English Job Interviews and Why Searching for a Job is not Just Writing an English Resume

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An English job interview, and searching for a new position in English can be a daunting task for non-native speakers.  It can also be a daunting task for native speakers.  One thing you should remember is that searching for a job is not only writing an English resume. It is a process that takes into consideration many things that starts with understanding your skills and personality traits and ends with the final job interview.  This is why we will be discussing what I think is a good approach to the whole English job interview and job search process. 

My English Job Interview and Job Search Method

My English Job interview and job search method is to take the whole approach when searching for a job.  The whole approach is that all the pieces work and fit together to bring you to the final positive result, a new job.  Do not break it into separate segments such as write resume, write cover email, prepare for job interview, etc.  All the different parts are all linked together and intertwined and the process can be done in such a way that they work together towards that positive result.  The research and work you do to put together your resume can be used in the cover letter and in answering interview questions.  Also, when you are preparing for and doing your resume you should be thinking about how this information would fit in to your cover letter or in to an answer to an interview question.  At the same time you should think about what you need to change or add to this information to make it useful later on in the process.  The information from this stage and the following stages will help you show and prove skills and personality traits in your cover letter and in answers to job interview questions in your next English job interview.  

The information you gather will be used for show and prove.  Show and prove is not a new concept.  Various interview writers have mentioned it before.  It is about being able to tell people where or how you acquired your skills (prove) or to have a story or example to show you using your skills and exhibiting personality traits (show).  Proving you have the skills entails saying where you acquired them.  Did you learn them through courses, or did you acquire them by using or learning them at work.  Showing you have the necessary skills and personality traits is done by having stories or examples about you accomplishing something, and this will show the reader or your interviewers you using some key skills.  It will also show some of your personality traits.  The main thing to remember is that the skills and traits you show should be some of the key skills and traits that the company is looking for in the person that will fill the position. 

Your English Resume

Your preparation for your next job interview or career move should start with your resume.  This is where you gather information and translate it into English.  You should look at the duties you performed in your previous jobs and in outside activities and determine what skills you used to perform these duties.  This will help you in learning where you acquired your skills.  You will have acquired skills through learning them (education) or by using them (jobs, volunteering in organizations, etc.).  So, by looking at your duties you can decide what skills you have and where you learned or acquired them.  This is the prove part of show and prove where you prove you have the skills by stating where or how you learned or acquired them. 

While you have been reviewing your duties and determining the skills that you used or developed you should also think about your accomplishments at work and outside of work.  These accomplishments can include, but are not limited to: work on a project; solving a customer’s problem; solving a company problem; organizing an event; changing a work process or the way something was done; coming up with product or process improvements; acquiring new business; and, developing a plan.  There are more things that may be considered as an accomplishment, but the above are some of the main ones.  The places that you may have accomplished something include not only work, but also clubs, activities at school, and volunteer work. 

When you are considering an accomplishment you should think about the skills YOU used to make it happen, as well as some personality traits that you exhibited at that time.  Now, you need to make this into a story or an example by saying what the accomplishment was and then focusing mostly on what you did.  By doing this, the story will show you using some main skills and exhibiting some key traits to come to a successful conclusion.  Write the stories using one or two paragraphs and show yourself using two or more of the key skills and exhibiting at least one of the personality traits.  This is the show part of show and prove where you show yourself using the key skills and show some of your personality traits. 

Your Cover Email (Letter)

We have finished discussing the information and resume writing parts of the process, so next we will discuss the cover letter/email.  This is what you write in your email when you send in your resume to apply for the advertised position.  The cover email gets their attention.  In the cover email you will show and prove that you have many of the key skills and traits they require for the vacant position.  A key skill may be develop customer relationships and not able to use a computer, so make sure you are including mostly the key skills in your cover email.  The cover email will help to get you an interview.    Remember to include a story or two in your cover email.  The stories that you include will be a shortened version of the one or two paragraph stories mentioned earlier. 

How does it all fit together?  You have written your resume during which you have learned about your skills and traits and started to think about showing and proving them.  Stories have been develop about your accomplishments.  From this you have included the appropriate information in your cover email.  All this leads to the final step.  The job interview or interviews for the position you have applied for. 

Preparing for an English Job Interview

As I have pointed out, just think about this as being one big process with your skills and traits, the resume, the cover email, etc. just being parts of the process.  These parts fit together.  By looking at all your jobs and what you did in extracurricular activities you can look at the duties you performed and the skills that you used to do them.  You first learned what are your best skills and traits and then how you can prove you have them.  At the same time you will be thinking about your accomplishments and how you can give an example (story) to show you using your skills and exhibiting your traits.   

Once you know how to show or prove your skills and traits you can use this information to write a good cover email and to develop answers to many of the questions that the interviewers may ask during the interview.  There are lists of standard and tricky (hard) questions that interviewers may ask during an interview.  By studying these you can see what it is that they want in your answer.  In a job interview the interviewers will be looking for you to verbally show or prove that you have most of the skills and traits they are looking for.   

Since you have gone through may job interview process you will find that you have already done much of the preparation for answering English job interview questions.  You know how to show and prove that you have the skills and personality traits that they are looking for.  You have stories that you can use to answer all or part of an interview question.  All that you need to do now is to become a little more specific in answering the questions and you can do this by reading the standard and tricky questions and developing your answers for them.  Remember that for many of the questions the interviewers want to be shown that you have the skills and traits they are looking for.  They want to see if you are the same person that is shown on your resume and cover email.  

How to answer English Job Interview Questions

We have talked about showing and proving leading to many of the answers for the interview questions.   The interviewers, through their question(s), want to see if you can verbally state that you have many or all of the skills they are looking for, so for many of your answers you can use parts of the previous steps.  You know where you learned or acquired the skills, and you have examples that show you using the skills as well as exhibiting some personality traits to accomplish a task.  This will help you answer many of the interview questions asked during an English job interview. 

I suggest that you write answers for some of the usual questions and to most of the difficult questions.  You will find that some of the questions might not require a show and/or prove response.  For these questions you will need to come up with a way to answer.  An example is “Why did you leave your last job?”  The best way to answer is honestly and without blaming anyone at your current or past company. 

An example of a question that is easily answered using show and prove is “Tell me about yourself”.  This is also a common hard question that might be asked exactly like this or in a similar form.  You may want to answer this like an autobiography “I was born in Paris, and I went to UCLA for my MBA …”, but don’t.  This is when you can use your education and experiences to say where you acquired some of the skills they are looking for (prove), and also tell some stories about you accomplishing a few good results (show).  The research you did for your resume will tell you where you learned or acquired the skills and thinking deeper about what you did to accomplish something will provide you with a story or two.  The stories you wrote about your accomplishments, and used fully or partially on your cover email, will be useful in this answer.  This job interview question seems simple, but it is a chance for you to show and prove you have the skills and traits they are looking for.  You can talk about what you did in school, at work, and in outside activities.  By using show and prove, you will have also told them about your work and education histories. 

English Job Interview Summary

This is one complete process that you can follow in your job search activity and in preparation for your English job interview.    The job interview process starts with you discovering where or how you acquired your skills, and at the same time you will become able to show skills and traits by talking about your accomplishments.  You can use show and prove in your cover letter, autobiography, and in answering interview questions.  Remember that it is one big interrelated process with the preceding parts helping with the proceeding parts of the process.  Throughout this article I mentioned English job interviews and English resumes, but the above process can be used to help in answering job interview questions and resumes in other languages.  I know that this is a shortened version of the process and that there are some things that I left out or only covered briefly due to article length constraints, but you should still have a good idea about a good process for an English job interview.   

At you can find my course descriptions for my English for Job Interviews and my Resume Writing courses.

Watch my video at for more information about preparing for a job interview.

You can also find my blog article posted on Ezine at

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