I don't speak good English.
Good spoken and written English skills are generally required to secure
decent employment in the United States. Among international students from
non-English-speaking countries, those with good English skills tend to find a
job relatively easily. However, it is rare for international students to speak
and write fluent English. But that doesn't mean you should give up.
Being bilingual is an advantange
The flip side of your handicap is that you will probably speak more languages
than an American employee. If you are fortunate, your native language may be used
widely, in which case it is useful to a potential employer. If so, you should capitalize
on it. Try to promote the fact that you are bilingual or even trilingual to your potential
employer during the job interview.
Speaking with confidence helps you to communicate more effectively with an interviewer.
The first sign of confidence is shaking hands firmly. Remember, do not shake hands with
sweaty palms, which makes you seem very nervous. You should maintain eye contact
with your interviewer, and smile from time to time to show your confidence. Eye contact may not
be advisable in some cultures, but in America it is quite improper if you do not maintain
eye contact with the person you are talking to. Keep in mind, too, that to be modest is a virtue
in many cultures but might be interpreted as a lack of confidence in American society. You do
not need to over-sell yourself (as some people tend to do), but you ought to fully present
your abilities, skills, and experience to your interviewers. If you have a difficult time doing
this due to your culture, try to think of it this way: Confidently expressing yourself may or
may not get you the job, but being modest or shy will absolutely eliminate any chance of success. An
American employer might think of it this way: If you don't think you're the best candidate for
the job, then neither do I!
While you never know what questions interviewers might ask, you can prepare by imagining
yourself answering some difficult questions. You can find tons of tips, and questions that are
frequently asked by interviewers, on the Web or in published sources.
Click here for an extensive list of possible interview questions compiled
by the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. If you are
very worried, you might find it builds your confidence to practice reciting some of your
Apply for the right job
If you realize that you do not have a good command of English, try not to apply for jobs
that require fluent verbal or written English. There are many jobs that do not - for
example, working as an accountant, programmer, engineer, designer, or financial analyst.
Get your resume and cover letter reviewed
Even if you can't speak well enough to impress your interviewers, try to show that your
writing isn't so bad. Have your career center staff or English tutor review your resume,
cover letter, your thank-you letter, and any written material that might help you
make a good impression.
Obstacle No 4: I don't have work experience in America.