By Harriet Anderson + Jacqueline Schaalje
Job hunting is a woe that many people share. If you are learning English as a second language, searching for a job in an English-speaking country might seem scary. Just remember, nobody is perfect. And you might actually have some advantages being a foreigner on the job market.
The best way to find a job starts with confidence. The job market might be recovering at a slow pace, but if you are determined to find a job, you will likely find one. Likely, it will take a little work. Yup, you read that correctly, finding work takes work. So how should you go about it?
Ask friends about job opportunities.
Your friends might be the key to finding your next job. So, it is good to ask them about jobs that might be available at their place of work; you can also ask about applying for them, too. This way is rather hit or miss—you might find a job through your friends, but sometimes you will not be as lucky.
Browsing ads in a newspaper, magazine or online.
This is the easiest way to find a job. Many job agencies and employers constantly advertise their available job openings. Calling an ad at the right time may lead to an interview if you meet the criteria they want.
Classified ads are the best way to start looking for a job; the employment section of a newspaper typically holds many advertisements for job openings. You can also search online. Many online websites have classifieds much like newspapers—many even aggregate ads for specific types of jobs, making it easier to find the job you want.
A clever tactic is to try a search for jobs that require another language besides English. In that case, there are likely far fewer candidates for the job. If you’re trying to get a job in the US, and your mother language is Russian, just as an example, you won’t find many other Russians who are capable of doing just that job. Your chances are even higher if your native language is one that only a handful of job candidates will master in that particular state or country.
Always keep working on your English, though! Fantastic English and communicative skills are the fastest way to get a great job.
Of course it’s not only an extra language that can set you apart on the job market. Any skill you have that other people lack is an extra that can win you that job. For the same reason it’s important never to stop learning. You never know when you’ll be able to use that knowledge, even if it’s only a hobby. I’ll give you an example from Jacqueline’s experience. She used to be a journalist once. She’s quite good at writing, she thinks. Yet she got more than one job because she could also give the magazine that she was working for some nice photos. Photography is one of her hobbies. The combination of writing skills plus the photos made the editors of the magazine choose her for the job over other writers.
Going to an employment agency.
Some jobs, such as factory work or lots of other lower-level jobs, are filled through employment agencies. So, if you want to get that kind of job, it’s best to contact an employment agency.
You can call and schedule an appointment to meet with an employment agency in your local area. Most provide help for people searching for temporary, part-time and full time jobs. Many people often end up finding near-permanent work through employment agencies, so this is a great option to try.
In some cases you’ll find yourself stuck in low-paying, low-level temporary jobs, so never stop using the other strategies as well.
Ask people if they’re hiring.
You might learn about potential job openings by asking employees in person. Some stores may have signs that they’re hiring or may need extra workers during certain seasons or shopping periods of the year. You can ask employees if they are hiring when you are shopping or visiting the store for another reason. Some people are successful and end up getting part-time to fulltime work.
You can also send an open application letter to a company or companies that you like. Introduce yourself politely, and explain what you can do for the company. Maybe they’re not hiring at that particular moment, but the Human Resources manager could keep your letter on file for a later time. Be sure to send them a follow-up as it happens all the time that letters get unread for some reason that has nothing to do with you. You might think that companies don’t want to receive these kinds of letters or emails, but they do. In the same way that they’re constantly on the lookout for new ideas to make more money and produce better quality products or services, they’re also on the lookout for good, quality people. You might just be the person they’ve dreamed of!
Good luck finding your dream job.
Now test your knowledge with this Quiz.
Choose the right answer.
1 What’s a woe (in the first sentence)?
A Something that sucks.
B Something pleasant.
C Something that helps you find a job.
D A routine job.
2 What’s a disadvantage about being a foreigner looking for a job in an English-speaking country?
C The language is terrible.
D It’s more scary.
3 Asking your friends about a job can be rather hit or miss. What does this mean?
A Success is guaranteed.
B Success is not always guaranteed.
4 Where can you find classified ads?
A On job sites.
B In a newspaper.
C On the last page of a newspaper.
D In the “Contact Us” section of websites.
5 Ad is short for what?
6 Why could it be handy to speak another language besides English when looking for a job?
A Employers are looking for Russian speakers all the time.
B An extra language can be an asset in certain jobs.
C The more languages you speak, the more jobs you can do.
D Candidates who speak perfect English will likely get the job first.
7 Employment agencies usually deal in what kind of jobs?
A Academic jobs, such as research and higher-level teaching.
B Jobs that pay the minimum wage.
C Lower-level jobs such as factory work, administrative services and cleaning.
D Jobs in restaurants and hotels.
8 Give an example of a seasonal job.
A A salesperson in a department store during the holiday season.
B Teaching a college course.
D Marketing teas and coffees.
9 Which of the underneath jobs is NOT a temporary job?
A A farming job during harvesting.
B A job in a factory.
C Teaching a college course.
D Producing a concert.
10 In case you are sending an open application letter to an organization, what should be included in your letter?
A Telling them how good you are.
B Explaining what you can do for the organization.
C A name of someone who already works in that organization.
D Your salary indication.
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