You might not have realised it before, but how you conduct yourself via your emails is a MAJOR contribution to your chances of being chosen for that TEFL job you've applied for.
Think about it. You're applying for a job as an English teacher in a school - a highly respected profession in Asia. You will need to be professional at all times on the job so take every opportunity to demonstrate this during the application process, too.
You'd be surprised at how simple this is, and how many people get it wrong. To make sure you're not shooting yourself in the foot before you've even got started, here are some tips for you to follow.
Respond To Emails Timely
Sometimes the process of finding a good candidate takes a long time and usually there will be multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time. If you're taking too long to respond to emails, you're going to fall behind and not get picked.
Additionally, if a school or recruiter has asked you to confirm receipt of an email, make sure you give it. A simple "I'm just confirming receipt of this email" is enough, and only takes 5 seconds. It will go a long way to showing that you care about your application, and more importantly, that you can follow instructions!
Apply To Directly For Positions
Many candidates try to save time by sending one blanket email to a number of schools and agencies at the same time. This doesn't really look very professional and most recruiters will notice this and not bother to take your application further. Take the time to write personalised emails and apply individually, and you'll be rewarded.
Just remember, they're constantly filtering out candidates, so show that you're the best.
Salutations And Sign-offs
Again, remember that you're applying for a professional job as an English teacher. Use correct salutations such as "Dear Sir" or if you know the recruiter's name, "Dear Mr/Mrs Name" and so on.
Finish your emails appropriately as well. Don't just say "Cheers" and leave it there.
Courtesy goes a long way, and so does professionalism. It's probably the first thing people will be looking for, and the first opportunity to filter your application out. Don't forget it!
Label Files And Attachments
Usually your application will be required to include a photo, CV, cover letter, and possibly a couple of other documents as well. When attaching them, give them appropriate labels, rather than the default document names you often get (especially with photos).
Somebody receiving a lot of email applications every day needs to stay organized, so make their lives easier wherever possible.
Also, keep your attachments relevant. Only include the documents asked of you. You may laugh, but some people will include scans of A-level, GCSE certificates and even a scan of a 10m swimming badge when asked for a scanned copy of the degree certificate! You can list all past achievements in your CV if relevant to the job you are applying, but don't send them all.
It's not a case of "The more the better" in this situation. Additionally, this is another opportunity for you to show that you can follow directions, read the application instructions carefully, and see what is needed.
Keep Within The Email Thread
Always reply to emails rather than starting a new one. If there are 6 to 10 threads going per candidate, it's going to be hard for the recruiter to check back for information and your suitability may be overlooked while they rummage through various emails.
Many email providers like Gmail and Outlook will keep emails in one thread, so don't break it by just opening up a new email. If in doubt, hit reply.
This will benefit you as well, as there may be some tasks or instructions that you fail to notice if you have too many different threads.
Use Correct Grammar And Speaking Terms
Things like "How r u?" and "Lol" work fine in Whatsapp and Facebook, but not for a job application. You don't have to make every correspondence formal and like you are writing a Thesis, but at least demonstrate you have a good grasp of English.
Bonus Tip - Use Common Sense
We know it can be confusing, stressful, and nerve-wracking to apply for a job abroad, but just remember to think about what type of job you're applying for. If you are ever unsure, think what kind of email YOU would want to receive, and go for that.
Recruiters just want to see that you have a professional attitude, decent English, and the ability to follow instructions; the rest should be straight forward.