As TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a career where having 3 years experience means you can get a job anywhere in the world, and probably a senior teacher job at that, if you are anything like me you will start to get lazy with your CV once you realise that the number of years or qualifications written at the top of it can get you the job on their own. That is probably a sign that you should be looking for schools that are more demanding- or if you have run out of those, for management jobs. There are specific qualifications in ELT management, but for those of us that don't have them there are plenty of ways of making our CVs look as good as if not better than those of the few people who do. Here are some ideas for things you can write in your CV (and things you can try to make true about you so that they can go in your CV), all given with the caveat that what schools are looking for in a DoS (Director of Studies) probably varies even more than what they are looking for in a teacher.
Before you start writing
If you are thinking of applying for a management position, you have probably already had a career that could fill up a CV that is several pages long. As in any other job, though, it is generally best to stick to 1 or 2 sides of A4 if you can, to stop the important information being missed by a busy school principal trying to find a new manager before the summer rush. This means selecting exactly the right information from the many possible thing you could put, which of course means researching the job you are applying for very well- for example finding out how much the role will be an academic one or a commercial one. Please bear that in mind when moving from the brainstorming stage the tips below are meant to help you with to the editing that will get you down to the finished item.
Education and qualifications
Here is a list in no particular order of qualifications that could be an asset in applying for an EFL management job, and therefore ones you might want to think about taking, or stressing on your CV if you already have them:
In classic job advertisement style, most DoS jobs will state that they need someone who has been doing exactly the same thing for several years even when their real minimum standards are much lower. If you do have the right kind of experience, though, you will want to make yourself seem exactly what they are looking for by mentioning:
Particular successes you might want to big yourself up with include:
1. Increases in student numbers
2. Low student turnover
3. High number of recommendations from students to their friends
4. High take up and pass rates in EFL exams like FCE or IELTS
5. Low staff turnover
6. Persuading teachers to take higher teaching qualifications and helping them with it
7. Teachers getting involved in other outside teacher development such as giving workshops in national conferences or publishing book reviews in TEFL magazines
8. Your own outside workshops and publications
9. Increasing the quality of teacher in your school, e.g. by raising the minimum qualifications for jobs in your school
10. Increased sales in study abroad courses, self-study materials etc.
11. Simplification of admin
12. Introduction of new admin systems to solve problems or make running of school easier and more efficient
13. Opening of other branches due to success of your school or with your help
14. Systems you introduced which were taken on in other schools
15. Your teachers becoming examiners or your school becoming a designated exam centre
16. Positive reviews from teachers on English teaching forums
17. High number of teachers recommended by previous teachers applying for jobs with you
18. An increase in the number of applicants for each teaching job you advertise
19. Improving the technology and other facilities in the school
20. Teachers or senior staff you supervised moving onto high status TEFL jobs such as the British Council or a national university
21. Improved end of term feedback from teachers and students and/ or decrease in number of complaints, preferably whilst improving the quality of the feedback methods you use
22. Moving to larger or more luxurious premises
23. Improved financial results such as turnover or profit
24. High prestige business partners, such as being sent students by a well known travel agent chain or sending your study abroad students to better known schools in London
25. Successful inspections from official bodies like the local government or the British Council, along with any particularly positive comments they made about improvements etc.
26. Contracts to teach students from big companies or government agencies
27. Moving into other areas of business, e.g. starting the first classes for pre-school children or the first in company classes
28. Improving teacher support and internal teacher training
If you have not had an EFL management job at the level of the one you are applying for but have worked as a teacher or senior teacher in a school where the things above have improved, these points could still be well worth a mention- along with any involvement you had in them or what ideas seeing them implemented gave you for how to be a good EFL manager. Other things you might have got involved in as a teacher or senior teacher which could be particularly relevant for your step up into higher management include:
You might also have some relevant experience from management positions outside EFL and other non-TEFL jobs, e.g.
Other things you might like to mention on your CV, in your cover letter or in the interview include: