International Students: How to Fix The
“English” Problem and Get Your Dream Jobs (Part 1)

International Students: How to Fix the
“English” Problem and Get Your Dream Jobs
(Part 1)

Written by Thanh Quach @thanhquach

March 2, 2021 (Updated)

(2 minutes read)

English Problem Job

“ESL (English as a second language) must be the reason, I can’t compete with those local candidates who write and speak English perfectly. And I can’t improve my English in a short period of time so I am not sure even if I get an interview, I can pass it or not. I am kind of like Tom Cruise, ya know, and getting an entry-level finance/accounting job is my Mission Impossible” – Andy was upset and depressed after 1 month into the job search.

He felt worthless because it’s just another day that he received tons of email rejections, no interview. As an international student who just graduated with an accounting degree, he told me:

“But I really need a professional accounting job man cuz I am so tired of my part-time job at the restaurant where they treat me like 21st century labor slave”

I don’t want him to spend the next 3 years working at that restaurant, until his work permit expires and he will just go back to China. I used to be like him and I am sure that he is good enough to do an entry-level accounting job. So, I started to ask him some questions:

“Does any employer really tell you that your English is not good enough for the job?”

“No, they just sent out rejection email, sometimes no response at all.”

“Then why do you think ESL is the problem?”

“Because I can’t speak English perfectly man, and local students can do that perfectly, so they must prefer to work with them, not me.”

English is a problem

Just like Andy, I used to fear the “English” problem when I was looking for my 1st job after graduation a few years ago. The “English” problem really made me feel not confident in everything from talking to people to submitting a job application. I used to blame the “English” problem when the job application didn’t turn out the way I expected, which meant no interview.

At first, I felt good because I had “something” to blame: it was not about me, it was about these employers who just prefered perfect English and they couldn’t see my talents. My friends (who were also unemployed) agreed with me 200%. That made me feel even better.

But, the cold hard truth then hit me: I still got no job and I realized that I was in a dead-end circle:

Having no job —> Making excuse: blaming “English” problem —> Feeling good for a while —> Feeling like sh*t because I got no job —> Blaming “English” is a problem.   


Making excuse

Now I knew that making an excuse would get me nowhere. I needed to solve the “English” problem.

no more excuse

Just like Andy, I tried to search on Google, went to career center to fix resume, but nothing really worked.

But I desperately needed a job, there must be a way out.

So I came up with a plan, I would hunt down all ESL people who already got professional jobs with banks, then I just asked them how they did it with their not-so-good English, hopefully  they could teach me how to fix the “English” problem.

How could I do that? Please follow Part 2 below 🙂

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