Mastering English is important for your CV whether you’re looking to work in tourism, the service industry, translation, or law.
Learning English is essential in the world of business as it’s the international language of business so if your English isn’t good enough, now’s the time to start taking it seriously.
Six Tips for Improving Your English
How can you improve your English?
In most cases, the English you learn at school won’t be enough.
Lessons are often too focused on repetition, studying conjugations, and learning vocabulary. These skills are useful, but they won’t help you that much when it comes to speaking the language.
Despite years of learning English, a lot of students can’t speak the language because a wide vocabulary and knowledge of conjugations aren’t enough to speak it.
Languages are complicated so how do you improve your English?
Here are some tips to help you!
Study from Books
Even if you don’t like them, grammar books are useful. Before you start brushing up on your English, you need to cover the foundations.
The materials from your English lessons can still be useful. If you don’t want to buy new books, check for resources online.
Speak English and Listen to English
Why not use Skype to chat with English speakers?
Similarly, podcasts and TV shows are a great way to improve your English. The more you listen to the language, the more familiar you’ll be with it.
How do you start learning English?
Read in English
Why not read some of the most popular English books?
There are often a lot of famous English books in libraries and book shops.
Harry Potter is probably one of the most famous series.
Why not read English novels?
You can also read the news in English to improve your language skills. Your English skills will quickly improve and it's also a good way to learn what’s happening around the world.
Get Private Tutorials Online or at Home
We spend a lot of our time in front of screens every day.
Why not use this time to study English?
Instead of looking at your phone or tablet, you could practise your English. You could study English instead of playing games.
Tutors are offering private English tutorials on Superprof and they can either teach you at your house or virtually through online tutorials. If you need to improve quickly, look for intensive lessons.
Do an Internship
There are plenty of English-speaking countries where you could work and improve your English.
You might want to think about where you would like to live, too. From Canada to New Zealand, there are plenty of places around the world where you could improve your English. Just remember that the English spoken in each place is different.
Study for TOEIC, TOEFL, or IELTS Exams
Taking an exam will force you to study English seriously. You need to study to get a good result so attend an intensive course or take English classes to help you.
You can also study English online for free as there are plenty of great websites and resources to help you. Furthermore, it’ll look great on your CV. Another reason to take the test.
Your reading, writing, speaking, and listening will all improve.
Speak English at a Professional Level
What level of English do you need for work?
Whether you’re a student looking for work or a professional looking for a promotion, speaking English is essential. It’s the language of international business, after all.
While traditional teaching methods will show you conjugations, irregular verbs, and grammar rules, business English is important but often overlooked.
Technical vocabulary, formality, etc., mastering business English is different.
To improve your level, you need to:
- Practise English regularly. With a private tutor, in language classes, or just by studying online, whatever your level of English, it’s important that you practise regularly. It’s much easier to learn English if you practise frequently. Using your English will help you as much as a class without you even realising. Those who want to learn very quickly should go to English-speaking countries.
To see if you have the right skills, it’ll depend on the exams you’ve taken.
- TOEIC is the most common exam. It’ll give you an overall score for your English. You need a good level in English to take this exam.
- The BULATS (Business Language Testing Services).
After a lot of studying, you can sign up for this. Which field will you work in?
- Tourism, travel, translation? There are a lot of fields that require English language skills.
In international business and commerce, English is frequently spoken.
To make a deal or hold a meeting, you’ll need to speak English.
- The Web
English is the most popular language on the internet and if you do anything involving the web, you’ll need English skills. Community manager, web editor, web developer, web project manager, etc. English speakers tend to get these jobs.
How to Speak Business English
Business English can feel like a unique language and even native speakers may struggle to understand what people in business are saying.
To make a good impression, here’s a quick guide.
English Business Slang
A glance at business English will show you how little you know. To work in English-speaking companies, you’ll need to know the language of business.
In business English, there’s a lot of jargon and slang that you’ll need to learn. but there’s quite an easy way to learn business English slang; you can teach yourself or study.
There are specialist dictionaries and books on the matter like David Burke’s The Slangman Guide to BIZ SPEAK 1: Slang, Idioms & Jargon Used in Business English.
However, you might have to get these books online as not many bookstores will stock them. An online bookshop will probably be able to get you a copy, though.
Here’s a quick sample of business English jargon and slang:
- Boil the ocean: Attempting to take on an overly difficult challenge, task, or project.
- Net-net: the final result.
- Wet signature: a physical signature rather than a digital one.
- Buy-in: to give your consent.
- Granular: particular or meticulous.
- Peel the onion: to perform a full analysis.
- Bandwidth: the amount of work someone can manage.
- Drill-down: start with general explanations before moving onto the details.
- Soup to nuts: from beginning to end.
- Out of pocket: being unavailable.
- C-level: the highest positions in a business, such as the CEO.
To study professional English at home, you’ll need to use specialist websites and resources to decipher business English. Knowing this form of English will help you with a lot of different jobs.
Before you start working in any business, you might want to know all these terms and expressions as well as many others. There are plenty of schools and language lessons that also cover business English. That said, you can also learn on the job.
Manners and Formalities in the World of Business
Like in many other cultures, there are certain rules in English-speaking nations on how to do business.
Generally, you need to be polite and well behaved. An employer will be able to tell if a candidate is familiar with business norms and practices.
- Be confident.
- 25% of American recruiters said a limp handshake would reduce the chances of a candidate being hired.
- A “winning” mentality can be represented in your body language.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. But, you can practise.
While an interview will look at your experience, training, and qualifications, they’ll also be looking at your attitude and behaviour. These elements can make or break an interview. Make sure you outperform in the competition in every way.
There’s no better way to make a good impression than by being polite.
Here are some tips for your interviews:
- Don’t use negative terms to describe your former employer.
- Adopt a proactive, enthusiastic, dynamic, and motivating approach.
- Leave complaints at home. In English-speaking culture, it’s uncommon to complain in an interview.
- Have a fluid conversation.
- Avoid jokes and wordplay.
- Don’t focus just on your job application and be natural.
- Use polite forms of the language.
- Don’t use overly informal expressions.
- Use appropriate titles.
- Keep an open mind when it comes to new skills and be enthusiastic about learning them.
- Avoid the negative. Rather than saying you’re not familiar on a certain topic, say that you’re looking forward to learning more about it.
Behaving appropriately in a business environment involves using the right language and manners. They’re not too complicated so it shouldn’t take too long to learn about them.
Manners in English are quite simple. You don’t want to say “sorry” too often as you’ll appear weak but never saying it will make you look arrogant. Generally, you need to be confident but not at all costs.
English as a Professional Skill
English is the most popular language for non-native speakers around the world. There are so many jobs that require some level of English.
Even if they don’t say it’s a requirement, they’ll say it’s recommended so English is important for work.
When unemployment is high, finding work can be difficult. A recruiter will have to look through hundreds of applications and pick the best ones. With so many, you’ll want to stand out.
A CV that doesn’t mention any English language skills might be put to the bottom of the pile or thrown straight in the bin!
When it comes to English-speaking jobs or English-speaking companies, English language skills will be essential and candidates with language skills will be higher up the list.
There are two good ways to improve your English:
- Get lessons from a private tutor at home and work on the aspects of the language that need work such as grammar, vocabulary, speaking, etc.
- Work or study in English-speaking countries. Immersion is an English-speaking culture will quickly improve your level of English.
Your future employer will enjoy seeing that you’ve spent time in a place where English is spoken.
There are several benefits to learning English:
- Your career may advance after learning English.
- You may be given more responsibilities such as contacting English-speaking clients or correcting emails in English. Your boss may even have you attend meetings.
- You may be transferred abroad!
Looking to move abroad?
You’ll need more than a beginner’s level in English! Your level needs to be good enough to communicate regularly with colleagues and clients.
What better reason to start improving your English?
- More responsibility usually comes with a higher salary. You could negotiate a raise.
- Even freelancers can get more work by improving their English as they’ll open the door to English-speaking clients.
- Improving your English can also help you find new jobs. Without the language barrier, you’ll be able to look for work from employers that you previously couldn’t speak to. If your employer doesn’t value your skills, it might be time to work for somebody new.
Learn Business English in an English-speaking Country
Working in London
Why should you work in London?
It’s a great way to learn a second language while immersing yourself in English-speaking culture.
Before you head to London, you might want to check:
- That your level of English is high enough. You’ll struggle to find work with poor English.
- If you have somewhere to stay. London is a popular city and finding accommodation can be difficult
- Whether you’ll be able to access the National Health Service (NHS).
- You have enough savings to get you started. London is a very expensive city.
As for looking for work, you need to be methodical in your applications.
- Focus on your qualifications, experience, and skills when applying to jobs.
- Find companies and businesses looking for candidates like you.
- If you’re just looking for work to pay the bills:
- Look for jobs in restaurants, travel, and tourism that will help make ends meet.
- Offer language classes in your native language to English speakers.
The first thing to do is to make sure you have enough money to survive. In such a big city, it can be quite easy to find friends through work or in shared accommodation. The British are usually very sociable and many people who travel to London have an amazing time. Finally, when you leave, you’ll have picked up new language skills that can further your career.
You’ll stand out from the crowd in terms of grammar, vocabulary, and speaking skills. Then you can start finding work almost anywhere!
Working in the USA
To improve your English, you can immerse yourself in the culture of one of the biggest English-speaking countries in the world! A lot of students opt to spend a semester or an academic year in the USA as it’s a great way for them to improve their English by using it every day.
Working in the world’s biggest economy comes with a lot of benefits.
These benefits include:
- Improving your English
- Discovering a new culture
- Doing jobs that may not exist in your own country
- Making friends in America
- Adding new experiences to your CV
- Experiencing the English language as used by natives
- Making new friends from all over the world.
To work in an American business, you should be aware that the English spoken isn’t the same as in the UK. If you’ve been taught British English your whole life, you may need to learn some of the differences. There are plenty of dictionaries and guides as well as books on the business jargon and slang used in the USA.
There are various types of visa available with some renewable for up to six years. A lot of businesses are looking for candidates with an open mind and living abroad can help. During your time there, your English will improve.
A good level of English and experience in English-speaking countries will help make you the ideal candidate for a lot of jobs.
Working in Australia
Australia is almost on the opposite side of the planet to the UK.
Every year, thousands of foreigners head to Australia to work or study.
Australia is a country, an island, and a continent all at the same time and a great place to learn English.
By working there.
There are working holiday visas available for residents of many countries allowing them to spend up to two years in Australia. Those with a decent level of English can also find high-paying jobs in skilled fields.
That said, not many people around the world are taught Australian English in school so it can be sometimes quite confusing for non-native speakers of English. You might want to take some intensive classes before heading there if you’re not familiar with the differences.
Those with a low level in English will have to work in unskilled jobs like fruit-picking or other types of manual labour to meet the requirements of their visa.
There’s a lot of competition for the best jobs for those on working holiday visas. That said, if you’re happy to do anything, you’ll easily find work.
Understanding the accent mightn’t be as easy, though.
Working in Australia will allow you to:
- Learn English
- Become bilingual
- Meet other international visitors from all over the world
- Enjoy unforgettable experiences
- Immerse yourself in the language
Not want to work in a British, American, or Australian business? Need to improve your English?
Don’t panic! You can always live with a host family in an English speaking country.
You can do this through WWOOFing. You won’t learn business English on a farm but you will get to speak English every day without having to worry about the formalities of high-pressure business dealings.
Places to Learn Business English
You mightn’t be able to travel abroad, which might be why you want to improve your English and earn more money. In the meantime, you could always study English where you are. Here are some ways to do it.
Babbel is a language learning app and platform.
There are English and business English lessons and courses you can do to prepare you for working in an English-speaking business.
- Phonecalls in English
- Emails in English
- Chatting in English
- Finding the right words for the right situation
- Speaking with confidence
- Managing business conflicts in English
- Maintaining relationships with clients in English
You can also specialise in:
- Running meetings in English
- Negotiating in English
- Planning marketing strategies in English
- English journalism
- Interviewing candidates in English
- Invoicing in English
- Accounting and HR vocabulary
You can improve your business English through the British Council. The British Council lessons and courses can help you by teaching you work-specific English language skills.
- Writing reports
- Phoning clients
- Participating in meetings
Can’t get to a British Council centre?
There are plenty of online resources. You’ll have to pay for the classes but the online resources are free.
Wall Street English
Want to practise business English, learn new vocabulary, and express yourself fluently?
There are Wall Street English classes available all over the world for those wanting to learn business English.
- Buying, selling, marketing.
- Relationship skills.
- Answering calls.
- Meetings and negotiations.
The first lessons are great for beginners. You can work on articles from the BBC or deal with contemporary subjects and current affairs. The teachers are native English speakers.
By the end of the courses, students have the opportunity to reach the highest level of English available. There are centres all over the world.
Gymglish offers English language courses for individuals, schools and universities, and employers.
Employers, employees, and business owners can receive tailored lessons.
Each user receives a certification at the end of their course. Courses are at least 6 months long.