So, you’ve finished your course. You feel prepared to embark on your new journey abroad, instructing non-native speakers in English. You’ve learned the basics of language acquisition, strategies, and how to overcome the challenges you’ll face such as cultural barriers. So where should you look for a job, and how should you do it?

1). Job Boards

Perhaps the best way to find a job after you’ve got your TEFL certificate in hand is to scour the many ESL job boards on the web. Sites like have literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of jobs posted at any given time. These are employers that are actively seeking native speakers, often urgently. This gives you a huge advantage. Also, the ratio of jobs to teachers leans heavily in the teachers’ favor  — there are many more schools than qualified teachers. This is especially true in particular countries, like China or Korea.

2 .Alumni Networks

Depending on the institution and the package you chose, there may be an available alumni network of teachers who have earned their TEFL certificate from the same program. These can be very helpful in not only finding available jobs but also gaining valuable insight to help you choose the best fit for you.

3). “Cold-Calling”

By the nature of the industry, approaching prospective employers without any connection or posted job can often work out. The turnover rate for ESL teachers is higher than in many other jobs. Some schools may also have attempted to find teachers via the internet in the past, without success, and given up. Simply asking around about interest in hosting an ESL teacher isn’t a bad idea. Also, many schools wish only to hire teachers who are already located in-country. They see teachers who are already residing in the area more favorably than those outside for a variety of reasons: they are more likely to already be accustomed to the culture, they are more likely to stay for a long period of time if they are settled already, and their visa situations are often easier to sort out. Also, there is less difficulty in arranging a start time for these kinds of hires.

4). Networking

You don’t necessarily need to rely on a formal alumni network to find a quality ESL job. Keep in contact with friends from your TEFL course, talk to the instructor for some advice, and use any other contacts you have that might help you out or know someone that can. After all, the TEFL industry is not unlike every other – many jobs are gained simply by who you know.

Jane Howard Education