Transferable Skills for ESL Teachers
"The ideal scenario is one where you find a career that combines what you love to do with what you’re great at doing." Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
In today's world, many people change jobs and careers several times throughout their lives. The key to a successful career change is harvesting your transferable skills. Transferable skills are those that you acquire on the job and in your everyday life that are useful in a variety of work environments.
Exits and Entrances
Whether you are an ESL teacher who is burned out or bored of the classroom, or a stay-at-home mom who is itching to enter the ESL teaching field, chances are you have acquired numerous transferable skills that will help you make a career change.
Making Your Exit: If you are currently a teacher, you are likely familiar with the idea of transferable skills. In addition to being a learning facilitator, one of the main roles of a teacher is to motivate students to take their acquired skills out into the real world. Teachers often feel a sense of loyalty towards their profession and their students, and find it difficult to change careers. However, if you know that your heart is no longer in your job, you owe it to yourself and your students to move forward in life. While career change is often a difficult time in life, teachers have an advantage. Many of the skills you use each day are transferable skills required in a variety of workplaces. From teaching to planning, lecturing to counselling, and participation in extracurricular activities, teachers are what some call the Jack or Jill of all trades.
Before you build your resume and cover letter, make sure that you aren't going after a new career for the wrong reasons. Choosing a career because other people think you are suited to it is not always the best idea. While you can always change careers again down the road, it takes a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money, to make the transition. Take the time to answer some important questions:
Making Your Entrance: If you are a person who is hoping to become an ESL teacher, this page may give you a few ideas about how to demonstrate to a potential employer that your skills are relevant for the teaching profession. Before you build your resume and cover letter, consider the reasons why you are suited to a career in teaching. Have you developed communication and organizational skills in your work as a daycare provider or homemaker? What about in your job as a bank teller or bartender? Ask yourself a few important questions. If you don't know the answers, consult friends or online forums to find people who can provide some insight.
Identifying Transferable Skills and Abilities
Once you have decided the line of work you are interested in, take some time to note all of the skills that you will require on the job. If you aren't sure what skills are needed, try dissecting ads for these positions on Internet job sites such as TEFL.net's Job Index. List all of the skills you find and consider each individually. Highlight the skills and abilities you believe you have acquired through your work and life experience, taking note of how you developed each one.
Transferable skills can be divided into various groupings. Before writing your resume, choose three or four that you think are most important to the job you are applying for. Then chart out your own transferable skills, by using the headings you've chosen.
Example Key Skill Areas: