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How to Prepare Your Resume for an Online English Teaching Job

As home-based online English teaching jobs become increasingly more common, companies are giving a lot of effort to recruit and screen new hires. It all begins with your ESL teaching resume, so this blog will show you how to tailor your resume for online teaching jobs.

Find ESL teaching jobs on the OnTESOL Job Board!

Preparing Your ESL Teaching Resume

The old adage, keep it simple, applies here. Online ESL companies typically want to see three basic points: your education, your TESOL certification, and your previous ESL teaching experience. Therefore, be sure to include these key elements at the forefront of your resume where they can be easily seen. You can even highlight them in a brief introductory paragraph.

Then, within the body of your resume, be sure to include action-oriented relevant details as bullet points. Finally, keep your font and your visual presentation simple. Arial, Calibri, and Georgia are some pretty standard fonts you can use for your ESL teaching resume. Also use simple headings with a touch of bold type, not too many italicized words, and not too much all-cap text.

Read: Preparing for an Online ESL Teaching Interview


Most companies require a minimum four-year degree for their teachers. It seems to be an industry-standard these days. Degrees in English and education carry a lot of weight in the business. However, degrees in English literature, journalism, marketing, and mass communication can be useful for fairly obvious reasons that relate to the subject of communicating—the purpose of language.

But don’t think without one of those degrees you’re excluded. Not at all. Even applicants with nursing degrees, for example, can be excellent ESL teachers. Why? Because any degree demonstrates a level of academic success that requires writing and presentation skills. So, whatever your degree, just be sure to highlight the value of it to the ESL industry. For example, if you have a degree in nursing, highlight how you are able to communicate with patience and empathy.

If you’re like me and you thoroughly enjoy learning new things and have more degrees than a thermometer, don’t feel the need to put them all on your resume. Keep your resume focused. Non-relevant degrees or educational attainments can be left out. This gives HR personnel an opportunity to see your qualifications without distractions. So order your educational attainments accordingly.

TESOL Training

Degrees alone are not the end-all-be-all of getting an online English teaching job. If you want to work with a big company or even become a private tutor, employers want to know that you have the skills for the job.

Sadly, the years prior to this standard were riddled with unqualified and poorly trained teachers. These teachers would take positions around the world and or online, and wreak havoc. They had little if any real understanding about how language is learned, how to teach grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, or how to manage speaking, listening, reading, and or writing classes.

The result was an industry beset with disappointed student-customers and disillusioned academies, schools, and company personnel. They finally realized it was time to look for something more from a teacher than just a degree.

Hence, a top international organization like OnTESOL will provide you with the training you need to succeed in the ESL career field. It will show that you completed an accredited course and that you have the lesson planning skills to become an invaluable asset for any ESL company. So, display any relevant TESOL training you can on your resume.

Recommended: Save CA $200 / US$150 on your TESOL certification when you add the 20-hour Teaching English Online specialist to your OnTESOL course.

Teaching and Volunteer Experience

Being a rookie in this business is not a bad thing and many online ESL companies accept teachers without any previous experience. Part of the reason is that they simply conduct student-customer-specific training within the company. Not having previous teaching doesn’t need to be a problem.

However, you should try to show any kind of teaching experience you might have in your backgrounds such as teaching Sunday school classes, teaching as a part-time daycare worker, or even helping out at the local YMCA or Boys/Girls Scouts. Anything that shows some experience interacting with and helping people is a plus. So, don’t be shy about or neglect your volunteer experience.

TESOL Specialization Matters

ESL companies will cater to various special interest clients such as accountants, aviation industry workers, computer technicians, legal clients, HR professionals, entrepreneurs, business professionals, and the like. These are specialized clients with their own jargon and needs, and consequently, teachers familiar with them.

It’s not uncommon for schools to teach these subjects in English, so they need a teacher who can do that too. As such, they require teachers with backgrounds in these fields. Many TESOL certification institutes like OnTESOL include specialist courses on teaching Business English and Teaching English to young learners. These specialist courses will teach you how to apply the TESOL methods used in general English classes to ESL lesson plans for specific purposes.

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