From Rome to Brno- How giving a new perspective on the job search process while working on a student’s English skills can change everything
Back in March of last year I had my first session with a new student. He was very kind and a little shy and explained his current situation- unemployed for a number of months after his old company went through some ‘hard times’ where they stopped paying their employees before completely closing and leaving everyone stranded. After sending more than 200 CVs through various job search sites he had FINALLY received a reply and set up a call with the company. However, after about two minutes and some communication issues, the line went dead. The student told me that he was devastated because after all the work he’d done to finally get that phone interview, his English wasn’t good enough to even understand the interviewer.
“I knew I had to try everything possible to help him improve his English…”
His story broke my heart- I knew I had to try everything possible to help him improve his English and continue looking for and applying to jobs. During my Masters Degree in Counseling, I had to take various Career Counseling courses. This included understanding the candidate- their experiences, skills, and career goals, as well as being knowledgeable about the current job search process- how to approach it and how to create distinguished application materials. Luckily, I love working on job stuff and I was even more motivated than usual after hearing his story.
“…we quickly went to work on creating targeted CVs and cover letters specific for each position.”
As a candidate with an extensive background in IT and Systems Management he definitely had a lot to offer. Though a native Italian, he was open to the idea of moving abroad and not limiting himself to jobs inside Italy. With this in mind, I encouraged him to move away from the standard job search generators and to think about some specific companies that he might want to work for. We started there, checked out their websites, and found a bunch of job postings throughout Europe. After selecting about five specific posts, we quickly went to work on creating targeted CVs and cover letters specific for each position. We talked about the importance of incorporating ‘keywords’ that are used by the company into his documents and getting an understanding of the company culture and mission that would help make a cover letter personal and relevant.
“Over the next two weeks we did extensive interview practice on Fluentify- at least one session a day every day…”
A week after submitting these five applications the responses started coming in. Over the next two weeks we did extensive interview practice on Fluentify- at least one session a day every day going through all different interview questions and reviewing how to approach the tricky questions. As the responses started coming in, we kept doing sessions so that he could prepare for each step of the process. Two weeks later, 5 hours of interview practice on Fluentify, 4 phone interviews, 2 Skype interviews, numerous emails, and 2 job offers- the student accepted an IT job with IBM in Brno, Czech Republic. At the end of this process I didn’t even recognize my student anymore- he had become a natural, confident English speaker who was prepared to work and excel in an international environment.
“Fluentify was an exciting path which helped me improve my english and start a new life.” -Marco M.
Even though he was nervous about leaving his hometown, he was ready to face this new adventure having regained his confidence and significantly improved his English speaking and comprehension skills. We continued to do some conversation and business English sessions on Fluentify before he left so that he felt prepared. We still check in about once a month on Fluentify and he updates me on his Brno life and his new job. While he’s not sure if he’ll stay at IBM in Brno forever, he no longer feels restricted by his English, thanks to Fluentify, and knows that the opportunities are endless.
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