How to Write a Great ESL Resume so You Land The Job You Want


Are you new to the ESL industry? You might not know it but a ESL resume is a bit different.

Having a well written resume that communicates your skills, experience and qualifications effectively is a major step in getting the job you want. Your resume may be one of several hundred that a recruiter receives so to stand out there are some things you can do to help get an interview. We’ve already talked about before how you can be a great candidate before your resume even gets read, so this is the next step.

How to Write a Great ESL Resume so You Land The Job You Want

Some of the simplest things that help create a good impression have nothing to do with where you went to college or what experience you have. It is as easy as ensuring that there are no spelling and grammar errors, so have a friend read it over and enable spell check. Also by ensuring that your resume is succinct and only includes relevant information, your resume is more likely to be read.

A recruiter who has hundreds of resumes to read over doesn’t have time to read a four page resume, a short one or two page resume is more than enough in the ESL/EFL industry.

Make it easy for the recruiter to read in seconds!

Use modern clear font of an appropriate size. Don’t use more than three different fonts, and other complicated formats that may be difficult to read on different devices. Make use of bullet points so as to avoid long sentences and paragraphs, and maximise the white space.

So what should be included in your ESL resume?

The ESL industry can be a little bit different when writing resumes so it stands to reason you are going to need an industry focused ESL resume. For instance it is often expected that candidates will include a photo in the top right hand corner of their resume. This isn’t for the reason you may think, it’s to ensure that the person applying is the person being interviewed, and from there the person on the passport, and the person who turns up on the first day of the job. So always include a passport sized photo on your resume to help increase your opportunities.

Make sure you include any qualifications you have such as degrees, TESOL and other diplomas. Include the qualification name, date of completion and where it was attained.

ESL resumes often also do not include previous experience if it does not relate to teaching, coaching or mentoring in anyway. Of course you can’t have a blank work history section in your resume, but try to link skills from any previous positions to teaching. For example if you worked in a fast food restaurant and helped train new hires, you can mention this. Or if you coached junior hockey as a teenager you should mention that you coached and worked previously with children.

And don’t forget to include any relevant skills!

Applying for a job in China and can speak Mandarin? Include it! Applying for a rural teaching job and have agricultural skills? Include it! There are many skills that transfer between industries, so think carefully about what you can include.

How should a resume look?

  • Passport sized photo in the top right hand corner
  • Name, Nationality, Date of Birth, Contact Details
  • Education/Qualifications
  • Relevant previous experience
  • Relevant skills
  • Any other details requested in the job advert such as licence or criminal record check
  • Two to three references and their contact details. Preferably Skype or email if you are applying internationally for roles.

If you aren’t sure whether your resume and cover letter are giving you the best opportunity to land a role, Just ESL Resumes offers a free ESL resume review.  The report will identify what you’ve done well, and where there are gaps.

Some of the services Just ESL Resumes offer include:

  • Resume and cover letter
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Introduction video script
  • Online interview practice
  • Common interview question answer script

Further Reading:

8 Easy Side Hustles for ESL Teachers

Teaching English Online: Don’t Let Not Having a Degree Stop You

Start Your Own Online ESL Tutoring Business