Using Business English to find a job

(The following guest post comes courtesy of Gisele Navarro Mendez of Content Lobby)

Making the transition to becoming a fully fledged member of the English-speaking business world can be unnerving. Sympathetic and patient teachers are replaced by shrewd human resources managers or hard-nosed business consultants. Nevertheless, with the right preparation, securing a job is a very achievable goal.

Useful vocabulary

The process of finding a job -from reading advertisements for vacancies through to compiling a CV and covering letter- involves being able to make use of a specific vocabulary. Don’t be afraid of taking extra business English lessons to ensure a thorough understanding of potentially difficult terms.

For example, a typical job advertisement might include the following words or phrases:

Communication skillsA good ability to interact with people
ReliableSomeone who is dependable and trustworthy
Having a working knowledge of somethingPossessing a basic understanding of a subject
Having a clean driving licencePossessing a driving licence with no record of illegal driving
Managing a budgetAn ability to ensure a fixed amount of money is wisely spent
Being keen to do somethingWanting to do something a lot
Work well under pressureThe ability to keep calm and work well in difficult situations

An employer reading through a candidate’s CV will expect to see information relating to the following:

EducationA list of schools and universities attended, as well as any other training and qualifications
Personal detailsName, age, nationality, address and other contact details
ProfileA few lines to summarise the candidate’s relevant positive attributes
Professional experienceList of previous jobs and a brief description of the candidate’s role in each
InterestsActivities carried out in the candidate’s spare time
RefereesTwo or more former employers, teachers or other professionals who are willing to confirm that a candidate is of a high calibre

Phone conversations

Securing employment often requires one or more phone conversations. For those currently studying at a London school English phone conversations will be a familiar task. Students applying for jobs from outside of the UK may be able to carry out phone calls using Skype, which makes things easier by providing non-verbal cues.

Some words and phrases occur more often in phone-based conversations. For example:

Hold onWait
Hang onWait
Hang upPut the phone down
Ring offPut the phone down
Put you throughConnect you to another person
Call backReturn a phone call

Whether it’s calling the company’s secretary to ask for directions or carrying out a phone-based interview, it’s good to err on the side of formality.

Use words such as “could”, “can”, “may” or “would” when making a request and remember to say “please” and “thank you” when asking for and receiving inform