Thursday, 2 February 2012

ITTP TEFL Prague: CV tips - Applying for teaching positions in Prague/Czech Republic

Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) will most likely be the first contact which you have with a potential language school employer and it is essential that you make a positive impact because not only do you not get a second chance at a first impression, but you might not even get that first impression if you don't make sure that your CV stands out from the crowd and actually gets read. A CV is a summary of your educational, academic, skills, employment and other professional achievements background and although similar to a Resume, a CV does differ slightly in that a Resume is longer and should go into more detail - whereas a CV tends to be shorter and ideally should fit onto one page only.

To start, and I have mentioned this in another post - and thank you Karen for reminding me of this earlier in the week and also for taking note (thank you for reading), your email address is important. For sending out your CV, I would definitely recommend taking a look at your email address and evaluating whether it is a professional address or not. As an example, if your email address is, or, then I think it is fair to say that your email will probably go straight into the deleted email file (if it made it past the Junk mail box in the first place). OK, these are extreme examples but you get the point. I would personally recommend opening a separate email account specifically for your professional correspondence (unless your current email address works and fits just fine) and having a simple email address which is worded around your name. I would also go further and suggest that you choose a local Czech email service provider, such as,,, because this immediately demonstrates to schools that you are more 'here' than if you use a generic Hotmail or Yahoo account for example.

Making sure that you convey to schools through your CV that you are settled in Prague and committed to teaching in Prague is essential. Schools in Prague/Czech Republic only want to spend time and energy on potential teaching staff who demonstrate that they are here for the immediate long haul. One other way in which you can promote yourself as a serious contender for a teaching English position in Prague/Czech Republic  is to make sure that you have a Czech mobile number listed on your CV - if you don't then a red flag will automatically be raised as to whether you are really settled here and responsibly prepared to take on teaching classes.

One more very important note, which might not be initially obvious, is that when applying for jobs you should always make sure that your social network preferences, such as Facebook are set to private mode so that only your friends can view what you did last weekend (or midweek). Schools often trawl social networking sites to check if they can find out anything about an applicant which is not mentioned on their CV or application form - often applicants have very weak privacy on their social network account and it is quite amazing what can be found out about an individual just through a few clicks of the mouse in that general direction. Either way, you should always set your social network privacy settings to high anyway, unless of course you want everyone to know about what you get up to in your social life ( !!! ).

What should be on your CV?

Your CV should be full of all the relevant and essential information which shows you off at your best for an English teaching position. This is your chance to write your own reference and essentially to brag about how wonderful you would be teaching for the school if only the school took notice and got in contact with you so as not to miss out on this golden opportunity to have you on their teaching books.
Also as an additional note, please remember that when listing your Education and Work History you should list in order from most recent first.

> At the top of the page you should list your Contact Information:


A lot of people also add their photo.
If you want to then add it, if you don't feel comfortable publishing your pic on your CV then don't.
I personally wouldn't because I feel that unless the photo has been professionally taken then it could possibly be detrimental to your application. On the other hand it definitely assures the reader that you are a real applicant and as long as you are smiling in the photo and radiating professionalism (such as you are Heather - I hope you find this post helpful for your job search btw), then you will be fine.

> There is the option of adding your Objective or Aim under your Contact Information. If you do then I would recommend just writing one or two sentences about what your aim or objective is, such as: I wish to obtain a full time position as an EFL teacher in a school where I am able to utilize my expertise, knowledge, and experience, teaching EFL students of all ages (thank you Heather for the inspiration ( :-) ).

> Next you should list your Education and Professional Qualifications.
To begin with you should add your ITTP teaching English qualification and notes on how to list this can be found under last week's Friday Questions, listed in the Categories section on these blog pages.
If you have a University degree then definitely add this now. If you don't have a University degree then I would recommend adding other education qualifications, such as A Level grades if you studied in the UK education system.
You may also list other training here too, but your TEFL/TESOL certification and then Higher Education qualifications take precedence and should be listed above.

> Now you should list your Employment (or Work) History.
Please make sure to only list jobs which are education or teaching related, or jobs which have involved a high level of responsibility or (in the case of applying for work teaching children), jobs which demonstrate that you have experience working with minors. I'm sure it was fascinating working at that burger or juice bar when you were at College, but placing it on a CV won't necessary bolster your teaching English application.
It is important to note here that when you are taking the ITTP Onsite course in Prague you will be gaining experience teaching Group English, Business English at local companies, and teaching Young and Very Young Learners at the local Elementary school. If you are just out of college and if you are scrambling for places to put down for your employment history then you should definitely add your ITTP teaching experience to the Work History section of your CV. If for example you taught Jana Business English at Unicredit Bank as part of your ITTP teacher training then list those classes on your CV. 
As an additional tip: Don't list managerial or entrepreneurial experience. Schools are looking for teachers to work for them and who will fit in and accept the school's guidelines and formalities. By listing in your Employment History that you once had your own business you will automatically place a school on the defensive because it is relatively easy to steal clients from schools (please don't), and listing managerial experience might give the school concern that you might find it difficult to follow the managerial directions of the school (having been a manager yourself).

> Skills is the next section which traditionally comes next on a CV and for a teaching English application I would personally omit this section unless you have something extraordinary to list which will be a deal breaker. OK, so you are computer literate - hell, EVERYONE is computer literate these days.
I would only use this section to mention skills in foreign languages. Otherwise, I think it would be a shame to waste precious CV writing space by essentially declaring that you are able turn on a computer and use it.

> You can list Interests or Hobbies now if you wish (or even before the Skills section), but again I only really recommend adding this section if it will add weight to your application - never add this section if you are just looking to pad up your CV content space. If you are genuinely interested in reading Methodology or EFL literature then add this mention now. If you are looking to create a common ground with a Czech school manager then my advise is to list listening to 'Country Music' and 'hiking in the nature' as two of your key interests ( :-) ). To come over as non-party animal material then you might feel the need to add the note that you enjoy spending your free time immersed in solitary bliss absorbing the works of Goethe and Aristophanies. It's up to you. Just always please make sure that you tell the truth on your CV or else you might come unstuck during the interview process when asked for example whether you feel The Lysistrata is as strong a play in terms of social influence on 5th Century BC Athenian society, as say the Archarnians was.

> Lastly, you will need to list at the bottom of your CV two people as References - people in managerial positions who know you and who you are confident would write or say lovely things about you if required to do so. Assuming you didn't stick used chewing gum under your desk, set fire to the school, or have horrific attendance issues, then you may feel absolutely free to list me as one of your references. My professional details are:

Mr Neville David Thomas
Online Managing Director
(+420) 775 071 550

You may of course also list Alena or one of your Trainers.
Your second reference should be a recent employer.

OK, so you have your CV ready to send off. What other important points should you be aware of?

1. Never group or mass email your CV out. Always email schools individually - no school wants to receive a CV email Bcc along with a load of other schools.

2. In your email SUBJECT you should mention the name of the school. Again, this personalizes your email to that specific school and they will be more willing to spend time on your CV if they assume that they are not one of many schools which you may or may not be interested in teaching for.
My advice is to write in your email SUBJECT line something like:
To (name of school) -- Excellent English Teacher immediately available!

3. Schools receive a lot of emails from a lot of interested applicants and not all of those emails make it to the school's Inbox. If you don't hear back from a school then your email might have automatically landed in their Junk box. Following up is an essential aspect of job hunting - send off your CV and then follow up with a follow-up email, call, or personal visit.

4. Some people like to send off an email with a short text directing the reader to their attached CV and Cover Letter. I just feel that this again demonstrates that the sender will probably have sent the same email off to numerous schools so I personally wouldn't advise attaching a Cover Letter. Keep it simple: just attach your CV and in the email actually write a short paragraph explaining why you are sending the email, why you want to teach for that school, and personalizing the email with a little bit of information about yourself (for example, why you are in Prague and for how long you want to stay here for).

5. Above all, make sure that your CV stands out from the crowd.
When we do need to outsource teachers and when we do advertise for teachers on the web or local media/press we invariably receive the same type of bundle of manicured CV's and Cover Letters which all follow the prescribed exact template which this and that TEFL school has recommended their Clients follow, and the end result is that these emails tend to get automatically put on the back burner because they lack originality and fail to convey the importance of the teaching position with our specific school for the applicant. What we look for in a CV and job application email is an authentic desire on the part of the applicant to want to teach for our school, and a demonstration of effort on the part of the sender to convey that exact message across to us.
If you really really really want to teach at a specific school over all others then either send your CV through registered post, or hand it to the school's reception attached to a brightly colored helium balloon.
However, all schools in Prague/Czech Republic are pretty much the same more or less and following the above guidelines for sending your CV electronically will definitely place you on the upper footing.

Hope it helps!

Hezky den!/Lovely day!

Neville :-)