One of the most popular ESL course types is Business English which helps you hone your communication skills for the purpose of work. It can help you gain knowledge into industry-specific vocabulary, learn acceptable Western business and cultural practices and effective communication methods like emailing, telephoning, giving presentations or contributing to meetings. It is imperative to have these skill sets in order to transcend your knowledge by making it effective in another language. This also opens up endless job possibilities and many opportunities for career advancement. In this first installment of Business English tips, we will start at the very beginning of any job application process, resume writing.
*Refer to this sample resume
1) Visuals are important: Though the quality of resume content is key, never underestimate the importance of design. Font should be a standard 12 point font, usually in Times New Roman. It is acceptable to adapt the header (the top section that includes your name and contact information) to a larger font size in boldface, though you should still avoid any colour besides black. Overall you want your resume to be clean and well-structured, making it easy for a potential employer to read.
2) Organization: The truth is, most employers are too busy to dig for important information on hundreds of resumes. Therefore, it is important that you ensure your information is accessible. Always place your most recent jobs at the top of the resume and work down in chronological order. Boldface your job position or title and use bullet points to summarize the details of the position. This should not exceed 5 lines. Make sure there is consistency in your design and structure. For example, if one job title is bolded make sure you bold all your listed job titles.
3) Highlight your skills: Naturally you’ve accomplished lots at your previous places of employment, so much that you may not have room to include everything. Maximize this by creating a “Skill Section” or “Competencies” at the beginning or end of your work experience category. List the numerous qualities and skills you’ve learnt that are applicable and beneficial to the job you are applying for.
4) Numbers are important: Numbers create interest on a resume as they are very specific. So instead of stating, for example, that you wrote a bi-weekly blog which reached numerous people say: I managed a blog in which I wrote 2 articles a week reaching over 200,000 people. (I wish)
5) Proofread. Then proofread again: If an employer is looking over hundreds of resumes, and spots a spelling error, they are not going to invest the time in continuing reading that application. In addition to proofreading it is also helpful to have a friend or relative edit your resume to give advice or catch any mistakes you may have made.
6) Include only relevant information: It is important to include only relevant job experience and community engagement. A part-time retail job you worked at in high school is not likely related to the position you are applying to now. Similarly, instead of listing numerous hobbies consider listing only your volunteer or charity work experience.
7) Education: Recent grads should list degrees at the top of your resume including any awards, certificates, etc. If you have been graduated for over five years consider moving that section to the end of your resume (after your work experience).
8) Keep it Short & Sweet: The challenge of resume writing is to provide as much information about yourself and your qualifications in as minimal a space as possible. Summarize, use bullet points and include only important information. Ideally, your resume should not exceed 2 pages.