOJEN ELS (ELSI) for the past 11 1/2 years. I’m the Director of Curriculum and Personnel Development. I spend 1/2 my time working with applicants and the other 1/2 overseeing our adult curriculum team. Currently, we’ve been building a searchable database of teaching materials. We’ve added about 4,000 activities so far. Teachers can search by grammar point, topic, function, student level, corresponding textbook page, etc. One very neat part of this is that teachers are able to edit the handouts on the fly to customize them for their classes/students and then print them out (it doesn’t change the master file - just the version they are working on).

How about you? You’ve been a very active member of oriented’s forums, and have shared a lot of your time with this community and I’d like to know what you do as well.

Hee hee – if you use Palm PDAs, check out “Activity Finder” on – you can use it to let teachers conveniently catalog all your activities, games and worksheets on their handhelds.

Ooh, I love shameless self-promotion!!


[quote=“Prentice”] Teachers can search by grammar point, topic, function, student level, corresponding textbook page, etc. One very neat part of this is that teachers are able to edit the handouts on the fly to customize them for their classes/students and then print them out (it doesn’t change the master file - just the version they are working on).


Where do teachers do this searching and editing ? I presume these facilities are computer based - do all teachers in all schools have access to computers ?

[quote=“ironlady”]Ooh, I love shameless self-promotion!!

Terry, you are awesome! My Palm is OLD though. It says version 2.0.5 :frowning: So many cool things I can’t use.


Go ahead and try it anyway, if you want…it just says “minimum OS 3.0” 'cuz I’m too lazy to download an emulator for earlier versions. :shock:

Just remember to HotSynch first in case your system crashes as a result…

Tell us more about this database of teaching materials. Sounds cool.

Is that just available to ELSI teachers?

Hexuan and Spack - Sorry for the late response, I’ve been offline for about a week and a half because, TA DA!, I’m a new dad! My baby girl, Piper, was born on Oct. 11th.

To answer your questions:

  1. The KOJEN-ELF V1.0 (Electronic Library File), is a password protected CD that is held by our Academic Director/Teacher Trainers. It is available for all teacher use, however only an AD/TT can log on to the system. Version 2.0 has been vastly updated with a simpler interface and we’ve also added about another 1,000 handouts/activities this past year. Version 2.0 will be out in the next couple of months. To do so, we’re going to need to upgrade our teacher’s room computers at all our schools to handle the database (it’s getting really big). Version 2.0 will be completely installed on each computer, and will have individual access codes for all teachers (with very good record keeping functions to know who is on and when).
  2. Right now with Ver 1.0, teachers need to get an AD/TT to access the material as with our curriculum on a CD, safety from copyright is a real issue. Ver 2.0 will have individual passwords, and because the thing is so darn big, several gigabytes, we’ve solved most of our pirating worries.
  3. Plans are already in the works to create Ver. 3.0 next year. Ver. 3.0 is planned to be an Intranet application. This will allow us to have teams in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung all updating the system all the time. Also, it will give us the ability to update the whole system at all schools in one go. (With both version 1.0 and 2.0, any changes had to be updated at each location). Also, teachers at each of our schools will be able to add files and lessons of their own for everyone to share and use. (Previously, we were only able to make hard copies and then share them at monthly meetings. Once Ver 3.0 is up and running, they’ll be immediately available, and also editable/and customizable by the end user).

All in all it’s been a very interesting project. I’m really looking forward to see what comes in the next steps of the process.

Seems very interesting. Wish ELSI had that when I was teaching there.

Let us know how it goes, any problems etc.

Also, is there just one computer terminal available at each branch of ELSI? Won’t there be queue at the computer as well as at the photocopier 20 minutes before class!?

Congrats on your little nipper, btw.
Once Piper can crawl around and if you’re ever in Taichung, drop me a line. I have a 2 year old rugrat who could always use an extra playmate!

Queues at the photocopier are always going to happen as long as there are those doing mostly last minute prepping. Most of our schools have faster copiers now, and two at each school.

Currently, yes, there are only one or two computers in each teachers’ room. Part of the reason for this project (a small part, but important) was to create a big need for computers in our teachers’ rooms, both to upgrade as well as get more for use…we’ll see how it all works out. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your kind words on Piper. I don’t know how soon I’ll be coming with the family, but keep an eye out for the music schedule at Napoli. I think my band will be playing a Saturday in November (my band’s name is Reauchambeaux - formerly the Pocket Monkeys).