How to stand out from the crowd as a TEFL teacher

Are you ready to get more high-quality TEFL classes and start building a name for yourself? Most TEFL teachers want to know the best ways to increase their timetable and make it more efficient but just don’t know how.

TtMadrid’s owner, Natasha Mason, has a few words for all those teachers looking to get ahead of the competition:

“If you were working in any other sector, the first thing you would do it establish a brand and get stuck into marketing. Why should teaching English be any different? While the TEFL teaching market is competitive, teachers tend to be very low-key about marketing themselves and creating a professional reputation.

“TEFL teaching is no different to any other professions, it’s advantageous to sell yourself to make sure you stand out as a professional and a committed TEFL teacher. This will help you increase your hourly rate and find good quality clients.”

Here are some basics to get yourself noticed:

Business Cards

Hardly any teachers have business cards, which is surprising as they are cheap and professional and show you mean business. If you meet a potential client, how do you give them your contact details? Business cards are a small investment that make a great impression.

*Pro Tip*

Local shops often have deals or you can check out online printers like moo.com, vistaprint.es or eldemoniorojo. Remember to keep your cards simple and add only the relevant information. What’s the most important information? Name, logo, phone number, and e-mail address. Keep it short and catchy!

Flyers

Flyers are useful because you can put them up in local businesses, announcement boards or in your neighbors’ mail boxes. There’s nothing like teaching the last class of the day in your area!  Remember that nobody looks at flyers for more than about 15 seconds, so keep it brief. Organize the information (bullet points, text boxes, etc.) and come up with a great, catchy headline. When your customer reads the flyer they should have an idea of what you do. List the benefits, proofread several times and include a call to action (like “Call Andrew on +34…)

Let them know if you have any special discounts, for example, 10% discount for paying for the full month in advance. Last, but not least, get a testimonial from an existing client to seal the deal. Saxoprint.es and demoniorojo.es are just two of the many printers on the market that you can use to get some seriously professional flyers.

Website/blog

Having your own website or blog is now accessible to everyone whether you use WordPress, Blogger or Squarespace. It is a great way to attract clients and to look professional.  You can buy cheap domains from godaddy.com or have a free WordPress blog.

If you go for a blog, choose a theme!

Focusing on an overall theme will help you stay organized on what to post and drive more traffic to your blog by getting people that are  legitimately interested in learning more about your experience. Once you have a focused blog theme, you can create new topics/tags to direct them to other posts.

Make sure you update it regularly! 

Strive for posting on a weekly basis if not more often. You want to keep people interested and in order to do that you have to keep feeding them new material.  Many bloggers even post daily. There are many ways to generate valuable and varied post content such as Interview posts (interview students, other teachers, etc), photo journal posts, anecdotes, reviews, etc. You can also use it as a homework tool for students.  They can post answers and questions which in turn drives more traffic to your site.

The little details count

Last, but not least… whenever applying for a job or uploading information about yourself, make sure that you check, and recheck, every single detail. Write down your relevant work experience, contact information, and add a photo. Spelling errors give a bad impression so it’s a good idea to have a friend read over your CV and/or Linkedin profile.

If you have had teaching experience, then make sure there are plenty of details about what you did. Did you teach groups or one-to-one classes? Do you have experience with  business English, general English or children? Can you teach exam prep?

The more information you give, the easier it is for the employer to match you to their TEFL job offers. Separate TEFL or other teaching experience from other work/business experience. This makes sure the most relevant experience  is highlighted, i,e, teaching. It’s not a good idea to include things in your personal interests that make you look as if you are likely to leave tomorrow, for example, I like to travel and live in other countries and experience new cultures (AKA I might leave tomorrow to go and live somewhere else!).

If you need to brush up on your personal branding, TtMadrid is offering a special ongoing professional development course on 30 January 2016. “Getting Yourself Seen” is a three-hour training course hosted by business consultant Graeme Beaty.

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