tefl job interview in 8 steps

How to Get a Job Teaching English in Cambodia

Teaching English in Cambodia

Eight steps to getting that first interview for a job teaching English in Cambodia.

"This video is about how to get a job teaching English in Cambodia. It includes eight steps to getting your first English teaching job interview. Teaching in Cambodia is one of the most rewarding ways to earn money. This video tells you what steps to take to get your first interview. It tells you how to find the right school to teach at, how to apply for a job and how to prepare for the interview. You can start some of the preparation in your home country but most of it will have to wait until you are in Cambodia.

From your home country. 

1. Decide where you want to live and teach by checking out each town and city by having a holiday and visiting.

2. Go back home to sort your stuff out. Also, research the schools and universities in the town you have chosen. Look on the school's website for job opportunities and contact details.

When you are in Cambodia.

3. Get here. get a house, phone, computer. get all that you need to live every day before applying for any jobs. Network. Hang out with other ex-pats and make friends. Chat to them about schools or other places. Try to build local knowledge.

4. Prepare your CV for schools. Include all experience that is relevant to teaching or training. If you don't have anything to put on your CV then try to get some experience. It can even be online work. Make sure your CV has your Cambodia address and phone number. It needs a passport photo attached. Make the CV one or maximum two pages. Use a covering letter addressed to the correct person.

5. Look professional and well turned out. Haircut, shave and cover tattoos with shirt sleeves. Look sharp! Dress like a teacher. Find some office trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and a tie. Teaching jobs in Cambodia are not a casual affair and you will be working amongst professionals. You too must look like a professional.

6. Plan your route and get a taxi or tuk-tuk. Turn up fresh and smart. plan your route to be efficient when going round dropping CVs off.

7. Giving your CV to the right person is important. Try to meet the person who will be recruiting by looking for the correct contact on the school website.

8. Wait. It could be as little as four hours or as long as two weeks! Be prepared for both. If you get no response, then try other schools, repeat visit the original ten schools and also consider teaching online to build experience and wait for a classroom job.

Why the interview is the most important part of getting a job teaching English in Cambodia.

The job interview is the most critical stage in getting a teaching job. If you screw up the interview then all your previous hard work is wasted. It is also unlikely that the school will offer you another chance in the future. Job interview preparation is essential. Going to the interview prepared shows you are serious about the job and gives you added confidence during the interview. You are much more likely to be successful if you have prepared properly."

2019 update

Not much has changed really. The first interview is that hardest one to get. Once you have one job interview invitation, you know you are on the way to having a decent CV and the correct approach. The steps outlined in the video are still crucial to follow if you want to be efficient in finding a job. Teaching in Cambodia is still a superb way to interact with culture and society. It is still immensely enjoyable and can earn you some decent money.

Taking the first job...

Once you have some actual classroom experience on your CV it is much easier to find or change jobs. Getting the first opportunity is often the hard bit. You know sometimes that the first job you take is not going to be a long term thing. Taking a gap filler job can be a sensible thing to do. At least you have some money coming in and the pressure is reduced on you finding a money earner. This gives you the time and space to find the job you want. It also gives you the valuable experience you need on your CV to land that better job when it comes up.

Your teaching experience.

If you have no previous experience of teaching then be creative with your previous work history. There must have been times in your life when you have had to train someone to do something. List all of this experience and give examples of how you trained your students. You are not going to have any experience of teaching English in Cambodia. So you must compensate and show other related skills and experience.

Teaching English Jobs Online

Another way of gaining experience is to register for teaching online. Italki is a great place to start. You can register easily as a community tutor. Community tutors help student practice language by simply chatting with them. I have several customers on Italki who do this and they are often the most interesting lessons. The subjects discuss can change wildly in seconds and all I do is type the occasional correction into the message system as needed. You chat via Skype, so no extra gear is needed. Register for Italki and you are going to get experience in teaching English.

Other skills

Also, list all your other talents such as sports or music. Show you are creative if you are into any arts and crafts. All of these skills will be useful as a teacher. Employers recognise this so don't leave them off the CV. I know one dude who is now a full-time swimming coach because he listed "swimming" as a hobby on his CV for an English teachers job. Add in all of your other passions - anything green or environmentalist is going to certainly help.

Classroom Management

My other advice is to read up and study some classroom management techniques. Find more videos on YouTube like this one and this oneYou will likely be asked about your classroom management techniques during the interview. It is essential you know a few techniques. Its also something they don't teach you in a TEFL course.

Watch the video for more great advice.

Teaching jobs in Cambodia Resources

Below are valuable resources that we have developed to help you on your journey.

TEFL Course

You are going to need a TEFL course. You do not need a CELTA straight away. CELTA costs a lot of money and is a big capital investment. You may decide after day three in the classroom that teaching isn't for you. You may find after a year of teaching that you really enjoy it and want to apply for better-paid jobs that require a CELTA. That is the right time to do one. 

Buy a TEFL course from a reputable course provider. I found www.TEFL.org to be excellent. Tanya then went and completed one by i-to-i and I think it is better value for money. You also get better support and bigger discounts on things and better leads to jobs.

Getting to your destination

You will need a flight to your destination. We have always found Skyscanner give us the best deals on flights. Once in the county, travel between places is best done by internal flight or by bus. You can also travel by private car/taxi. For shorter journeys around town, you can hail a passing taxi or tuk-tuk.

Where to Stay and long term accommodation

When you first get into town you will want to find a guesthouse or hotel for the first few weeks. We usually use Booking.com or AirBnB


We thoroughly recommend you take our travel insurance whenever you travel. We recently had to put in a claim for over $5000 when we had to cancel our flights and other bookings and quickly fly back to the UK due to a family emergency. The claim went through very quickly and we managed to recover most of our expenses. Without travel insurance, we would have lost the lot!

Further Information

You can find out more about teaching English on Tanya's travel blog at Can Travel, Will Travel.

There are lots of other videos about teaching on the Going Nomad 123 YouTube channel. Check out this playlist.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. We receive a small commission if you purchase through a link, but this will not increase the amount you pay. Read my full Affiliate Link Disclosure here

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