How Many TEFL Jobs Should You Apply For?

Tefl Job Application

One thing that stops a lot of people from ever taking action, on anything, is not knowing how to take that first step. How many times have you talked yourself out of something because you weren't sure how to even start? 

When it comes to applying for TEFL jobs, a lot of people simply don't know how to go about it. All sorts of questions arise; Should you apply to a school directly? Should you respond to job postings? Should you use an agency? Should you arrive in the country first? While all of these are valid questions, one question that is harder to answer is on how many jobs you should apply to at once.

It's not simply a case of the more the better. Of course, if you just apply to one job and hope for the best, you're not likely to meet much success. Equally, applying to dozens of schools at once isn't necessarily the best option either. Especially if you're using a single blanket email to apply.

How Many Is Ideal?

It's hard to put an exact number on it as there's no golden rule. Some people WILL get hired by the first place they apply to, others will get rejected dozens of times.

Instead of thinking about it in terms of numbers though, think about it in terms of quality. Both the quality of the job, and the quality of your application. 

If you make sure you aren't making mistakes with your application, then it will be just a matter of time before you secure your dream job.

There are plenty of tips on the blog for getting things right, and here's a quick summary for you:

  1. Don't send one generic application email to dozens of schools and CC them all into one email. Learn more about this and other mistakes.
  2. Make sure you meet the requirements for the application. Both official and unofficial requirements.
  3. Write a good, TEFL-specific, CV or resume. Make sure that if you have to include a photo, it's a good photo (learn more).
  4. If you get an interview, make sure you prepare properly. Follow these tips and you'll do fine.
  5. Lastly, consider the bigger picture and know what type of job is the best for you.

Should You Apply All At Once, Or One By One?

It's really up to you, as there are pros and cons for doing it both ways.

If you apply to many schools at once, make sure you send individual applications and cover letters (or emails). There's no harm in making things more efficient, but you should still personalize every application. This will show that you're more serious about that particular job, and more professional.

The downside of applying all at once is that you might find it harder to keep track of your various applications, or might not have the time to do multiple interviews if you reach that stage.

On the other hand, if you apply one by one, it will take longer, but you get more time to learn from your mistakes and improve your application process. You'll be able to test different cover letter styles, different CVs, and more variations. This will lead to you getting much better at applying.

You'll also be more able to digest the information and make your mind up about which type of job (or which country) is best for you.

How much time you have available, and how soon you want to go abroad will also dictate whether you want to apply all at once or gradually over time.

It might well be a case that there are only a few positions available at any given time anyway.

Should You Use A Recruiter?

If you have little experience with teaching or applying for jobs abroad, it's definitely going to be in your best interest to use a recruitment agency. Once you've applied to, and been accepted by an agency, all you really need to do is show up for any interviews they get you (usually via skype). 

In some cases all you'll need to do is be accepted by the agency, and they'll recommend you to schools and discuss any offers you get.

There are several more advantages to using an agency (such as ourselves) as well:

  1. Expertise in the field. We know which jobs are worth applying for.
  2. Contacts. A lot of recruiters work directly with schools.
  3. Quality. Recruiters like us here at TEFLOne only work with the top quality schools.
  4. Free. You don't pay for their services, the schools do.
  5. Reputation. As some recruiters always provide great teachers, schools trust their recommendations.
  6. Exclusivity. Some schools will ONLY use recruiters.

In short, if you are using a recruiter, you'll have access to the best jobs. To learn more about how TEFLOne can help you, read here.

How Long Does An Application Process Usually Last?

This is another question that crops up a lot, but isn't the easiest to answer. In some cases, where a vacancy appears suddenly, you could apply for a job and be on the plane within three weeks. Usually though it takes about double that time. 

Again, it really depends on things like time of year, how flexible you are with your placement, how many jobs are available at any given time, and a number of other things.

The better your application, the faster you'll likely to be to find that dream job.


As you can see, it's much more important to focus on quality over quantity. The straight answer to how many schools you should apply to is simply: As many as it takes. 

However, the better your application, the better the school you apply to, and whether or not you use an agency, will definitely increase your chances of getting hired, and reduce the number of schools you'll need to apply to.

As long as you fit the bill, you could get hired right away. Get in touch with us.