Adam Benson

EF is more than a stable job in China with a regular income. Ok, so that's a good selling point but there are also many career advancement paths available to those who are prepared to make long-term commitments. If you would like to climb the company ladder but aren't sure how to go about it, the following tips may be useful.

Get a head start

The road to promotion and career advancement actually starts before you leave home – even before you pack clean underwear and open your brand new ‘Chinese for Dummies' phrasebook while booking your flight to China. Having a university degree and TEFL certificate should be enough to secure a job with the company but completing CELTA, DipTesol or equivalent is the key to really getting ahead. It would be best to secure that before you leave or to complete it as soon as possible upon arrival in China because it will be your most powerful ally when applying for higher positions. Without it, you might be able to rise to Senior Teacher, but it would be difficult to go much further. Go to China on a Z visa and take enough money for a rental deposit on your new apartment, with enough left over to survive for up to two months (about RMB15000 should be enough). This will help you make the best possible start to your Chinese adventure.

The next step

Fast-forward a few months later when you've completed the training, passed the induction period and now feel confident and settled in your job. Now is the time to do some investigating and find out what is needed in your centre. Hold in-centre workshops to share game ideas, volunteer to present at the next city-wide teacher's conference, mentor new teachers, make a list of recommended resources for students, start life clubs on coffee brewing, yodelling, or whatever interests you. Going above and beyond by being the first one in and the last to leave, volunteering for special projects and helping to develop other teachers will help you stand out among the other applicants when interviews for higher positions and career advancement opportunities come up.

Make your move

When you've worked with EF for over 12 months and received positive feedback from students, parents and staff, you'll be in a strong position to apply for Senior Teacher. After being granted an interview, be sure to update your resume with your achievements at the centre so far. Don't forget to highlight your achievements in detail during the interview as well, emphasizing how your contribution has made your centre a brighter and more efficient place. You may be asked some tricky questions like how to handle difficult co-workers or customers and how you've used resources effectively, so do your research and prepare some possible answers. Asking your DOS for interview tips should be very helpful in this regard.

Network and make friends

Qualifications aside, well developed soft skills are also essential for career advancement. When applying for a position, applicants who are seen as approachable, helpful and encouraging towards other teachers will be given higher priority over angry loners who keep to themselves in the office. If you have an opportunity to take part in social events such as BBQs, bike rides or paintball battles, go for it. If teachers, Production Managers or DOS's from other centres will be there as well, even better. Network like crazy and show the most important people in your working life that you're a fantastic human being as well as a great teacher.

Stay committed

My final advice is to stay committed to professionally and personally improving yourself. Be curious and constantly hungry to do better at everything you do and be the best person you can be. You’ve already made some notable achievements in life and will emerge from your China experience as a better person, but there’s always so much more you can do.

If you’re looking to join a fun, fast-paced forward-thinking company with career advancement opportunities, then make sure you apply today. Your future awaits.

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