BOOST YOUR ENGLISH INTERVIEW SKILLS

  • How to Write a CV and Cover Letter for International Software Development Jobs

    How to Write a CV and Cover Letter for International Software Development Jobs

    example CV / Resume

    If you’re an English language learner and looking to enhance your career as a software developer or engineer, you’re in the right place. With more and more international companies looking to hire skilled professionals, it’s important to have a well-written CV and cover letter and interview skills that set you apart from the competition.

    In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process of writing a standout CV and cover letter that will showcase your skills, knowledge, and experience, and help you land your dream job.

    Research the Company and Job Description

    Before you start writing your CV and cover letter, take the time to research the company and the specific job you’re applying for. Look at the company’s website and social media profiles to learn more about their values, culture, and mission. Read the job description carefully to identify the skills and qualifications the employer is looking for.

    Choose the Right Format

    When it comes to CVs, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. However, for software development jobs, a functional or skills-based CV might be a better choice than a chronological one. In this format, you’ll focus on your skills and achievements, rather than your work history.

    For cover letters, a traditional format is still the most widely used. Start with a header that includes your contact information and the date. Address the letter to the hiring manager or recruiter, and introduce yourself and your interest in the job.

    Highlight Your Skills and Achievements

    Your CV should focus on your technical skills and achievements. Use bullet points to list your programming languages, frameworks, and other tools you have experience with. Also, highlight any projects you have worked on, and the results you achieved.

    Your cover letter should expand on your skills and achievements, and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. Use specific examples to show how your experience and skills match the job requirements.

    Use Clear and Concise Language

    As an English language learner, it’s important to use clear and concise language in your CV and cover letter. Avoid using long, complicated sentences, and focus on making your points clearly and succinctly.

    Edit and Proofread

    Before you submit your CV and cover letter, make sure to edit and proofread them thoroughly. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure your sentences are clear and easy to understand. You may also want to ask a friend or mentor to review your documents and provide feedback.

    Tips and Tricks

    If you are struggling to adapt your CV for the specific jop then ChatGPT can help you. If you would like to find out more on how to utilise ChatGPT to enhance your CV please contact me.

    You can use MS office or Google Docs to make a simple CV but if you wanrt to stand out form the crowd then Canva is your friend. The design features allow you to edit your CV to help you stand head and shoulders above other candidates. Remember a recruiter or hiring manager will only spend 30 seconds to scan your CV so you need to clearly demonstrate you have the skills and expeiance to do the job.

    For a technical job such as a software developer or engineer skills and experiences are often more important than education so make sure you highlight your skills and achievement on projects. Always remember the hiring manager is always thinking “what can this guy do for me”.

    In conclusion, writing a CV and cover letter for international software development jobs can be challenging, but with the right approach and attention to detail, you can create a document that showcases your skills and experience, and helps you land your dream job. Remember to research the company and job description, choose the right format, highlight your skills and achievements, use clear and concise language, and edit and proofread your documents carefully. Good luck!

  • New Information

    NEW INFORMATION

    Do you ever worry if your doing things right?

    Look at this guy in the picture. Do you notice anything wrong?

    Sometimes we are so caught up in the bigger picture we forget to focus on the deails.

    Recently I downloaded a course to help overcome my introvertedness. This is something I have always struggled with and I truly hope to help others overcome. I never want you to struggle with talking and socialising that I have had.

    The course I was following prescribed me to work through the program lesson by lesson ONE STEP AT A TIME . Unfortunately, i didn’t have time for this so I skipped ahead. I then learnt how important the earlier steps were. They included key points to enhance my learning.

    This is like learning English, you work and work, and jump many steps ahead but you never progress, you learn more and more business vocabluary but you struggle having conversations, you learn idioms but never use them. Well the truth is it is always about the fundamentals.

    A basic level of grammar and a good selection of vocabulary will stand you in good stead for your English interviews. The key to an interview is not to demonstate your English skills but to demostate that you know how to expaline your skills in Enlgish. Remebmer you are awesome so keep being you!

    For help in overcoming your interview anxieties for English interviews contact me.

  • Crafting a Compelling Cover Letter That Lands You Your Dream IT Job

    Crafting a Compelling Cover Letter That Lands You Your Dream IT Job

    When applying for an IT job, your cover letter is your chance to make a great first impression. It’s an opportunity to showcase your personality, demonstrate your skills, and explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Here are some tips for creating a compelling cover letter that lands you your dream IT job:

    1. Address it to a specific person.

    Whenever possible, address your cover letter to a specific person rather than using a generic greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager.” This shows that you’ve taken the time to research the company and its employees, and it also helps to personalize your application.

    1. Customize it to the job.

    Just like your resume, your cover letter should be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. Use the job description to highlight why you’re the best fit for the position. Talk about your experience and skills that match the job requirements and explain how you can add value to the company.

    1. Use storytelling.

    The best way to make your cover letter stand out is by using storytelling. Use examples from your experience to demonstrate how you’ve solved problems or achieved results in previous roles. Use the “rule of three” to structure your examples for maximum impact. This means giving three examples of your skills, experience, or achievements that make you the best fit for the job.

    1. Keep it concise.

    Your cover letter should be no longer than one page. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make it easy to read. Avoid using technical jargon that the hiring manager may not understand. Keep your language simple, concise, and to the point.

    1. End with a strong closing.

    End your cover letter with a strong closing that summarizes why you’re the best fit for the job and expresses your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Reiterate your interest in the company and the position and let the hiring manager know that you’re excited to hear back from them.

    In conclusion, a compelling cover letter can make all the difference in landing your dream IT job. By following these tips, you can create a cover letter that showcases your skills, experience, and personality, and convinces the hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Good luck!

  • Reaearch Your New Job

    Find Jobs With The Right IT Companies And Stand Out From The Crowd As A Non-native Speaker Of English 

    How To Find A Good IT Company and show your paying attention 

    Your first job out of college is already behind you. You landed your first dream job in your career field, and you couldn’t be happier! Right? 

    But now what? Well, that’s the easy part. Maybe you found your dream job, but the company seems a little shaky, they don’t want to invest in their workforce and you know for career progression you need to move on.

    The hard part comes when you realise that the company you chose offers little in terms of resources to assist you in developing your career and your most valuable asset, your knowledge of English. It’s not that they don’t want to help you, but rather, they are too short sighted to see how much potential you have.

    So where do you turn?

    Well, your job is to find a way to stand out from the crowd as a non-native speaker of English. And one of the best ways to do this is by thoroughly researching your next company. If you are able to demonstrate that you know this company inside and out you will be able to stand head and shoulders above other native English speakers who lack the depth of knowledge and cultural understanding you have. 

    As a result, we’ve compiled tips to help you thoroughly research companies before your interview. Remember though, every interview is a chance for you to practise and hone your skills for when the big opportunity comes. 

     

    WHY RESEARCHING THE COMPANY IS IMPORTANT

    When you are applying for a new job, there are a few things you should always consider, such as the location, salary, work environment and benefits.

    However, you should also take a moment to look at the company itself. After all, you can’t apply for a job without interviewing the company. You should check for example the company’s profile and prestige, the work culture and ethics, their stance on corporate social responsibility (CSR), their benefits and career development. When you research a company thoroughly, you will feel like you are interviewing them.

    Why?

    Well, if you understand a company, then it is easier to understand how they operate. Therefore, you’ll have a better idea of whether the company is right for you.

    Furthermore, you’ll know if they’re the type of company you’d like to work for. You may feel that a company is not suitable for you, even though they offer a good salary, but this isn’t the case.

    You just need to know why.

    And this is why it’s so important to do your research. Because once you have the full picture of the company, you’ll have the upper hand.

    START WITH THE COMPANY WEBSITE: WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND HOW TO NAVIGATE

    Start with the company website: what to look for and how to navigate

    If you’re new to the industry, you’ll quickly learn that companies can come in all shapes and sizes.

    It’s often difficult to identify whether you’re speaking to a small business, medium-sized company or a large corporation, and that’s why you need to start with the company’s website.

    When you visit the site, your goal is to find out as much about the company as possible. The more you can learn about them, the easier it will be for you to make a strong impression.

    Here are four things you should look for on a company website:

    1. Company Mission Statement

    What is the company’s mission? What do they do and why?

    2. Contact Information

    Where can you find the company’s contact information?

    3. Industry

    What is the company’s main focus and does this align with your own?

    4. Company Structure

    What does the company’s structure and work ethic look like? Is the company stiff and corporate like IBM in the 90’s or does the company give free lunches and allow you to work on your own projects like Google? 

    A good place to start is with the company’s mission statement. The mission statement will give you an idea of what the company values and what they stand for. This will help you to gauge whether you like them or not.

    Next, you’ll want to check out their contact information. Is the company clear and honest about their contact info or are they shady AF? Remember a genuine company would be honest about their real address and should never use a gmail / hotmail / yahoo etc. email address.

    Finally, you’ll want to look at the company’s focus. You can look at the company’s website, or you can simply ask a friendly employee if they know about the company. it is important to check if the focus and mission statement of the companies align with your own. 

    Pro tip: You can try to find employees in the company you wish to apply for through social media such as Linkedin. Send a message stating you are applying for the company and would like to ask about their experience at the company. If you follow this route don’t forget to be friendly and be honest about your intentions you could also make a powerful ally.

    COMPANY CULTURE: HOW TO ASSESS WHETHER YOU’RE A GOOD FIT

    It’s no secret that a company’s culture is an integral part of the employee experience.

    Many employees don’t do their research before joining a company and therefore struggle for years to fit into the company, sometimes even decades, before they can say they feel truly “at home”.

    Research shows that only 20% of employees are “highly satisfied” with their current jobs. Of course any company can slowly go down hill but it is essential that you know the company culture before you join. 

    One of the easiest ways to gauge this is by reading about the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

    A CSR program is a formalised set of business practices designed to improve the communities in which the company operates. This community includes the customers, the supplies, the local community, the country and most importantly the EMPLOYEES! 

    It can range from donating to charities, sponsoring educational programs, employee benefits programs or even setting up a green energy project.

    If you’re interested in finding a company with a strong CSR program, check out: https://www.top10corp.com/corp-culture

    As you can see, a CSR program is a great way to figure out if a company has a great workplace culture.  

    SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE PRESENCE: HOW TO FIND AND EVALUATE THE COMPANY’S DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

    Social media and online presence: how to find and evaluate the company’s digital footprint

    Doing an online search can be a time-consuming process, but there are a few sites that can help you out and save you a ton of time.

    Firstly, you should have a look at their social media presence. While you may think you know everything about the company, if you’ve never checked the Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even YouTube accounts you may be missing out on a few crucial details.

    These platforms provide insight into what the company values, who they are targeting, what problems they are trying to solve and what products they are selling.

    They also allow you to find out who is speaking about the company and how often. For example, you may find that the CEO tweets about once a week, while the CTO tweets once a day. This is important to note because you can see how connected and revolutionary they company is and it could affect your decision to join the company 

    Secondly, check the company’s web presence. While it’s tempting to skip straight to the company’s website, you’ll benefit from other sources of information such as social media first.

    If you’re going to be speaking to an employee through Linkedin or a representative of the company, you’ll want to have your questions or queries ready so check out the social media and website. Current employees can tell you (or let slip) the truth about a company.

    INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: UNDERSTANDING THE COMPANY’S PLACE IN THE IT LANDSCAPE

    With a simple Google search, you can easily determine the size of a company. What makes them interesting is knowing what they are good at.

    I’m not saying you should target a specific position within a company, because that’s not always possible.

    But if you’re interested in a company that has a specific product that you are interested in, make sure you understand what they are good at.

    You may notice that you’re interviewing at a large company, but they have a niche product that only a few companies offer. This might be a case of the company being too large for its own good. it might mean there is little opportunity for you to grow and develop in your professional career. 

    If you find yourself in this situation, you may have to weigh up whether you want to take a risk on a big company with a single product you are less familiar with or go with a smaller company that has more diversity.

    PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING: LEVERAGING YOUR NETWORK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY

    Networking with professionals in your industry can provide valuable insights and opportunities for job seekers. Here are some tips on how to leverage your network to learn more about IT companies:

    • Start by identifying connections in your network who may be able to offer insights on the companies you’re interested in. This could include former colleagues, classmates, or industry contacts.
    • Reach out to these connections via email or social media to express your interest in the company and ask if they have any insights or advice to share.
    • Consider attending industry events or virtual meetups where you can connect with other professionals in your field. This is a great way to expand your network and learn more about industry trends and opportunities.
    • Utilise professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to search for contacts who work at the companies you’re interested in. You can then send them a message to ask for an informational interview or to simply learn more about the company.
    • Keep in mind that not all contacts may be able to offer job leads or insider information. However, even a simple conversation can help you gain a better understanding of the company culture and industry trends.
    • Don’t forget to thank your contacts for their time and insights. Building strong relationships with your network can help you in your career over the long term.

    Remember, professional networking is a two-way street. Be sure to offer your own insights and assistance to your contacts whenever possible, and don’t hesitate to pay it forward when you can.

    GLASSDOOR

    When you’re looking for a new job, there’s no better resource than the review system provided by Glassdoor and other similar websites.

    Reviews provide an unparalleled source of data for helping you find new employers and making the right choice. Review systems give you a detailed breakdown of the workplace, including employee feedback, performance ratings, and reviews written by current and former employees.

    You can also use reviews to learn more about the company you are considering, including the culture, the challenges and problems they face, and employee demographics.

    As a result, you’ll be well-informed about both the opportunity and your prospective employer before you decide whether or not to accept the position.

    PREPARING TO DISCUSS YOUR RESEARCH IN THE INTERVIEW: TIPS AND STRATEGIES.

    Start planning early

    It doesn’t matter if you’re at the beginning of your career, or already have a stable and successful job, the chances are you’ll find yourself in a position where you’re underpaid and overworked. It is best to start thinking about your options before you reach this point.

    If you’re looking for a better salary or a less crappy company you’re already too late. However, don’t despair. By following the tips from this blog you’ll be in a much better place to find a good company to work for. 

    Find out what they’re looking for. Doing your homework on your next potential employer before the interview is important because they’re going to be evaluating you as a potential hire.

    By doing your research you can flip the tables and make sure you are putting the focus on the company and make sure they deserve to hire you!

    FINAL WORDS

    It is no secret that to land great positions at international companies or companies with international teams it is important to be able to speak English as a software developer. 

    I know it can be scary, difficult and challenging to interview in English but with the right research and preparation you can be the interviewer and find the company that is right for you. When you have the research the questions you want to ask come easily. 

    Good luck in your future endeavours and If you would like help with your English Interviews please Contact me at tim.wells@itenglishrocket.com or by using the contact form on this site. 

  • (no title)

    Interview 101: How to Handle Common IT Interview Scenarios Like a Pro

    If you’re an IT professional looking for a new job, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the importance of having a positive interview experience. But what does this mean? What exactly does an interviewer look for in a candidate, and how can you make sure your answers will impress them? The good news is that there are several common scenarios that come up in most interviews. These include: understanding the needs and goals of the interviewer; overcoming language barriers; demonstrating your technical skills; answering behavioural questions like “Tell me about yourself”; knowing when to follow up after interviews have concluded; and finally, knowing how to handle different types of interview questions.

    Remember an interview is a marathon not a sprint! You might not be successful at your first interview but you can learn from the experience and refine your interview skills for the next one. Practice makes perfect and failure is an opportunity to learn, refine and improve.  

    1. Understanding the needs and goals of the interviewer. 

    The first step in any interview is understanding the needs and goals of the interviewer. In order to do this, you’ll need to know:

    • What they’re looking for in an employee or candidate?
    • How can your skills and experience help them achieve their goals?
    • What are some common pitfalls that have prevented people from getting hired in the past?

    How can you help them avoid these pitfalls? In order to be successful in any interview, it’s important to understand the needs and goals of the interviewer. Always remember the interviewer is concerned about making themselves look good to their bosses and is looking to hire the best person for the job on offer they will always be thinking “This guy or girl is great but what can they do for me?” In order to do this, you’ll need to know: What are they looking for in an employee or candidate? How can your skills and experience help them achieve their goals? What are some common pitfalls that have prevented people from getting hired in the past? Do your research, look online and network with people from the company to find out what they are looking for.

    2. Overcoming language barriers. 

    If you’re not a native English speaker, you may have to deal with language barriers during your interview. While it can be intimidating at first, there are ways you can overcome this obstacle and ensure that your message is communicated clearly.

    • Speak slowly
    • Use simple words and phrases
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification if necessary! It’s better for everyone involved if everyone understands each other well enough so that no one has any doubts about what was said or what needs to happen next in the process (and who knows? This might even lead into some great conversation!)

    Try to find out where your interviewer is from (USA, UK, India etc,) and try to watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts of people from this region. This will really help you to train your ears and be able to understand different accents and pronunciations before your interview. 

    3. How would you describe your ideal software development position?

    You should use this opportunity to emphasise your interest in the company, its culture and mission. You’ll want to show that you are serious about getting a job with them, so talk about what makes you excited about working there.

    For example: “I’ve been reading about your company and was impressed with the work that you do on XYZ and ABC. I think it would be great if I could contribute my expertise in [insert relevant skill] by helping build new features for [insert product name].” by demonstrating you know the company and the products you’ll be able to stand head and shoulders above other candidates.

    4. Tell me about a time…

    There’s nothing like a good story to illustrate a point, and this is no exception. A good way to answer this question is by telling a story about a time when you learned something new on the job. Talk about how that experience helped develop your skills or knowledge as an employee, and then describe how those new skills can benefit the company if they hire you.

    For example: Tell me about a time when you experienced a problem in a project?  “I remember when I first started working at [Company Name] as a software developer. Shortly after launch our client discovered a bug in the software. I lead a team where we investigated the bug and brainstormed ideas of solutions. Within 6 hours we had identified and corrected the bug and the client was ecstatic with the results.”

    Try to memorise two or three stories which you can alter on the fly to fit the scenario you are being asked. These stories should be able to help you to demonstrate how you have been able to overcome challenges and technical problems or how you have been able to work with team members. A good story will be able to fit into any of these situations. 

    5. How well do you work in teams?

    This is a question that employers ask because teamwork is essential to IT. It’s also important in the workplace and in life, but let’s stick with IT for now! If you’re asked this question during an interview, it means your interviewer wants to get at how well you work with others and whether or not they think you could fit into their team.

    One thing that can help here is knowing what makes up a good team environment–and what doesn’t make one great. For example:

    • Communication needs to be open and honest (no secrets!).
    • Everyone should be able to contribute ideas without fear of judgement or reprisal from other members of the group (including managers).
    • Teams should have shared goals so everyone knows where they are going together as well as individually within those goals.”

    Remember, your job is to demonstrate that you have team working skills and empathy for your team members even if you don’t have any! For the duration of the interview and for your probation period, you need to show that you can work as an effective member of a team.You need to demonstrate your understanding for the greater good of the collective (just like the Borg).

    6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

    This question is one of the most common interview questions, and the interviewer isn’t really asking you to reveal your deepest darkest secrets. Rather it is a chance for you to demonstrate that you know yourself and you are constantly working to improve and up your skills. The interviewer wants you to demonstrate you are self aware and can be self critical and show you are working to overcome the challenges.

    This is one of the most difficult questions to answer in an interview because 1 usually we find it difficult to blow our own trumpets and praise ourselves and 2 because it is hard to focus on our weaknesses. 

    For the strengths let your skills and experiences speak for themselves. Remember to highlight your biggest contributions to past projects and how you helped the team. It is best if you can highlight key statistics or quantifiable gains. 

    For your weaknesses as a non-native English speaker you have a get out of jail card! A secret weapon that Native English speakers don’t have! You’re already on the road to success whilst others cry into their anime pillows. 

    In interviews many of my clients have said as their biggest weakness is confidence in understanding English not from the UK or the USA, e.g. South African, Indian, Indonesian etc. (but highlight how awesome you are in the English being used in the interview!). To overcome this they say they are taking English classes with a platform or English teacher and listening to English from around the world regularly to boost their confidence in understanding non-traditional English accents and pronunciations. 

    7. Is there anything else that we should know about you?

    You should be prepared for this question. It’s a good idea to have some talking points ready, so you can give a thoughtful answer that reflects well on yourself.

    Here are some ideas:

    • Ask for feedback on your performance and what you could do better next time. You might find out where the interviewer thought there were gaps in your knowledge or skills, which could help improve how prepared you are before the next interview. Try asking “Is there anything I missed that you’d like to know about?” If you feel like the interview went badly you could ask “What are the areas I need to concentrate on?” This will give you vital feedback to concentrate on for the next interview. 
    • Ask if the interviewer has any advice about interviewing in general–for example, “What is one thing that people often forget when they’re preparing?” Or even better: “What do employers look for in an ideal candidate?” This will help give context around why they asked this particular question (and may also give some insight into what sort of person they think would be best suited for the role).

    If you feel like there are any skills or experiences you have had which didn’t come up in the interview this is the best time to mention this. Again focus on quantifiable results such as project results, improvements, bug fixes etc. 

    IT interviews can be challenging, but knowing what to expect and preparing for them will help you ace them.

    • Prepare in advance.
    • Practice answering questions.
    • Be positive and confident, but don’t overdo it! Don’t be afraid to show your personality if you have one, but also don’t try too hard to make a joke or come across as too goofy or quirky if that’s not who you are naturally (and definitely don’t try too hard–it will probably backfire).
    • Be honest about your weaknesses; employers want someone who can admit when they need help and work with others as part of a team, so being able to admit when something isn’t going well is an important skill for any job candidate to have! Try not to shy away from this question–if anything, consider it an opportunity for you both: What kind of training could the company provide? How would they help me improve in this area? Or perhaps there are other ways that I can demonstrate my strengths elsewhere within the organisation…

    We hope that you’re now better prepared to face your next IT interview. Remember, it’s important to be yourself and show your potential employer that you’re the right person for the job. Good luck! And if you need any help preparing for your interview please contact me at tim.wells@itenglishrocket.com or via the contact form here.