This resume writing guidance is aimed at those new to ESL teaching, and considers how best to highlight skills that are relevant to teaching. Remember that the HR staff member in China who reviews your resume may not be a native English speaker, and therefore it’s important not to use overly complex language, or be too subtle in explaining your experience.
What should I include on my Resume?
As for any job application, for any role, in any country, the key is to tailor your resume for the specific job you are applying for:
Include a Personal Summary: this very brief first paragraph should state why you’re interested in the opportunity and highlight that you are a confident, engaging teacher who can build rapport with students. A good personal summary should clearly state your goals and interest in becoming a great teacher, and show your enthusiasm for the country.
Keep your Education section informative and brief: Clearly stating your degree, grade classification and University you attended. Format all earlier qualification in a streamlined manner and include other related qualifications in your Education section- if you have attained a TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or DELTA qualification, place it high-up alongside your degree. If you have attained any HSK levels or other Chinese language qualifications, highlight these and put them towards the top as well, as in many provinces these will add points to your visa application!
Succinctly highlight teaching experience: Having a bucket load of diverse and interesting professional experience is fantastic, but it’s important to keep it as relevant as possible to teaching and education. We recommend splitting your Work Experience section in two. One section for “Teaching Related Experience”, clearly stating any classroom, coaching, childminding, tutoring or other experience you have that is related to teaching (include any voluntary or extra-curricular experience in this section too). Follow this up with an “Other Professional Experience” section, where you can afford to be a lot briefer in your descriptions. Even though you may be proud of particular professional experiences that you have attained, schools are more interested to learn about experience where you’ve been motivating, inspiring and assisting others in a relevant context than a professional role in finance!
Include a hobbies and interest section: Highlight any China-related interests you may have. Schools love creative and sporting talents, so if you’re into drama, play a musical or instrument or are a dab-hand at a sport, ensure you highlight this so you can paint a fuller and brighter picture of yourself!
What are the Do’s and Don’ts when applying for a teaching job in China?
- Play yourself up! Highlight any and all relevant experience;
- Demonstrate a confident and articulate demeanour at all stages of application;
- Speak loudly and clearly at an interview
- Prepare questions about the school, curriculum and city, ensure you show an interest in the finer points of the role, aside from the obvious financial aspect;
- Prepare your answers! Don’t just think of examples to demonstrate teaching experience, think of anecdotes. A detailed personal story, paints a really clear picture of your personality and can leave a great impression;
- Remain professional, stray away from slipping into slang or using lazy language;
- Be respectful. Respect is a key component of Chinese culture. Showing respect and interest in the interviewer offer and role is vital;
- Be organized and proof read! Checking your CV and cover letter for spelling or grammar mistakes is a must.
- Play yourself down! The worst answer to give in an interview is “I don’t really have any teaching experience”. Think about what relevant experience you do have;
- Take an aggressive or bartering attitude towards employers with contracts and financial details (always be diplomatic and respectful);
- Get pressured into taking the first job that comes up. Do your research and speak with someone you trust;
- Be disheartened if you receive a knockback. Many different schools have different ethos and attitude. It’s all about finding the right fit for you!
The Recruitment Cycle
The academic year in China begins late August, therefore the main bulk of public (state) and international school teachers begin the teaching year then. There is also a Spring Semester which begins after the Chinese New Year holiday (usually around mid/ late February). The majority of candidates tend to head out in one of these intakes, but language training schools recruit year-round.
To allow time to collate the relevant documents and apply for your work permit, it is recommended to start the application process at least 3 months before you intend to depart for China. For example, applications should be submitted by mid-November for a Spring Semester start.
The process itself will differ in the finer details from school to school, however, candidates undertake the following process:
- Telephone interview with Opportunity China to asses suitability for teaching roles
- Skype interview with school/s in China for a position that match a desired criteria, and eligibility
- Offer of employment from the school; sign and return contract
- Collate important documents (Bachelor’s Certificate, TEFL Certificate and Criminal Record Background Check)
- Authenticate and certify these documents
- Send scanned copies of authenticated documents to the employer school in China, who will begin processing their work permit (takes between 4-6 weeks)
- Receive work permit from China, and use this to apply for Z working visa at Chinese embassy/consulate in home country
- Book flights and start work in China!
If you would like a Coordinator to review your resume please email email@example.com
Read our interview hints and tips to prepare for your skype interview with a school.