It’s said that there is no second chance to make a first impression. Your CV might be your first and only one chance. Let’s take a look at your CV or resume.
Add 1: What language should it be written? The language of the country where the school is based or in English?
The administrative staff of a language school is mostly made up by local people, but the D.O.S. and the HR manager are more likely native English-speakers. They might not even speak the local language at a high level. So, it is more opportune that they receive your application in English.
It doesn’t change the fact that if you know the local language, it will enable you to understand your students (potential) problems with English, which is a real resource.
However, showing off your language knowledge might also give the wrong impression: lots of schools apply the policy of ‘no-L1 in classroom’, which means that teachers are not allowed to change into students’ mother tongue during lesson. So it seems that teachers who don’t speak the local language might be the most advantageous for the school’s image.
Add 2: What format should it be?
There are three major formats of CV: the American resume, the British CV and the European (Europass) CV. All of them are well presented only and you can even use online engines to create your CV without any particular word processor skills.
The only thing you need to consider is what the school asks for. Some of them want to receive American resumes, which is brief, concise and give lots of open questions for the job interview. In the UK or at British schools, you might want to present your British CV, if the school doesn’t specify another format. In Italy, for instance, teachers need to send their CV in European format, because this is accepted by the government when applying for European funds.
Nota bene: if a school asks for a specific format and you send another one, they might not consider it. Recruiters need to browse for key points in the CV, so a specific format spare lots of time for them. Using the given format, does not reduce your individualism, what’s more, it makes even easier to find your real strengths by using a clear structure.
Add 3: How long is it supposed to be?
Not long at all. I think all HR staff member would agree on this. A longer CV doesn’t give the impression of a more experienced colleague. On the contrary, it makes the reader think that the candidate is not able to prioritize or has nothing relevant to say and wants to hide their lack of experience with irrelevant life events. Even if you have thought at a long list of schools, choose the most relevant ones to catch the D.O.S.’ attention.
Add 4: Shall I decorate it?
There is a huge difference between an application for an artistic job and a teaching job. The former one must be creative in its layout, the second needs to show your qualification and experience. Teachers are very creative people and they might become little artists at the whiteboard. However, your teaching CV should give details on how concentrated and analytical you are, the same skills you need when you grade a test or give feedback on students’ performance.
So keep it short and simple.
Add 5: Am I supposed to attach a photo?
Real beauty comes from inside, so photos should not be of importance. Yet, if you have a foreigner name, it might even help to understand if you are male or female, which helps in correspondence. In addition, well-chosen pictures might give the necessary good first impression and make the recruiter to answer to your application right away.
The secret is in selecting the photo well. It should not be one page (the first page of your CV), it give the feeling that you are full of yourself. It should be up-to-date, not a passport photo (excellent professional looking photos can be taken even with a mobile phone: at the desk with your PC or in front of a bookcase or the whiteboard, etc.). Forget your party pictures and be properly dressed on the photo. If you don’t have any pictures of this kind, leave it.