Let’s Talk TEFL Branding and Promotion

By John V Asia Teacher

Branding

To simplify, let’s turn this into an analogy. Imagine a TEFL supermarket with shelves full of teachers and recruiters/employers walking down the aisles. What about that one, the one on the bottom shelf, the no-name brand one simply labelled ‘TEFL teacher.’ Basic, but is it any good? Or how about that one three shelves up? It’s a brand name product, nicely packaged with lots of content information. For the same price, you know it’s going to be good. Yet as we TEFL teachers look down from our shelves our eyes are drawn to the checkout. Placed at eye level and specifically designed for its customer base are rows of brightly coloured products and they’re selling like hot cakes. The TEFL confectionary shelf next to the checkout is where we want to be.

I don’t know who you are because you’re the no-name product, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that neither does your future employer/recruiter. All you’ve got is your resume among all the others hoping it will stand out. Fingers crossed that someone will find you?

So here’s a question: Who is Roger Eaton? No idea? I admit I hadn’t either until I Googled it. Roger Eaton is a CEO and his product brand name of ‘finger lickin’ good’ tells you who he’s the CEO of. ‘Things go better with coke’ or ‘I’m lovin’ it?’ Such are the power and internalization of these marketing brands that you’ll remember the phrases and link them to the product for the rest of your life.

Not that we mortals will ever reach such dizzying heights, but you get the message? Christine Rounds from Waynesville in Ohio means nothing. Off the top of my head how about: ‘Quality education by Chrissie Rounds’, linking the name with value and occupation. If you’re stuck try Googling ‘Brand names generator’ for ideas.

Ideally you’re looking to turn your name into a slogan – John V Asia Teacher. My Internet name, my preferred location and what I do. Followed by an assortment of sound bites, such as: ‘University educated, internationally experienced, professionally competent’, or ‘Delivering quality education, providing opportunities.’ These are not off the cuff sound bites, but designed using a free subliminal marketing generator (EMV). The former phrase scores 150% intellectually and the latter a huge 120% triple score based on intellect, empathy and spiritual (deeper level) emotions. In other words, the sound bites appeal emotionally to the audience as a product, which is what we’re trying to sell ourselves as.

Promotion

Having updated your resume and branded yourself, which is what you will use from now on in resumes, emails, letterheads … It’s time to ditch the fear and paranoia of someone finding out who you are and make yourself known.

If a resume is your business card and your product brand/name is your sales pitch; start to promote yourself and get noticed. The most obvious way to so this is by online publishing on authoritative sites and those TEFL recruiters target. You can easily find a site’s authority by using the free ahrefs tool.

The two types of authority are high value search engine links back to your resume and the promotional authority of educational websites that publicize your written knowledge under your brand name.

My current favourites are: Academia.edu (91), LinkedIn (98), You Tube (98) and Pinterest (92). These sites carry huge authority and a link back to your resume will do wonders for search engine promotion. Sites that recruiters specifically target include: LinkedIn, serious seriousteachers.comajarn.com and TEFL.net. Facebook and twitter are a waste of time.

Your objective is to write short essays under your brand name on any aspect of education. Get some photos of your university and put them on Pinterest and all of course with a link back to your resume. Both readers and recruiters will eventually begin to notice and you will build a reputation. It’s a laborious and time consuming process, but it works. The easy alternative is to go with the herd, send in your resume to individual recruiters/schools and sit back and wait and wait and wait …

In an increasingly competitive world you have to go the extra mile to stand out. It’s no longer enough to sit back and hope you’ll be discovered among the millions of hopefuls all looking for the same thing. The recruiters are out there looking for you, as are search engines, but it’s up to you to provide them with what they want and not be the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Written by John V Asia Teacher for TEFL.net February 2021
John V Asia Teacher (Forum John V55) is a British semi-retired English & Social Science teacher with an interest in education and political science.

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