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April 2017

Learning English for Business

Tips for non-native English speakers

According to the Financial Times, British businesses will need even more foreign language speakers after Brexit. As the United Kingdom moves away from the European Union, many companies face losing their EU staff in the process because workers who could pass in and out of the UK freely would no longer be able to do so. They would require working visas after Brexit.

While it may be harder to secure a job in the UK after the split, the possible vacating of currently held positions suggests that there could be great opportunities for EU workers looking to transition to the UK. Of the languages most demanded in the UK, French, German, and Spanish top the list. But Brexit aside, learning English for business isn’t an easy feat. It requires a fluency beyond simple conversation.

Here are some tips for non-native English speakers that can help them land a job in an English-speaking country.

Focus on business vocabulary

While English may not be the job candidate’s native language, a certain level of general fluency is demanded to successfully find a job in an English-speaking country. That said, fluency good enough for business does not equate the deep fluency of a native speaker, and there will always be things the non-native speaker does not know. What’s most important is that the candidate focus within his or her industry for linguistic expertise. For example, many dictionaries are arranged by category. Those looking for jobs should put extra focus on work-related vocabulary: office terms, computing, financial phrases, etc. It’s often the case that fluent non-native English speakers who have lived in English-speaking countries for some time still aren’t familiar with vocabulary in these categories, because they are not always used in everyday parlance.

Stay up to date

Staying up to date with industry news by reading publications and watching shows in English is extremely helpful. A candidate hoping to get a job in the financial sector could benefit by subscribing to newspapers and magazines discussing the topics that would likely come up at work. Not only would the candidate learn industry-specific vocabulary, he or she would develop an awareness of the most recent news topics. The subjects featured in papers and on television would likely be the subjects of conversation in the work environment. While many candidates may already be knowledgeable in their home country, it helps to understand the nuances of the industry in the target country.

Get a mentor

No textbook can teach a candidate what it feels like to fail or what would be required of him or her on a daily basis. Job seekers should find a mentor who is familiar with working in the target country. If a mentor is not easily found in person, it might be worthwhile to make acquaintance with someone online. Social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, and foreign language apps like Tandem, are great for meeting people in other countries. Besides, it never hurts to make a few new friends.

Practice, practice, practice

Training for proficiency tests is much like training for any other type of standardised exam; it helps to practice, practice, practice. Often, how good one does on an exam is partially determined by how well one takes exams. The test preparation services from telc can help aspiring candidates score their best. Check out the language exams offered by telc and start practising now.

Have you ever applied for a job in a country where your native language wasn’t spoken? What was your experience? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on languages and culture!

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