Writing a CV that counts when applying for an international job

Published on 27th October, 2014 by Gemma McSweeney. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

One CV or resume doesn’t fit all jobs. Your CV must respond to the needs of the job that you are applying for.

If you’re a teacher applying for a job overseas, your CV will need to be different to the CV you use for job applications in your home country. Here are some tips to think about when applying to our latest international school jobs:

First impressions do matter

Remember, your CV is often the first impression a recruiter will get of you so it is crucially important.  Most recruiters spend less than 20 seconds looking at a CV so make sure yours is well written and easy to read, clear, concise and stands out.

Personal information that’s necessary on your international CV

You will need to include:

  • Your full name.
  • Your marital status and, if appropriate, your partner’s occupation. This is very important if you’re applying for a job in an international school as the recruiter will need to think about immigration requirements, employment needs for your partner, and appropriate accommodation.
  • Details of any dependent children who will be moving with you, including their ages. If your children are school age, their education needs will need to be considered as well as accommodation and immigration requirements.
  • Date of birth. This isn’t always necessary in your home country but many countries have visa restrictions on age for employment so an international recruiter will need to know this detail.
  • All your contact details including a skype address as this will be a likely means of communication.

Your education and qualifications

List your higher education and qualifications including the following:

  • University name and location
  • Years attended
  • Qualification attained
  • Date awarded
  • List in detail your teaching qualification and date of achievement including such information as your subject, age level and type of qualification
  • It is usually not required to list details of all high school qualifications unless you are a newly qualified teacher

Employment history

Clearly list your entire work history including dates (month and year) of start and end of each contract.

List your most recent employment first.

List the name of each school you have worked at including:

  • Location
  • Subjects taught
  • Education levels and ages taught
  • Any positions of responsibility during your time in that school
  • Successes and achievements during that contract
  • Provide details of the curriculum you have taught and the length of experience with each curriculum

Also include any experience of teaching children with special learning needs or who have English as a second or other language (ESOL).

Identify any extra-curricular activities or clubs that you have led.

Explain any gaps between employment.

Your References

List at least two referees on your CV/resume. References should always be supervisors (Chair of Board, Head Teacher, Principal, Head of Department, etc) and should never be from a teaching colleague.

Provide the following information for each referee:

  • Full name
  • Position/ job title
  • School name and location
  • Professional work email address for referee (do not provide personal email addresses for references as these are often not be accepted)
  • Contact telephone number

You should always list references from your most recent and previous employment. References are vitally important. International schools rely heavily upon them.

Extra advice about international CV/resume writing

  • Include a professional photograph (head and shoulders) in the top right hand corner of your CV. This personalises your CV but make sure it is a professional looking photograph.
  • Fully describe and, in the first instance, provide acronyms for all subjects, levels, curriculums, qualifications, etc to ensure that all your details are clearly understood by international recruiters who may not be familiar with your home country norms.
  • List any languages that you fluently or competently speak.
  • Personal statements should be concise - no more than one page and should always be career focused.
  • If this is your first experience of working internationally include reference to two or three personal skills that you have that reflect your international mindedness and ability to cope with an international employment.
  • Aim to keep your CV to two pages in length, three if absolutely necessary.
  • Humour is very subjective and can be difficult to translate cross-culturally so you are safer to avoid it in a CV.
  • Good spelling and grammar is fundamental. Always run a spell check, edit, review and if possible, get your CV double checked by someone your trust before sending off.
  • Keep to one or two font styles in your CV. Verdana, Arial and Calibri are good choices. Script or comic style fonts are not recommended.

Don’t rush it. Write your CV or resume while you have time. Don’t wait for a good job offer to appear before you start writing it. You want to have your CV written, checked, references agreed, and it all ready to go before that great job opportunity comes along!

If you think your CV is ready to get you the perfect international school job, register with TIC today and apply to our latest vacancies.

You may also be interested in these informative blogs:
If I could teach anywhere, where would it be?
How do you know if you’re applying to a good international school?
Language teacher swaps UK for sunny Bermuda

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Gemma McSweeney

Gemma is our Associate Director, having joined TIC in 2009. With over 15 years experience of recruitment and selection methods, she specialises in matching teachers and leaders with our international school partners. She has attended many international education conferences and has visited a number of international schools over the years. She uses this experience to best advise our teachers, leaders and schools and manage our team and UK operations.