Does TESOL look good on a resume?

Whatever your long-term career plans, adding a TESOL qualification and some teaching experience to your CV/resume can bring a range of different benefits. If your teaching experience also includes some time spent living and working overseas, then you will add even further weight to your resume, regardless of the type of jobs you are applying for. These days it seems like every vacant job has a large number of applicants and every one of those applying can boast a degree or other high-end qualifications. In this tough work environment, having overseas classroom experience can often be the difference between getting that all important interview and being put to the bottom of the pile of applications. So what are the major benefits that teaching English abroad adds to your CV/resume?

International Work Experience

One of the most obvious benefits of adding a teaching adventure to your resume is what it says to future employers about who you are as a person. Heading abroad to live and work clearly demonstrates you are keen to try new things and are not afraid of looking outside of your usual comfort zone. It can also show you have an interest in different cultures and the willingness to explore environments that are far removed from what you have known in the past. These benefits not only look good on an resume, they also offer very positive steps forward in your own personal growth and development.

Communication Skills

Possessing a high level of communication skills is one of the most sought after traits in almost any type of job you can think of. Having spent time living and working overseas you will clearly show potential employers that you have this prized skill in abundance. In everyday life you will have had to engage with people from different cultures, often in a language that is not native to you. Being able to thrive over a significant period of time in this type of environment gives a very clear indication that your communication skills are not only very good, but actually somewhat above average.


Versatility is another personal attribute that is highly prized by employers in all walks of life. To be a successful ESL teacher you will have had to learn a great deal of specific knowledge and then further develop your skills while working in the classroom. This kind of dedication always looks appealing to potential employers. Being able to work comfortably alongside people from other cultures, with other native languages, is certainly a clear demonstration of versatility. As is your experience of living and working in new and unfamiliar environments, which is sure to have included dealing with a few unexpected challenges along the way.

Leadership and Public Speaking

Working as a teacher in any type of classroom requires some level of leadership skills, which is yet another trait that employers often look out for. Spending every working day in front of a class of strangers, many with little understanding of English, shows you have a strong character and great determination. Teachers also spend a lot of time speaking in front of large groups, many of whom would rather be somewhere else. All of these personal qualities are easily transferable to many other jobs and having dealt with any fears of public speaking, you will be well placed when interviewing for any position you like the look of.

Creativity and Problem Solving

Teachers spend many hours developing new ideas and activities for effectively getting their latest teaching point across to their students. Putting together lengthy lesson plans containing a variety of activities is something that becomes second nature to most experienced teachers. This type of creativity is always something you should sell when applying for other jobs as it might well be one of the less common characteristics among the other candidates. Also, as any teacher will tell you, problem solving is something that you have to develop very quickly if you are to survive more than a single week in most teaching environments.

An Adventure to Talk About

As well as all the personal characteristics and specific skills already mentioned, as a teacher working in a foreign land you are sure to have experienced many interesting adventures that are worthy of passing on when the time is right. Often an interviewer will ask about your time abroad and you should have little trouble coming up with one or two interesting stories that show you in a good light. With such a wide array of knowledge, skills, and experiences to be gained from working as an English language teacher, it is quite clear that TESOL does look very good on a resume.

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