Job Application Guide for Prospective Teachers

To support prospective bilingual teachers entering the profession, ICN has put together a step-by-step guide for applying to teaching positions in Chinese-English bilingual schools or schools with a Chinese CLIL program.


Please note that this guide focuses only on elements that are especially important for bilingual schools. It should be read in conjunction (rather than in place of) other guidance on applying for teaching positions in your state/territory.


  • Prepare your resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV):
    • Create a professional resume/curriculum vitae that outlines your relevant education, teaching experience, language proficiency, and any certifications or training you have.
    • Emphasise your language learning experiences in languages other than English and Chinese. This shows your commitment to be a learner and ability to relate to students as language learners.
    • Consider what language, CLIL or bilingual-related work you can highlight from your MTeach or further studies.
    • Incorporate elements of bilingual design into your resume/CV.
  • Write a Cover Letter:
      • Craft a personalised cover letter for each application. Address it to the school principal by name.
      • Mention the specific position you are applying for and discuss why you are a (not “the most” - leave that judgement to the school) suitable candidate for the role. Highlight your qualifications, relevant experience, and how your skills make you a strong candidate.
      • Research the school. Learn about their teaching philosophy, values, and programs. Tailor your writing to emphasise why your own philosophy, values and skill sets match well with that of the school. This is an opportunity to highlight compatibility, not “praise” the school on how well they are doing.
  • Key Selection Criteria (KSC):
    • Show that you have done research on the school and its bilingual program by incorporating facts beyond what are simply available on the job advertisement.
    • Even if you do not have bilingual teaching experiences yet, show that you have an understanding of the definition of bilingual education (specifically how it differs from languages education.)
    • Find opportunities to incorporate important concepts in bilingual education into your responses, such as biliteracy, bilingual/immersion models, CLIL (4Cs) or other bilingual pedagogical models, BICS/CALP, translanguaging, state of bilingual education in Australia and abroad, and any professional development already taken on bilingual education. (ICN events are a great place to start!)
    • Context matters. Even if you do not have bilingual teaching experiences yet, you can always start by framing your responses based on evidence and experiences you have in non-bilingual contexts. (Make sure you discuss the context first and write in present perfect.)
    • Always take a ‘bilingual’ lens in your response to KSCs. Even if you do not have bilingual teaching experiences yet, discuss how you would adapt your approach to the same topics for a bilingual context. Do not give throwaway comments that implies anything suitable for non-bilingual schools will also work in bilingual schools. There may be parallels, but what will make you stand out is if you can discuss what you imagine would be the nuanced differences based on your research and training so far.
  • Interview preparation:
    • Be ready for interviews. Schools may conduct interviews in person or via video conference.
    • Practise answering common interview questions and prepare examples that demonstrate your teaching skills.
    • Highlight your ability to teach subject content (generalist for primary teachers; academic for secondary) in both Chinese and English.
    • Avoid asking questions that sound demanding and entitled. For example, “how does the school conceptualise professional development for staff in different career stages?” instead of “what support will I get as a beginning teacher?”
  • Teaching demonstration:
    • Some schools may request a teaching demonstration as part of the interview process. Prepare a lesson plan that showcases your teaching abilities.
    • Be prepared to teach a short lesson to demonstrate your classroom management and teaching style. Use the 4C from CLIL and make sure they are clearly evident in your demonstration.
    • Show that you are able to make strategic choices about when to use each language and reinforce a Chinese-dominant classroom language policy through relationship building.
  • Follow up:
    • After submitting your application, send a polite follow-up email to express your continued interest in the position.
    • If you had an interview, send a thank-you email afterward to express gratitude and reiterate your interest.
  • Prepare your referees:
    • Ensure that your references are aware that you have applied for teaching positions and may be contacted by potential employers.
    • Prioritise referees that can speak to your professionalism as a teacher and your suitability for a bilingual school.
  • Stay Informed:
    • Keep an eye on job boards, school websites, and professional networks for new job postings.
    • Network with colleagues already working in ICN schools!


Remember, the key to a successful job application is to present yourself as a qualified and passionate educator who can contribute positively to the school's educational mission in bilingual education. Tailor your application materials to each specific job posting, and demonstrate your commitment to bilingual education and cross-cultural understanding!

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