Paul Mc Allister-Owner of Workaway Recruitment

7th December 2017

Recruiters and hiring managers look at 100s of CVs every week. It becomes apparent what a strong CV is and what is not. Hopefully, this article will give you some insight and make sure your CV gets into that “Strong CV” category and not the recycling bin.



The international education industry is competitive; especially for the really good teaching jobs in top international schools and language centres. Your CV may be your only opportunity to land your dream job in your ideal school. It’s important to get it right! It’s also a chance to set a foundation to sell yourself to your ideal future employer.


However, it’s important to be aware that a CV works both ways. It can also destroy your chance of getting that teaching job you would be perfect for.


So, let’s go through these pointers that will make sure your CV is giving you every opportunity to get to that sought after interview.


DO – Keep your job title simple. Try not to oversell your job title in order to stand out. If you are a Geography teacher for Grade 11 – use the title “Geography Teacher for Grade 11”. You are not an “Information transference specialist for young intellectuals of the modern world”. Using a unique job title will limit the chances of your CV showing up in a database search. An oversold job title can also damage the credibility for the rest of your CV’s content. Keep it simple!


DO – Proofread. Get a friend or family member to read through your CV…..Then Proofread it again! As a recruiter, there is nothing worse than a CV full of typos.

“I pride myself on my attention to detal”


Typos and basic errors can seriously hinder your chances of getting to the next stage of the recruitment process. Sometimes it can automatically disqualify you from the competition. Take your time and make sure there are no basic errors.


DON’T – Try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to CV layout and design. Again, it’s about keeping it simple. On occasion I see strange posts on LinkedIn like “Now that’s a CV” – It has pie charts, info graphs, different colour fonts, and a picture of the sun setting…Ludicrous stuff!! This is not an example of a good CV. Recruiters and employers are not testing you on your ability to design a Microsoft word document. They want to see if you have the professional experience or potential to perform the skills of the specified job. And because they look at many CVs a day, they want to see it in a straightforward way.


DO – Make sure the CV document can be opened. It’s frustrating for a recruiter when a CV lands in your inbox, you try and open it and: “Cannot open document. There is an error with its content”. Recruiters and HR managers are human too and sometimes won’t even bother to tell the candidate the file can’t be opened. They sometimes just delete the email. Save your document in the latest version of Microsoft word or a PDF. Personally, as a recruiter, I prefer a word document.


DO – Sell your achievements.  Most HR managers and recruiters have a fair idea of what responsibilities you have in your job. While it’s important to list your basic job responsibilities; to get into the top group you need to sell your accomplishments. This is one you really need to think hard about. What did you do in your job that was impressive? How did you go the extra mile for your school? It may be the difference between getting brought to interview or nearly getting a call.


DO – Remain professional on your CV at all times. Your CV is a professional document so keep it professional. Don’t crack jokes.


Interests: Getting drunk!!


DO – Include a professional headshot photo. This is a topic that is debatable among staff in the recruitment industry. It’s not necessary for every industry. However, in International education, it’s important. Our clients always look for a photo!

An important note, however, the photo you attach to your CV should not be a selfie! And it’s not a picture of you just after you listened to the saddest song on your iTunes playlist.

Passport size, Smile, Enthusiastic! This is vital, believe me.


DO – List your jobs in chronological order i.e. start with the most recent positions listed first. And also keep it relevant. HR and recruitment managers do not want to see that when you were 10 years old, you went door to door washing cars for pocket money. Keep it to 3 maybe 4 positions max. Your CV should be progressive and have a nice flow.


So to sum up here’s the checklist:

  • Job titles are simple

  • Proofread and no basic typing errors.

  • Simple design and layout.

  • The latest version of Microsoft word or PDF.

  • Achievements included and not just responsibilities.

  • Professional at all times.

  • A professional headshot photo included.

  • Jobs listed in Chronological order.


If you are unsure about your teaching CV, send it to [email protected]. We are more than happy to give you the pointers to make sure you are getting to the next stage of the interview process.