Job Hunting Suggestions

Four important tips from Dr. Folse for landing a good ESL/EFL job:

  1. If you are about to apply for teaching positions, then prepare a good CV. Don't go for glitz. Go for good content. Make sure that your CV has no spelling or grammatical errors. Even one error shows that in this document where you have supposedly put forth your best effort, you can't spell or write in standard English. Make sure that your CV matches the market where you are applying. For example, in some parts of the world, it is standard to include a photo of yourself.
  2. Even if you are not applying for a job now, make sure that you are gaining the right kind of experience that will help land you a future job you want. For instance, if you hope to work in the Middle East, then seek out jobs in a school or program that has many Middle Eastern students. If you want to get a job in a bilingual school in Texas, then enroll in a Spanish course now.
  3. It pays to make and maintain professional contacts, so attend conferences and local workshops. When you attend these sessions, make a point of introducing yourself to other attendees. (You should have a professional business card.)
  4. I work in an MATESOL program that graduates a number of excellent ESL/EFL teachers each year. However, thousands of people graduate each year, so why should a school hire you? Even if you are a recent graduate, you can build up your CV by teaching or volunteering at various programs while you are a student. Gain teaching experience! In addition, you should present at a local TESOL conference. This helps you make contacts with local job opportunities and it builds up your CV. Present at a conference and add that to your CV. Do things that will help you and your CV stand out from the thousands of people who graduate.


Perhaps the single best opportunity that you have at your disposal to connect with other teachers is the international listserv called TESL-L. Here you can become a member for free (and you will not receive any solicitations or advertisements) and see what other teachers are dealing with. If you want, you can post a question to the list to see what kind of suggestions you receive.

One summer when I was teaching at the intensive program at the University of South Florida in Tampa, we had a group of teenagers from Germany who were in our program for a total of three weeks. My summer job was to teach one of these groups of twelve students for just three weeks. Though I had taught for many years and in many situations before, that teaching scenario was completely new to me. I had a hard time connecting with the students, and for the first time in ages, I did not know what to do. Because of the short course time of only three weeks, I couldn't afford to keep trying different things on my own, so I posted a query on TESL-L and got many good responses from all over. (Answer: I was accustomed to teaching adults, not fifteen-year olds who were on vacation in Florida. I stopped trying to "teach" and instead planned four hours of activities such as games, videos, speeches, and computer tasks. This advice saved my summer!

You can see all of the information for TESL-L at:


Excellent source of information on ESL/EFL positions:


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