Business EnglishI originally decided to take this course as a means of ultimately teaching business english
. Most of the students that I tutor one-on-one are grad students from Taiwan or China. They all wish to hone their english
skills while they are in school to sharpen their edge in getting jobs here in America after their graduation.
Many of the tutees I practice conversational english
with eventually wish to work up to business english
so that we can practice resume writing, interview etiquette, business vocabulary, and finally mock interviews. I feel particularly versed in this area because while I was unemployed for a year (when I decided to get certified
as an ESL tutor), I sent out what felt like endless resumes and accompanying cover letters. I was also contacted for many interviews, some of which I thought went well at the time, and some that I knew were throw-aways. After a long, drawn out process, I finally did get a job as a technical writer, but I felt that after a grueling year of struggling in my job search during the worst economic recession in decades, I had also gained a new perspective on the necessity of good business english
and how it relates to good interview skills.
In the area of resume writing, conversational english
will not be sufficient to write a concise resume that will impress employers. So much about a candidate can be read (so to speak) from his resume -- organizational skills, level of education, expertise in his area, and attention to detail are just some of the characteristics that can be gleaned from a resume -- and to think, possession all of these only get the candidate in the front door! An entire vocabulary of "action words" needs to be sprinkled into one's resume to make it sound professional and worthy of an interview, words like "orchestrated, administered, delegated, expedited" the list goes on. Good resume writing is a delicate balance of truthfulness and embellishment.
I meet many smart individuals who are so versed in their trade, be it finance or engineering, but who are also at such a loss for conveying their thoughts within a professional setting. Often they are not equipped with the vocabulary, such as I mentioned, so I work with them to expand their action words and buzz words. Once they learn these words, we practice them so that they have the confidence to use them. We also practice different forms of the words so they can switch between using them as adverbs or adjectives, nouns or verbs.
In addition to practicing business speaking and writing, I also practice listening comprehension with my tutees. In the case of the mock interviews, when I'm playing the role of the interviewer, I try to state my question clearly, but at a normal rate at which most people speak. I do this because I have noticed that in conversational english
, my tutees often do not understand the question that I'm asking them, and therefore answer the question incorrectly, a mistake that can potentially cost them a job. This is also important because some of my tutees only understand my original question as I continue speaking and adding context -- they may not be interviewed by someone who is so accommodating to the fact that they are not native english
Instead of hoping that an interviewer will make any concessions for non-native speakers, my hope is to empower my tutees with language skills that make them on par with any other candidate for the job, be it a native or a foreigner. I believe that taking this course has helped me in teaching my students better, and I know that they will benefit from my edification in TEFL.