An insight to help you branch out professionally with your language skills
Securing employment can be difficult for everyone! It can prove even more difficult if you are applying for a job where the company has English as its primary language. Whether it’s an international corporation or you have moved to another country and are looking to get back into the workforce, all career changes and promotions come with their own unique challenges.
In this blog, we will cover how to secure employment if English is is your second language, but the job requires you to have English.
Moving to another country
When you move to another country, although exciting and adventurous, it can be stressful. And what’s even more stressful than that? Moving to an unknown country and not being able to talk in your own language! As a team of travellers ourselves, we know the feeling. You may feel like local professionals automatically bring more to the table when competing for a job, but this is by no means true.
You must first believe in yourself before potential employers believe in you. As an employee that originates from a different country, you bring new aspects of business productivity and ideas that perhaps the company has not seen before. The methods that you may find normal in your day-to-day back home could be something that your employers in your new country may look at as something special. Trust us when we say that that your innovation will be welcome with open arms – as long as you don’t step on anyone’s toes!
Now that we’ve established what you can bring to the table, let’s go through some tips and tricks to help you stand out in front of the crowd:
- Make sure your CV is up to scratch for the country you are going to! A lot of countries have their standardized and preferable way of writing a CV. Make sure you follow this pattern. Also, look out for buzz words within the country – Do not use college in the USA when you have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, use University, while the UK and Ireland regularly use college or both. Make sure you have the correct spelling. American vs British English is huge and you may find yourself not making sense to your future employer.
- When introducing yourself and discussing your qualifications or experience, you need to mention the benefits of international experience. If you’ve worked in a foreign country before – shout it to the rooftops! Even if it’s not an English speaking country. This shows your willingness to adapt to different cultures and helps solve the issue of the language/ culture barrier.
- Try to gain some in-country experience some way! If you have the time before seeking employment in your new home, having any in-country experience can really benefit you. You can overcome this by looking into volunteer opportunities or part-time positions. This does not need to be in your profession or in the industry of your dream job, but it is a foot in door and can help tremendously!
Looking for an International Job
It’s safe to say international companies have a higher standard when it comes to hiring staff. This is down to a lot of valid reasons, the most important being that there are higher stakes involved.
If you are reading this blog, then your biggest asset is being bilingual. This will let you be ahead of the game and have an automatic advantage to those locally who cannot communicate with other branches worldwide. Because knowing English seems normal to you and you are going for a job within a non-English speaking country, you may overlook this as an asset and may not even highlight this on your CV. Let me tell you, this is a huge mistake! Even if you don’t need English for the job, international companies will always have positions that require you to speak English, so if it’s not needed for your current application, it will be needed for a promotion down the road or if you don’t get the job you are applying for, they may see the skill and offer you a different job within the same company.
With all this said, here are a few tips to get noticed within an international company:
- Language skills should be part of your skills section at the top under your profile. This will show your potential employers what you can offer as part of the team right away. Nobody wants to read through your work experience 10 years ago without first knowing your capabilities. Once they see your skills, they’ll want to read on to see how you acquired those skills. Bilingual? They’ll look for professional travel experience or education through English. This not only shows the skill, but shows an adaptive and enthusiastic personality!
- Do your research! Where does this international company mostly do work? You’ll need to pin down whether you’ll be conversing with Americans and Canadians or British and Irish. The communicative skills will be different. This is not only the spelling differences we all know, but there are also differences with timezones, culture and procedure. You’ll need to research how work is done. Once you know this, adjust your answers in the interview accordingly. For different time zones, show flexibility. For culture, show adaptability. For procedures, show knowledge in the business legislations for that country (did someone mention GDPR?).
- These days international communications is as easy as pressing a button. Through Zoom or Skype, your technical abilities should be up to scratch with the times. Practice, practice, practice. If your interview is through Zoom, make sure to use a professional background to show that you are ready to talk business. This brings me to my next point. A lot of people when speaking in a language that is not their mother tongue will need face-to-face communication to understand the conversation. This is totally normal, but talking on the phone is a forgotten skill that needs to be perfected for these types of jobs. This is a skill that our tutors can help you with. Understanding English or any language over the phone without expression or gestures is harder than you think!
Do you feel like you haven’t quite ticked all the boxes above? Feel like your English is up to scratch but you could work on a few skills to enhance your chances to secure employment?
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