Phrases to not say at work

Workplace should never tolerate racism, harassment, or any negative behaviour traits, be it in physical or oral form because the consequences will not only affect employees’ morale but also the company’s image. However, this principle might not be easier said than done when the very place you want to scream over tough project and difficult teammates is in the office. It is not easy to always control emotions in a work setting when we are too tired or too happy.

To prevent you from saying pointless and even harsh things, you need to avoid these unethical phrases when at work, during a meeting, or conversation with colleagues. 

“This is boring” 

It is exhausting to sit for a long hour during meetings, especially in a meeting that “seems” like a waste of time. When you’re stuck in such a situation, never complain or say things like “this is boring” – either loudly or quietly to colleagues. Don’t also murmur those words by yourself. If you do that, your boss might think that you are unable to stay committed and focus on certain things. 

Instead of saying phrases similar to “this is boring”, you can talk to your manager the next day or after the meeting about how you feel. Tell him that while the meeting is necessary, it took too long that it ended up interrupting everyone from working. If your boss is a good leader, he will listen to your feedback and do something about it. 

See also: Backstabber at Work: The Signs and What Should You Do About It

“I was doing this and that and … during my weekend” 

Sharing is caring but this does not apply when your boss or HR ask you the question “what did you do on the weekends or holidays?”. Revealing too much about what you did on your personal time could be a boomerang in the future. Even if you do productive things, revealing too much to your employers and coworkers might not be good for your work-life balance. Therefore, you can say one or two things about your personal matter but don’t go into details. To make it more polite, you need to thank your boss or HR for asking about your weekend. 

“It is not my fault” 

Having a job means you are ready for every responsibility that awaits you. Although certain task might not be under your liability, sometimes you are required to take responsibility for it. When your boss comes asking you about a project, never say “it is not my job to take”. Or, when your manager asks you to revise something that is not under your job desc, don’t say “it is not my fault so I won’t do it”. This indicates that you are blaming other people and are hostile or defensive. This can be bad for your personal image.

Instead of saying such things and making yourself look childish and irresponsible, you can tell your boss that you can help take a look at the project and revise it. Yet, when your plate is full already, you can ask your boss for an extended time to do the most important thing first. Alternatively, you can discuss the project with the person who did it but of course, acknowledge your manager first about it. 

“Thanks, hon”

This line is a little bit of a grey line. Calling someone with “baby or honey” will make it look offensive and even sexist. Especially in a workplace where people of diversity work together, these words might be interpreted differently. Remember, how you speak and communicate can change the workplace and work relationship flow. So, be careful with how you call your teammates and bosses. 

“Are you sure you can do this with your condition right now? 

When you ask the question to a coworker after medical treatment, it might sound caring. Yet, never throw the question to employees with disabilities or ill-body. This could mean you are underestimating them. Don’t say phrases that indicate racism or harassment such as “because you are black/Asian/white/having slanted eyes, you have no friends here”, or “You cannot do that with that body” as well. 

Read also: How to Tell: Are You in the Wrong Career, or Just Lazy?

question to ask yourself

Nearly every recruiter (99.4 percent) will be recruiting on campus, according to Nace survey. From the job outlook, recruiters are open to hiring graduates or experienced employees. They also focus on hiring both full-time and intern. 

Are you ready for the workforce, then? 

Well, no one feels 100 percent ready for what’s coming next, especially when it is something new. After years of studying in college, it is time for you to put your knowledge into practice and step into the working world either becoming a full-time, intern or self-employed worker. The problem is, facing a new environment with endless possibilities can make the job search unnerving, maybe even overwhelming. 

When such feeling happens, you should keep one thing in perspective in order to follow the light: know thyself. In search of jobs, you must understand what you truly desire so you don’t have to deal with a job you actually hate. Just like an old saying, “Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”

In preparing yourself to commence a career journey, ask these vital questions to yourself first. Think about the answers sincerely and most importantly, follow your gut feelings. 

Quest #1  Do you have a plan? 

Be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly planning, do you have it? If no, make one now. The plan is your first leap to a successful career and life as having a plan helps lead you to something that you hope for a.k.a your goals. For example, if you expect to land a job in the same year of graduation, then you need to include resume crafting as well as skill development in your plan. If your goal is to be fit all day, your plan can include a healthy diet and exercise. Whatever it is, planning is a good way to help you focus and stay out of procrastination. 

Yet, don’t rely on those plans too much. Life always offers a fun way of teaching us a lesson, therefore, be flexible with your plan. 

Quest #2  Where do you want to work? 

This could be included in your plan but more specific. When applying for your first job, there is a lot of things you should consider. For example, do you prefer to work with actual coworkers or alone in your comfort? Do you want a traditional work hour or manage your own schedule? In terms of office environment, do you want to work in an open office or a cubicle setting? 

All the considerations can determine how you want to live your life as when you are working, most of your time will be spent there. Picture your ideal workplace or employer. When you are done, write down the things that are most important to help you bring the job search into focus. 

Quest #3  How is your online presence? 

Undeniably, technology has helped a recruiter to be more cautious about the candidates they choose. Today, nearly every recruiter (60 percent) won’t only look at your physical resume, but also your online presence such as in social media. That said, your social media can determine whether you will be accepted in the company you wish to work for or not. 

So, is your social media clean from negative posts? How about your comments and shared media? You can start fixing your social media feeds from today, search for the work culture of your dream employers and start posting something that aligns with their work culture. This will likely boost the chance of getting a job offer. 

Quest #4  Does your targeted employer match with your personal values? 

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organisation. Core values dictate behaviour and can help an individual understand the difference between right and wrong. In an organisation, core values help companies determine if they are on the right path and achieving their goals by creating an unwavering guide. Core values also determine how companies do what they do to achieve success. 

When your core values and your targeted company’s core values align, harmony can easily be created. When harmony exists, engagement and productivity tend to rise. On the contrary, when core values clash, you will be an unhappy and disgruntled employee. Needless to say, you might not be the prospective candidate that the recruiter looks for. 

Hopefully, those questions guide you to get the right and a perfect job you always dream of. Good luck!

Read also: 3 Valuable Things TO DO When You are Unemployed That Can Make Your Life Better

How to Build Successful Remote Career 

Many individuals, maybe including you, would agree that an option to work remote is a big yes when it comes to achieving better work-life balance. When you have good time management, building a remote career would give a huge advantage as you can travel to places you love without having to ask permission from supervisors. Working remote also ensures satisfaction in life because you can say goodbye to boring office routine and everyday cubicle office view. 

Unfortunately, working remote is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are times when working remotely would make you feel excluded from the team. You get less face-to-face time with coworkers, are unable to get an after-work connection with the in-house team, or are unable to meet the C-Suite directly to discuss important things. 

See also: Think Twice: Are You Ready to be a Remote Worker?

That being said, a remote career can be both fun and challenging. Yet, if you are keen to build a career as a remote worker, here are four tips you can take. Afterall, doing what you love can turn difficulty into an opportunity. Good luck! 

Success remote career starts with a remote-first company 

Remote-first company is an industry that allows and supports its employees to work remotely – meaning that an employer is a determiner in your successful remote career. A study from HBR showed that it is easy for remote workers to feel left out if they don’t work for a company that has taken measures to build trust and connection between their on-site and remote employees. Therefore, as a first step, choose employers that best support remote workers. Appen and Lionbridge rank first and second in the top 100 best companies with remote jobs in 2019 as per FlexJobs survey

Stay connected with the in-house team 

Time gap often becomes a great barrier for remote employees, especially when they live in different time zones. When it is noon in your place, it can be early morning or night in the headquarter company. Hence, real-time communication might be hard to achieve. Yet, it should not be your reason to give up. 

For that reason, you need to have effective verbal and written communication skills. This skill can help you gain trust and transparency. Writing, in this case, is the utmost importance because an in-house team often cannot be contacted face-to-face or on-call due to time gap or a different schedule. That said, it is essential to be a great writer when walking a remote career path. 

Use the time challenges for a solution 

Albeit the time zone is a huge challenge, if you can use it wisely, it can be an opportunity to show your skills. You can use the different time creatively to solve problems when everyone is asleep and you are the only one awake. 

Constantly improve yourself 

Another thing to successfully working remotely is to use the advantage of working away from the cubicle office to stay up to date with a different point of view that can shape your creativity in both personal and professional perspective. As you are out of the office routine, you can always have more time to expand your knowledge. You have the power and flexibility to do your best deep work, invest in your career growth, and build meaningful professional relationships with people and professionals around you. 

Read also: Difference between Remote Work and Telecommuting

3 Valuable Things TO DO When You are Unemployed That Can Make Your Life Better

Have you ever heard of this old adage, “Empty wallet, a broken heart, and hungry stomach are three best lessons in life”?

Being unemployed and having limited financial resources to live on a.k.a broke are two bad things in life. You can’t either pay for rent or fulfil your daily needs. You might even need to sell the most valuable things you have such as a phone or laptop to keep on living. In other words, you are just trying to survive from one day to another.

However, stop selling your stuff and go hungry (for a few days). It is not to say that you cannot eat at all, there must be leftover bread or cola that you can much at home. There are good chances that you read this article on your smartphone or laptop, which means that you have internet access, right? And when you click the title, it means you are trying to change yourself to be better. Probably, you want to get a job that can turn your life upside-down. Yet, everyone agrees that landing a job can be tough, especially for someone who lacks experience.

Here are 3 things to do when you are broke and unemployed that hopefully can change your life 180 degrees. Enjoy the process!

Thing #1 Get employed

This might sound ridiculous but seriously, get a job. An old granny would say having a low dead-end job is better than no job at all. Besides, a low-paying job can help you survive at least to help you have a full stomach. Find out here for some jobs that require no degree but pay enough.

Having those jobs will likely boost your chance of getting better employment as you can prove to recruiters that you are a person who doesn’t easily give up. That is a big investment for your future career.

See also: Fatal Mistakes New Hires Do in Their First Jobs

Thing #2 Write and write

You might consider yourself as a “bad” writer. You can also argue that this is not your niche and this is not a job you can do. But you should rethink that because writing can be your golden ticket to change your life.

For example, do you know Nicolas Cole? He began writing when he was 17 years old. He started his journey from free platform Quora by answering questions. It took him around 1 year and more to reach millions of upvote, views, and follower. Now, he is the founder of Digital Press. 

Thus, if you are still unemployed and willing to change your life, start your own writing journey. Write for free blogs such as medium, Quora, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Develop your own interest topic and share them with the world. After you develop your own writing niche, you can start professional writing for professional blogs such as Forbes or Fortune. All these can build up your individual reputation. 

BUT remember, all these writing journeys should be accompanied by reading habit. You should be knowledgeable first before anything else.

Thing #3 Volunteer

The next option, you can do volunteer’s work in an institution. It won’t produce money but it does improve your skills, happiness, and life insight. For example, if you do the kind act to veteran shelter, you will have valuable insight about life. Old people do like sharing stories and they are wiser. If you volunteer for a natural environment organisation, you can have a healthier life and knowledge about how to improve the environment.

By volunteering as well, you can also get nice ideas to probably start your own business. You can also leverage your network which is important to your future career.

“When you least expect it, something great will come along. Something better than you ever planned for. Be patient. Be smart. Stay focused.” 

Read also: If You Like Travelling, These Jobs ARE For You

business taxation and politics

Politics refers to the way a country is governed and how its government makes rules and laws for the citizens. Meanwhile, taxation refers to the practice of government collecting money from citizens based on their earnings and property to pay for public services. Without taxation, a country might not have public libraries, parks, or public transport.

Politics, tax, and government can be said as the backbone of any country. The problem is, from news and updates we often learn that these three things can be the most controversial topics that put headache to people, making them ignorant with their country’s political situation or taxation issues.

See also: 7 Top Languages You Should Learn to Face Future Workforce

What about you? How important is getting updated about politics and taxation to you?

Jonathan Dolen, an online political science professor at Grantham University, said that “the subjects” might be totally not glamorous for some and people might also be apathetic toward it. Yet, there are three major reasons why you should totally care about politics. Here’s why:

Reason #1 Politics impact nearly every aspect of your life

Politics impacts nearly every aspect of life because the laws government made have a huge influence in the way we do daily activities, ranging from what the price of food material at stores, the salary we earn, to what we can purchase. By having knowledge on this topic, you can help determine the best course of action for yourself or your surroundings.

Further, by understanding politics, you will have better knowledge about taxation rules and regulations, thus, helping you prepare for the worst. For example, when the government increases the tax on a certain car, you can calculate if buying the car is worth it and suitable for your lifestyle.

Especially as an employee, said Tim Worstall, you should understand taxation better as it allows you to not be misdirected. As an example, employees constantly believe that they are responsible for paying certain tax while in reality, it is the company that is responsible to pay the tax. Therefore, to really understand how the business system works, you need to understand how taxation works.

Reason #2 Politics help you become a better voter

Having knowledge of politics helps make you an informed voter because it is important to go to the polls armed with the facts so you will not choose wrong. In addition, being an informed individual, according to Dolen, should not necessarily read and follow every news. Instead, you should do some independent research which will give you peace of mind that you have done your homework prior to casting your ballot.

Reason #3 Politics are entertaining

Some people believe that politics can be entertaining. Well, it might not be as entertaining as going out with your friends, but politics can be fun to some extent. You can stay ahead in your social status and include yourself in an insightful debate about political issues and scandal. 

Read also: Best Countries for Expats to Work and Raise More Pocket Money

Smart “Rate-Setting” Tips for Freelancers

Note: Rate-setting is how you rate yourself in a freelance platform to make yourself stand out among other freelancers.

Why doing a freelance job?

There is no doubt that being a freelance can give you the privilege of working at your most convenient time in your most favourite place. More than that, freelance job allows you to set your own standard income and get paid immediately after completing the tasks. The key to this matter, however, is that you should set your salary expectation based on your skills and familiarity with the tasks you enrol.

See also: How to Balance Your College and Work-life When You are a Freelancer

Getting clients as a freelancer

One of the biggest obstacles of being a newbie in the gig era is to get your first client. Getting a client as a new freelancer is not easy and a frustrating situation. First, you don’t have enough testimonials to showcase your skill credibility. Second, many companies are not willing to take a chance on someone who is still green, who is very fresh to join the freelancing world. They would rather find someone who is proven to be successful before.

Smart-rating to get your first client

Thankfully, you can shoo away the headache of getting the first client as a green freelancer by boosting your rating. Laura Pennington Briggs in her book quoted that rate-setting is important for freelancers to stand above the crowd and let hirers know their position.

To set rating that can differentiate you from others but still under your control is by thinking about your overall experience and knowledge of the business market, especially the area in which you are expert in. Generally, said Laura, factors that will influence your rates are as follows:

  • Your experience in the field or the writing world
  • The technical expertise or amount of research required for the project
  • The estimated time to complete the project
  • Whether other aspects of your time, like conducting interviews, will be part of the project
  • The length of the project

Most experienced writers’ charges will depend entirely on their preference, the industry, and the client’s willingness to accept that rate. Most freelancers start their career online with hourly rates and few charges per page.

Hourly rate, nevertheless, is tricky in the freelancing world because freelancer might work longer on the project. Thus, clients are often hesitant about hiring someone who appears too slow even if the time involved is perfectly reasonable. Yet, finishing the project too fast will also get penalised. This means that an hourly rate is a good starting point for creating an estimate, but it is not something most professionals rely on over the long run.

When you have your baseline price, you have a number to begin working with. Each project will be different, and you might also wish to reward clients who are hiring you for multiple projects or who are putting you on retainer.

Another important point is, according to Laura in her book, to consider your goal with your freelance business. If it is simply for a side hustle and additional income, the hourly rate might not be as important to you as someone who is attempting to replace their full-time job.

You should also remember that not every hour you will be working is a billable one. You might spend a lot of time marketing to clients as well as time doing administrative tasks such as submitting invoices. Likewise, you probably won’t work every week of the year since you will need to take some sick time and vacation days. Therefore, adjust your rate accordingly.

Read also: A to D Tips to be a Productive Freelancer

Fatal Mistakes New Hires Do in Their First Jobs

Congratulations on your first job! As exciting as it could be, starting a new job and stepping into the professional world of work can be tricky and daunting, especially when you are still finding your sea legs in a new position.

As a newcomer, you might find it hard to adapt to a new role and environment. In fact, according to an article in Training Industry Quarterly, it takes at least 1 to 2 years before an employee is fully productive and able to get used to their new position. That means, during your first month, you might make mistakes that could be fatal to your professional reputation.

To avoid this, it is crucial for you to stay informed with common fatal mistakes a new hire makes in their first month.

X Falling in love with the company more than the job

We all have that exciting feeling when signing a job contract in a dream company. However, you should not be carried away with that happiness. During the first month, try to enjoy and do as much as a job you can and take credit for it. The company you are working might offer so much comfort, nap pods, healthy diets, or other perks that make you fall in love with them. But, remember, self-development does not come from comfort, in fact, they are built from a pile of barriers and challenges.

The point is, you should not focus on comfort if you want to gain career progression.

X Always follow instructions

As a newcomer, you might find it difficult to voice your opinion and ideas, however, you should speak them up anyway. While your manager might know a lot about the field of industry, always saying yes to his instruction indicates that you have a lack of innovation, which could be bad for your self-image. Besides, your manager does not “know-it-all”, he might end up assigning you to an unclear task or give unclear instructions, which could negatively affect your wellbeing. Thus, voicing your own expectation is needed. 

X Not asking for help and feedback

Being “the new guy” does not come easy. Asking for help and feedback could probably two of the most difficult things to do in a strange land of working place. You might think that asking for help can be perceived as incompetence and incapable individual that might result negatively in your new professional career.

You have to throw that thought away, nevertheless, because not asking for help or feedback could result in negative thoughts. You are still new and might lack knowledge about your new role, thus, not asking for help or feedback can stress you out. In addition, your peers and managers might also think that you don’t need help, are very antisocial, and do not open for collaboration.

X Treating work project like school assignments

You can do your university assignments on its due date but doing the same to work project is a fatal mistake. During your university life, doing a mistake in your assignment will result in a bad grade. While in the workplace, making mistakes can be seen as a fatal and incompetent behaviour. You should also acknowledge that a work project is much harder than “school assignments” as it might require more time to accomplish. Besides, the end results can sometimes ambiguous and you often need to find a solution yourself. Relying on co-worker or manager might not be really helpful as they have their own duty so they might not have time to focus on helping you in your job.

X Doing project lazily 

This is your first month of probation and the employer closely watches your every move. So, never show a sign of laziness when doing your task. The tasks might be hard to complete which decrease your motivation to finish it. But remember, if they find out you are not competent and reliable today, you might no longer work there the next day.

X Isolating yourself

As the new guy, it is normal to feel uncertain about how you will fit in the environment. You might also find yourself uneasy to ask or talk to people and find yourself alone in the corner of the office or being too focused only on your tasks all the time. Please don’t do that.  

Isolating yourself is a sign of unwelcome behaviour. If you can’t openly express yourself due to uncertain feeling, you should as best as possible be “the tough and bold kid” – talk and be sociable as you can and make sure you don’t eat alone.

X Ignoring the corporate culture

The dress code, the dynamics and politics of a company is important. It shows the unique cultural code and sometimes, is used as a brand representation of an organisation. Thus, ignoring this part could lead to unacceptance of one’s behaviour. Ignoring the company’s cultural code can also make you stand out in a negative way. For example, former employees might think that you are given special treatment so they start to backbiting you or talking bad about you.

X Work too hard and beyond limitations

We were taught to go beyond our limits if we want to succeed. But a “limit” also has a limitation. If you want to be seen as a new diligent guy, that’s fine. But be mindful with your own health and condition. Asking for 5 days of sick leave in your first-month job does not seem “professional”.

Therefore, albeit it is your months of trial, you should set boundaries and expectations for yourself. You should also ask clear expectations from manager to avoid miscommunication.  

Read also: Key Skills Needed to Survive the 21st Century

Should You Bring Notes to An Interview? Dos and Don’ts

Feeling anxious about your next interview? Well, it is okay to bring that note with you.

Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert, said that it is totally fine to bring notes in your interview session. If it is your first job interview where the sense of anxiousness can be higher and at the same time, you need to show your professionalism, taking notes with you will demonstrate your readiness.

Moreover, bringing notes will also show the recruiter that you are genuinely interested in getting the job offered. It could be seen as a sign that you have done your homework and are ready to lead a meaningful discussion with a prospective employer.  

See also: STAR Principle to Overcome Interview Anxiety

Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions if you truly want to carry that little book with you, added Amanda. It is good to bring note but this action might turn into a nightmare if you bring notes that contain a key point of your response or how you plan to respond to certain questions. Some of you probably have prepared an answer of behavioural-based interview questions – questions that are asked to describe past behaviour in order to determine your suitable ability for a position. While it is good to prepare beforehand, bringing the “answer” note with you will totally mess up your chance to be accepted.

To such worst case happens, read these dos and don’ts guidelines before bringing notes to a job interview.

Do:

  • Ask permission before you take out your notes
  • Bring note of questions you want to ask regarding the company’s profile, your job description, or responsibility
  • Bring a note about research or work you have done to showcase or defend your answer 
  • Bring notes and pen to jot down any important information your interviewer tells you
  • Write interviewers’ name and email or phone number to send a thank you email to show how appreciative you are

Don’t:

  • Spend too much time looking at your notes. You are talking to the interviewer, not the note.
  • Bring a list of talking points or other snippets you have prepared for the interview
  • Bring too many notes about the company or question list. Remember! It will be more delighted in the eyes of an interviewer if you make preparation and practice rather than reading through pages. 

Read also: Got an Interview? Get Rid of These 9 Behaviours

All You Need to Know About Curriculum Vitae: The History

Occasionally known as a resume, a curriculum vitae is a document that summarises job seekers’ job history, academic qualifications, as well as personal skills. This piece of paper is so important for a job seeker to find a job and get hired. But why is CV so important?

A brief history of CV

Back in 1482, Leonardo Da Vinci had completed a written document outlining his skills to be sent to Duke of Milan. He wrote everything, including his experience of sculpturing, and building a bridge and cannon then he sent it to a prospective employer. 

After that, in the 1500s, the writing practice was adopted by travelling workers who wanted to introduce themselves to a local guildsman or lord for a job. That time, CVs were no more than informal handwritten scribbling made at interviews or meetings.

Then, in the 20th century, people began to include more information such as religion, marital status, and weight to their CVs to boost the chance of getting hired. In this century also, technology and information played a crucial role in modernising the CVs. 

And then, between the years of 1990 to 2010, the internet and technology played their role in advancing resumes. Technology companies at that time began to produce the first word processors that brought greater consistency to CV content. The commercial World Wide Web formed resources and directories for employers and employees to connect. And in 2013, LinkedIn launches a new web tool for job networking, thus popularising the trend of uploading online CVs. 

CV update

Resumes evolve from time-to-time, not only about the look but also the content. Before there were AI and advanced technology like today, resume would be simpler to create. But now, there are two rules for job seekers if they want to get shortlisted. Besides a creative and interesting display, the content of your CV such as experience or education must be more personal and be able to be read by both man and machine.

1. More personal CV

Hays CEO, Alistair Cox said that the nature of work is changing so should the nature of the CV. A well-written and well-structured CV can open doors for anyone who always thought would remain firmly closed. It can start conversations with people you never thought you’d ever be able to get airtime with. Importantly, a CV should remain a key tool in helping you land an interview for the job of your dreams. Thus, you should not be afraid to create a more personal CV than just a mere description of your experience. A CV should be your opportunity to communicate what you are passionate about and what drives you in your career.

2. Readable CV for human and machine

The second thing to remember is that technology is driving a lot of change in workplaces, including selection process of potential candidates. CVs are increasingly assessed not only by humans but machines too. Hence, you should be sure that your CV does include all the relevant keywords with job position you applied. Simple tips for you: 1) keep the format simple, 2) use correct keywords, and 3) avoid spelling mistakes. (Read here for more information to get your CV shortlisted by machine)

Read also: 5 Reliable & FREE Platforms to Craft Professional-Looking Resumes

English Proficiency Test: Why, What, and How to Prepare

Why should I have English certificate of proficiency?

A certificate of English proficiency is required when you want to pursue a higher degree overseas. If you browse on the internet what the most common language used in academic teaching internationally is – English is the answer. No wonder, no matter where you want to study, universities usually ask you to take an English proficiency test, such as TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, or CPE.

Having English certification will not only benefit you in terms of pursuing higher studies. When applying for a job, the certificate can prove to potential employers that you possess strong English skills – such that it will amplify your chance of getting hired because English is the most spoken language in businesses beside Mandarin or French. 

See also: Basic Requirements Needed to Work in Foreign Company

What should I learn TOEFL, IELTS, CPE or others?

There are numerous English tests to examine your language proficiency. But before taking one, you should understand that those tests are intended to give an official justification of you fitting into the system for either academic or working purposes.

For example, as cited in Project Access, if your purpose is to pursue an academic career or studies, CPE will suit better. IELTS will be so much necessary for visa purposes in Europe, Great Britain, and Australia, while TOEFL is for America. In terms of the expiry date, both IELTS and TOEFL certificates need to be renewed after 2 years, while CPE is valid for life.

On the other hand, if your purpose is for business or working matter, taking the TOEIC test is preferable. TOEIC is an English language test designed specifically to measure the language skills of people working in an international environment. The certificate is only valid for 2 years. 

If you are still unsure which tests to take, you could always ask your employer or university advisor. You could also get more information from the English test counsellor.  

What should I prepare for an English test?

This might not be your first time taking English language test. In fact, some colleges or universities hold IELTS or TOEFL test as a requirement for graduation. Yet, if you still feel a bit anxious about the test, here are preparations you can apply.

1. Get used to testing structure

Different tests have different formats. As an example, IELTS and TOEIC are paper-based tests while TOEFL and PTE Academic are taken on a computer. Albeit they examine the same competencies, including writing, speaking, listening, and reading, getting used to and comfortable with each form of a test you want to take is needed. It will give you ease when doing the real test.

2. Practice with additional test prep materials

English proficiency test uses information from various fields and by researching different source. Hence, you might feel more at ease if you prepare yourself by doing self-study. Read newspapers or books in English. Choose trusted courses which use a high level of English (either from books or online). Watch news or journalistic videos that cover different topics.

3. Know your ability and improve

In order to achieve your goal, you should know your ability and improve your weaknesses. In this case, get to know your English level. Identify which area you lack the most – is it reading, listening, speaking, grammar, or writing? Then, do learn all the skills but focus more on which you lack.

You might want to check your level on a trusted online platform such as British Council, Exam English, or EF SET and see how you improve during your learning time.

4. Practice your time management skills

As you strengthen your ability in each level, try to hone your time management skills as well. Commonly test takers have a limited time to complete all required sections of an exam. If you have mess-up time management, sure will you find it overwhelming, exhausting, and frustrating – nothing new there. Fortunately, by starting early preparation and by timing yourself on practice tests, you can feel more comfortable with the time constraint.

Read also: 7 Top Languages You Should Learn to Face Future Workforce