Joe Hytner is the Founding Director of Titanium Tutors, a private tuition company which introduces tutors in London, other UK cities and online.
The tutoring industry has been on the rise over the last decade, and nowhere is the client demand higher than in London.
We are also seeing increasing numbers of tutor applications from students at London-based universities such as KCL, who are attracted to tutoring largely due to the generous remuneration, the flexibility of hours, and the ability to use the skills and knowledge gained from their degree.
Because of this trend, however, tutoring agencies and clients are often spoiled for choice, and it is more important than ever to make sure that your application stands out head and shoulders above the rest and to take steps to increase your tutoring leads strategically. Here are a few top tips:
1 Apply to as many tutoring agencies as possible. You will soon find that most agencies, even the large-scale ones, do not guarantee hours (it is difficult for the agency to do so when the enquiries can vary so greatly in terms of location, longevity, subject matter, availability, etc.). Tutors who gain excellent client feedback will inevitably get offered increasing amounts of work by their agencies, but it can take time to build up momentum. Do not worry about how this may come across to the agencies: it is widely understood and accepted in the industry that most tutors will be signed up to a number of different agencies, as well as generating their own solo work, which brings me to…
2 Be prepared to do some solo work. Working with agencies carries two major benefits: being associated with an established brand, and having the admin/marketing work taken care of for you. However, it is not the be all and end all. To maximise your leads, you should consider taking on some solo work, as long as you’re happy to invest some time in marketing your services (e.g. via a personal website, word of mouth, etc.) and handling your own admin (e.g. invoicing clients, chasing up payments, etc.). You won’t be able to charge the same rate as an agency would charge, but you may be able to earn more for your solo jobs than you would through an agency, especially once you build up some agency work with respected companies on your CV, so it can be worth the extra effort.
3 Know what clients/agencies want to hear, and make it prominent. Your academic credentials and teaching experience are usually the starting point for most clients and agencies. Don’t bury them at the bottom of your CV (it may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed how many tutor applications we see where this is the case). Whilst a degree from a top university is fantastic, don’t forget to give your GCSE and A Level grades — they also count, as parents like to see a long-term pattern of academic success. Agencies and clients differ as to how much tutoring experience they expect, but if you have experience, then make the most of it: break down which subjects, levels and exam boards you’ve taught. The more specific you can be the better (e.g. “15 hours of OCR GCSE Maths”, etc.). Sometimes a client’s decision may come down to this fine-grain data, and if you don’t provide it you may not be in the race!
4 Make sure your personality shines through. This may sound contradictory after stressing the importance placed on academics and experience, but when clients are choosing between two equally well qualified tutors (and even when they’re not) they will look at the personality of the tutor and whether they think that person is likely to strike up a rapport with their child. No matter how good someone’s grades are and how much tutoring they’ve done before, if they can’t keep the attention and interest of the child in front of them, they can’t teach that child effectively! Personal anecdotes in your tutoring applications will help you to stand out. If you’re a tutor by day and stand-up comedian by night, be sure to mention it! If you’re secretly the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan, or a keen video gamer, chances are you have something in common with the child you will be teaching, so don’t be afraid to stick it down.
Titanium Tutors accepts applications from undergraduate students and graduates alike, and does not require any previous teaching experience. For more information, please check out their Become A Tutor page.
NB: Tier 4 visas, and some others, prohibit self-employed work, such as tutoring at Titanium Tutors. If you are in any doubt, talk to King’s International Student Advice team. This content was not written by King’s Careers & Employability, and does not necessarily represent the views of King’s College London. We cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies