Using The Wrong Words In A TEFL Resume Could Harm You

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Back in June last year we published an article about how to write a TEFL CV, and today's post is going to cover the topic again. More specifically, we're going to focus on the actual words you use in your resume and how they can benefit or damage your chances of getting that interview.

Why Do Words Matter?

It's pretty clear to most people that the words you use are going to help your CV stand out, but most of us think about what words we CAN use, rather than ones we shouldn't. 

Recruiters will see the same "buzz words" used over and over again, which means that not only will they become unimpressed by them, they'll also be likely to roll their eyes and pass over your application. Try to avoid overused phrases like "works independently or part of a team" for example.

You want to make yourself stand out, and in many cases the way to do this is by NOT using those particular words and phrases.

We'll give some more examples of those words below.

Avoid Being Filtered

Recruiters receive dozens and dozens of applications, and often the only way they can get through them all is to filter them out. It's not physically possible to thoroughly read every one. 

As we mentioned before, making your CV easy to read, making sure you include everything you're supposed to, and highlighting your best assets is a good way to get noticed.

At the same time, if a recruiter skims through your application and has to groan at your choice of wording, you might just find yourself being placed in the "Get to this later" pile.

What Are The Words That You Should Avoid?

A recent BBC News article highlighted what many recruiters feel about certain words. Here's a hint, they aren't good! There are many  words that make you look like you're trying to over-hype yourself, you don't know what to say, or you're being arrogant.  

Here are some examples:

  • "Various" - Saying you did "various" projects isn't specific enough and you should just do without it. Give more details or a number.
  •  Avoid words that make you look arrogant like: "visionary, expert, futurist, mastermind, go-getter, change agent" or similar.
  • "Team Player" and "Hard Worker" are basically fluff words that can show you aren't confident in your skillset.

There are some other good examples that you can view by reading the full article (linked above).

While there are definitely some words that you should avoid, it's more the style of your CV that you should pay attention to as well. Are the words you're using easy buzzwords that you think sound-good? Or are they actually telling the recruiter who you are?

TEFL Recruiters Want To Know You

Letting the recruiter know your personality is especially important with a TEFL application. An ESL teacher needs to be outgoing, friendly, able to work independently, and flexible. Showing this on your CV is going to go a long way towards helping you stand out.

If your CV looks perfect in terms of qualifications and saying the right things, but they aren't sure of who you really are and whether or not you'll be able to cope with living abroad, maybe they'll choose someone else.

Don't leave any question about your suitability for the job, and this starts with showcasing your personality.

To learn more tips about the whole job application process, you can check out our other job-seeking blog posts here.

Final Thoughts

Without wanting to scare you or make you over analyze your CV too much, this article is supposed to make you think about approaching your resume in a unique way. You can keep the formatting standard and clear, but don't feel that you need to use certain buzzwords, formal language, or "application speak". 

Be yourself, and you'll do yourself (and your recruiter) a big service.

Also, if you're looking for a job teaching English in Asia, get in touch with us.