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10 tips for tailoring your CV for international schools

You’ve taken the decision to fly the nest, now it’s time to land that dream job. That all starts with a perfectly crafted CV

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Applying for jobs at international schools might feel like a daunting process, especially if this is your first time. The school in question might be somewhere you’ve never been and the curriculum could be unfamiliar.

But this shouldn’t be a reason to worry. It’s time to dig deep and draw on any relevant experience you have.

Many international schools use the British curriculum, so there’s a good chance you’ll have lots of applicable and desirable skills.

What should my CV say about me?

Your CV should sell you as an outstanding candidate who is perfect for the role, students and school in question. You must include certain specific information that tells the headteacher or human resources manager to choose you as a potential teacher at their school.

This means studying the advert, job description and school’s website thoroughly before tailoring your CV for the role.

This information must be laid out clearly and concisely to make it easy for the headteacher/ HR manager to know who you are, what you have achieved so far, and why you are the best fit for the job and for the school.

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Top tips for an international CV

1. When you are applying for teaching jobs in the Middle East and Asia, it is expected to include a photograph at the top of your CV, so make sure it is a professional-looking one.

2. When including your contact details, add your email address and Skype ID, as that is how headteachers abroad will most likely contact you for an interview.

Your email address should be professional, as many job applications are ignored if the email address is playful or informal. Many candidates also include a link to their LinkedIn profile as well.

3. Highlight any experience you have had teaching students with English as a second language and/or from various cultural backgrounds, as this is a common scenario in international schools around the world.

4. Many international schools run extracurricular clubs. Use your CV to show off any hobbies or interests that might be suitable for students, such as photography.

5. Headteachers abroad also wish to see how well you will fit with colleagues already at their school, so consider how you can demonstrate on your CV your ability to collaborate successfully with others.

6. Research schools abroad very carefully by getting in touch with expat teachers at the international school or city in question on these Facebook groups: Empowering Expat TeachersInternational Single Teachers and International School Educators.

They may be able to tell you what the school you plan to apply to usually looks for in a candidate, as well as provide information on the school’s latest educational initiatives.

7. In a lot of cases, expat students attending international schools are ambitious, hard-working and eager to achieve high grades. Therefore, when applying to such schools, describe how you challenged and motivated this kind of higher-ability student in your previous roles.

In addition, provide factual evidence of your wonderful teaching and statistics related to student success, such as the percentage of your GCSE and A-level candidates that achieved expected or above their predicted grade in your subject.

8. Many international schools are Google-certified or Apple-certified schools, which means they do practically everything online, including submitting homework and communicating with students and parents.

To enhance your CV, it is recommended that you complete the Apple Teacher Program or Google for Education Certification (or both), which are low-cost or free professional learning programmes for teachers.

9. Parents of students that attend international schools can pay extremely high annual school fees and therefore may be much more involved in their children’s education than we may be used to in our home countries.

Your CV should provide evidence of how you effectively communicate with the parents of your students, how you form relationships with them and how you ensure they have a healthy involvement with their children’s education.

10. Study the school’s job advert and description carefully and have a good look at its website. Tailor your CV as much as you can by using the keywords and language the school has used, and make sure you talk up those skills that best match its requirements.

For more information about writing and structuring your CV check out our guide to writing a must-read CV.

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