5 Steps to the Perfect ESL Teacher Resume

by Published

You may have been writing resumes since your early teens, but now it’s time to tackle your tailored resume for teaching English abroad. Compared to other jobs, showing your personality and passion for a teaching position on your ESL teacher resume is of extra importance. Just consider the possible language barrier of the employer who is evaluating it, combined with the competition of other English teachers coming from around the world. 

Make your experience a shining light in the haystack of your dream school’s inbox with a resume that both shows your #skillz and qualifications and the rich experiences and goals that will motivate you to be the best English teacher they could have ever expected! Read on to find our top tips, a few recommended ESL teaching jobs, and even a ESL teaching resume template—yes, we love you that much. 😍 😍 😍

blocks on a table spelling t-e-a-c-h.

Okay, you can spell. That’s step one. (But, you don’t need to highlight that in your ESL teacher skills resume section… that’s a given.) 

Before you write a teaching resume...

Give yourself plenty of time and space to work and re-work your relevant experiences into a prime representation of both your past experiences and future-facing passions as a future English teacher abroad. 

Have what you need to get started. Like any piece of writing, the process for drafting an ESL teacher resume should start with a healthy dose of reflection and brainstorming. Grab a pen or pencil or colorful writing utensil and paper or a fresh, blank word document and begin outlining all the experiences and qualifications that have lead you to this point on the precipice of your teaching English career. Other than your own information, also spend some quality time compiling an understanding of your future employer or program provider on their website to find out the key things they are looking for in a ESL teacher at their school. Then let your resume take shape as you match your skills to what they’re looking for a finely-tuned and well-crafted ESL teacher resume.

Establish your goals as an ESL teacher. Now, it’s time to zoom in on your role as an ESL teacher in the classroom. Take a few moments to imagine yourself there, in front of the class, and consider the impact you want to have on your students and the impact you want this experience to have on you. Go back to your brainstorm and try to structure your resume sales pitch in the frame of your goals both within and after the classroom. Expressing clear goals and motivation is key to showing your resume evaluator that you’re serious about their open position and that your commitment will shine through your entire placement to reap the benefits both during and after you fulfill all the responsibilities of the role.

With your list of all of your relevant teach abroad experience, position research, and goals lined up, let your enthusiasm guide your fingers to type out the muscle behind this sample resume for teaching English abroad skeleton:

How to write your teaching resume

Step 1. Start With a Summary. 

Kickoff your teaching English abroad resume with a concise explanation of your motivations and future plans pertaining to teaching or the particular position at hand. Summing it up for an employer is a great way to make a big impact in a short time frame and catch their attention to read on. Use strong and powerful language to communicate both what you will bring to this opportunity and why this opportunity is a perfect fit for your future career.

Step 2. Quantify Your Experience(s). 

While the smiles, laughter, and relationships are typically the highlight of an English teaching position, your resume for teaching abroad should include a large dose of data to back up your abilities as a teacher. For each past position you list—whether that be your teaching practicum, tutoring, or running your own classroom—be sure to detail the number of students, learner levels, classes, classroom hours, and student outcomes. In addition, the number of other teaching staff that you collaborated with and an elaboration on any other responsibilities is a great way to show that you are a team player, who will easily integrate into the school community.  

[Take some guesswork out of applying for ESL jobs—get matched with programs today!]

two women working on computer together 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help in putting together your resume for ESL teacher jobs. A second set of eyes always helps!

Step 3. Show Off Your Certifications. 

Your average education section for your resume is undoubtedly important for a resume for ESL teacher jobs abroad, yet be sure to highlight your certifications. Whether you’ve already spent hours online or in-person on your TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificate, it’s time to put that paper to work to elevate your teaching experience to a more qualified level.

Don’t forget to include the number of hours you spent in in-class instruction and the hours you were evaluated in front of the classroom during your teaching practice. Especially in countries where certifications are required for hiring, your ESL teacher resume should feature your certifications with a separate section, with prime real estate AKA near top of your resume.

Step 4. Address Targeted Skills. 

Although teaching is hardly a glamorized or recognized position for all the necessary hard work and effort, your teaching English abroad resume is the prime location for showing off what makes you an all-star in front of the class! Do you have a background in art or music? These skills are great for making your classes fun and interactive with students of different backgrounds. Do you speak another language fluently? If it’s not already the native language of the country, you could even end up speaking your foreign language as an additional foreign language course at the school or as an after-school club. 

One of these other skills or passions is also a great way to stand out to get hired at a specialized school, such as an arts conservatory or a bilingual school. Don’t be afraid to let your ESL teacher skills resume shine and lead you to a position that’s a perfect fit. 

Step 5. Expand and Engage in Your ESL Teacher Resume Cover Letter. 

Like any other competitive position, adding a cover letter to your application provides another, more free-form space for you to justify why you are the exact teacher they are looking for to complete their staff. While your resume for teaching abroad is a place to show your experiences and qualifications, your ESL teacher resume cover letter is the place to explain the kind of teacher you are and hope to become in the future.

This is the place to describe the tough work environments or transitions you’ve overcome, or the personal stories of working with students and colleagues to see progress. Your interviewer will already have tissues prepared for your Skype after about how you helped a student pass their language exam or get into university. Even if you haven’t taught in the past, use your cover letter to express what makes you a hardworking, creative, and compassionate teacher and how this particular position fits into your future plans. 

[Save and compare your top programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad]

ESL teaching resume template

Feeling a little stuck putting together your resume for teaching abroad jobs? We’ve got you covered! Below is a great ESL teaching resume sample that you can use for your applications. Once you have your ESL teacher resume all sparkly and new, those teaching jobs will come rolling in.

Open poetry book and notebooks

If you don’t have a background in teaching, that’s why you got a TEFL certification! Don’t forget about that! 

Here’s your ESL teacher resume sample, feel free to copy and paste (just remember to update everything with your name and info!).

Teacher-Ann Teacherson

Teachertown, California | +1.234.543.6789 | teacher.ann@gmail.com

Professional Summary/Objective/Goals
A driven recent graduate dedicated to inspiring students to pursue language learning as an ESL teacher abroad.

HINT: You want to target this to your job/school/country


Teachertown University 2016
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
GPA: 4.0 

TEFL Worldwide Prague 2016
Completed 120 hour TEFL Certification & teaching practicum

HINT: Don’t forget to include your certifications!

Work Experience 

ESL Tutor 2012 - 2016
Teachertown University Tutoring Center

  • Assisted international students at Teachertown University with their English language speaking and reading comprehension
  • Edited college papers and assignments and offered feedback on ways to improve their written English 
  • Established and hosted monthly conversation groups on campus for all students to participate in

Student Intern 2014 - 2016
Teachertown University Office of Admissions

  • Took students (international & domestic) and their parents on tours of campus
  • Processed application paperwork for incoming students
  • Administered on-campus TOEFL exams
  • In spare time, personally assisted international students with their applications via Skype–with 100% resulting in acceptance

HINT: (You can also add a section for “International Experience” and include any study abroad, volunteer abroad, or intern abroad experience.)


  • Native English speaker
  • Fluent in Spanish ← be sure to include any foreign language skills!!! 
  • (Add any additional certifications here)
  • Proficient in Google Drive/Microsoft Office (this could come in handy if you have the resources to use presentations for lessons!)

With this ESL instructor resume template, you’re going to rock ALL of your interviews and find yourself in front of a class in no time! 

[Do your homework: What to Look for in ESL Teaching Jobs]

Students sitting in large lecture hall taking notes

Any relevant coursework to teaching or language learning should be included on your ESL instructor resume.

A few teaching jobs abroad to start your search

It’s normal that your eyes might be glazing over on your ESL teacher resume and jumping ahead to your exciting teach abroad destination. Take a break from your resume and get re-inspired with some awesome teaching jobs to explore!  

premier tefl logo

1. Colombia with PremierTEFL

With PremierTEFL, you’ll get matched up and hooked up as an English teacher in Colombia at a government school. This program gives you the flexibility to teach young children, teenagers, or even adults depending on your interests and certifications. In addition to the rich and rewarding experience of teaching English abroad in la tierra del olvido and its rich biodiversity, PremierTEFL provides you with a stipend, domestic flight to your arranged placement, and health insurance.


teach away

2. Malaysia with Teach Away

Ready to dive in and make a big impact? Teach Away is looking for English language teachers and mentors to work with up to 75 teachers in rural areas in Malaysia to improve their teaching style and make an impact on hundreds of students. If you’re not afraid of a challenge and a longstanding commitment of 2.5 years, sign up with Teach Away for an in-depth experience that will stand out on your ESL teacher resume forever!


language link logo

3. Russia with Language Link

Get linked with one of the top language school networks in Russia for an unforgettable teaching experience in any one of the country’s renowned and cultured cities—from St. Petersburg to Ekaterinburg. ESL teachers with some experience can apply directly for a position, while those just starting out with a first resume for teaching abroad can try Language Link’s paid, on-the-job internship program


See all ESL jobs abroad

hands on piano keys

Even skills you might think are unrelated—like music—will really come in handy in the classroom. Be sure to highlight that! 

Proofread & apply 

Your ESL teacher resume is your opportunity for a fresh start to access any one of the thousand of English teach abroad openings around the world. Taking time to frame your goals is just a small speed bump on the runway to jet-setting high on a career path that will transform your plans as you transform others. Put your pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and before you know it you’ll be landing into your next big adventure. 

Find ESL jobs now!