Are you ready for recruitment?

Are you looking for a new teaching job for next September? That may sound like a long way off, but the recruitment season for many international schools is only weeks away, writes Andrew Wigford.

No longer can you leave your recruitment preparation and job-hunting until the Christmas holiday (or even until Easter, as so many teachers currently working in their home country tend to do). If you do, you’ll have missed most of the jobs; certainly most of the best opportunities. Many international schools are starting to advertise vacancies for their 2017-2018 academic year now. Some schools begin their interviewing before Christmas, most plan their interview season between January and March, and some continue this process throughout the year.

So, if you want a chance of applying to the widest selection of schools, and to be considered for the best possible job opportunities, then you need to be preparing now.

More opportunities, more competition

career-1019755_960_720The number of international schools around the world continues to grow and each year, teachers have a greater selection of schools and international teaching jobs to choose from. According to The International School Consultancy there are now international schools teaching in the language of English in over 2,000 cities of the world.

Some cities, such as Dubai, Madrid and Abu Dhabi have well over 100 schools. Dubai currently has 276 international schools!

However, also growing are the number of teachers wanting to work in international schools; who are realising the career and the lifestyle opportunities that are available to them at international schools. So, recruitment does remain as competitive as ever.

Prepare properly

2304874364_cd78bd8073Many teachers start their job hunting in the wrong place, by scrolling through vacancies. There are several steps you should take before you get to this point.

Now is the time to review your CV or résumé. Here are a few tips to think about:

  • Make sure your CV is up-to-date, and that it highlights the skills that international schools will be looking for. Remember, your CV is often the first impression a recruiter will get of you, so it is crucially important.
  • Most recruiters spend less than 20 seconds reviewing a CV so make sure yours is well written and easy to read, clear, concise and stands out. Aim to keep your CV to two pages in length, three if absolutely necessary.
  • Fully describe all teaching levels, subjects, curricula, qualifications, etc. to ensure that all your details are clearly understood by international recruiters who may not be familiar with your home country norms. Don’t use acronyms that might not be understood (explain them in full initially).
  • If this will be your first experience of working internationally, reference two or three personal skills that you have that reflect your international mindedness and ability to cope with an international employment.
  • Compile a portfolio of your work to share (both electronic and, if necessary, hard copy).

Most recruiters spend less than 20 seconds reviewing a CV so make sure yours is well written and easy to read, clear, concise and stands out. Aim to keep your CV to two pages in length, three if absolutely necessary.

This preparation should be in place before you apply to any job vacancies. Then spend some time thinking and planning before jumping in to the job hunting.

Do your research

16762770039_dd89ba401a_bAs well as preparing your CV, you also need to research potential destinations and recruitment agencies now. You should be making decisions on these as early as possible, preferably before the New Year to maximise your opportunities.

Don’t limit your job hunting to one specific location only as that will restrict your options. Think about regions of the world that you would be willing to consider, or alternatively, work from a process of elimination; identify where you do not want to work and be open-minded to everywhere else.

Don’t just limit yourself to international schools following the curriculum that you know. If you have the skills, experience and right personal qualities, and are a native level English language speaker, then as a competent teacher you will be valued by all types of international school.

Register with an agency

Now, too, is the time to research and register with a recruitment agency (or agencies) that will be able to support you. Look for an agency that will give you free expertise, support and representation. Most reputable recruitment agencies do not charge teachers. Instead, the school will pay a finder’s fee to the agency if the right match is made and the placement is successful. Make sure the agency specialises within the international schools market; this is a unique sector of education and so the agency needs to have people who are fully informed of the requirements for international employment contracts, visa applications, international safeguarding requirements, and expatriate benefits, as well as knowing the schools.

Don’t just limit yourself to international schools following the curriculum that you know. If you have the skills, experience and right personal qualities, and are a native level English language speaker, then as a competent teacher you will be valued by all types of international school.

Make sure your recruitment manager is representing your best interests. If they take the time to get to know you, recommend schools that match your preferences and needs, and give you valuable and practical advice, then you know you are being considered as an individual, not just one of many teachers in a generic pool of candidates.

Also, take some time to prepare a wish list of your preferred locations, your hopes for your job, your personal lifestyle requirements, and any specific needs you may have, such as family who will be relocating with you, accessibility to your home country, etc. This will be very important to you and your recruitment manager to ensure your selection remains focused to your needs.

Be proactive

Don’t be a passive candidate throughout your job-hunting. Even if you do register with a recruitment agency, make sure you scan the job vacancies and identify posts that look right for you. Find out as much as you can about a school that interests you, and let your recruitment manager know of your interest in a particular job, or make sure you’re one of the first to apply if it’s independently advertised.  Show how much you want a job.

Also, think wisely. Make sure the schools you select match your wish list in terms of location, quality of school, and meeting your lifestyle needs – and that you match, or come close to matching, the requirements of the specific position.

Eamonn_MullalyEamonn Mullally is the Headteacher of Edron Academy a British international school in Mexico City. “Teachers do need to do their research carefully about which international schools to apply to,” he says. “As with any industry, there are very good international schools and there are some that are perhaps not so good.

British teachers, for example, might want to look out for schools that meet Council of British International Schools  (COBIS) or British Schools Overseas  (BSO) standards. Look for schools that use reputable recruitment agencies; who know the international schools and what’s out there. Look very carefully at a school website, and social media, to get a flavour of the school.”

Be prepared to show your qualities

When it comes to schools selecting their candidates, don’t think it’s all about qualifications and experience.  Many schools look for personalities and attitudes that prepare teachers well for the international school environment. Try and reflect these qualities in your personal statement, your introductory letter and in the way you communicate through all stages of the recruitment process.

ken_page_162_222_90_all_4_ffffff“The single biggest quality we look for is flexibility,” says Ken Page, Headmaster of the British Embassy School Ankara in Turkey. “We want a teacher who is going to be flexible enough to adapt to living in a different environment; who is willing to muck in and doesn’t mind having a go at things, whether or not it’s their area of expertise.

They also have to get on with other people and be prepared to be part of the community. We’re looking for teachers who will adapt to the school, participate in extra-curricular activities, join in with the wider school community, and go out and make the best of the opportunities that are available here.”

 

“The single biggest quality we look for is flexibility,” says Ken Page, Headmaster of the British Embassy School Ankara in Turkey. “We want a teacher who is going to be flexible enough to adapt to living in a different environment; who is willing to muck in and doesn’t mind having a go at things, whether or not it’s their area of expertise.

You’re not abandoning your home country

Some people think that moving overseas to teach is letting down their home country. But the reality is that the vast majority of teachers return to their home country, typically within four to six years, far more skilled than when they left, and reinvigorated with new experiences, global stories and knowledge to bring into the classroom. Today, most state schools value this, and some state schools actively seek out teachers with international experience.

dr_moore_tbs_610_407_90_all_4_ffffff_s_c1_center_top_0_offset“We think we do a good job training teachers to go back as better teachers,” says the British School of Kathmandu’s Principal, Dr. John Moore. “Most of us here have roots in the UK, and we’ll go back [to Britain] with a much broader perspective, a greater resilience, fully committed to a career in the teaching profession.”

For more advice about preparing well for international recruitment, you might want to follow TIC’s Blog which regularly shares practical tips for recruitment preparation and job hunting, or you could join experts to find out more at TIC’s International Careers Day in London on 26th November.

 

imagesAndrew Wigford spent 16 years teaching and leading in international schools before launching TIC Recruitment which has been providing specialist recruitment support for teachers and leaders for international schools for over 10 years. For more information about teaching jobs abroad visit www.ticrecruitment.com

You may also like