Looking for a job

“If you love the job, the job will love you.”

Society has changed a lot over the last few years. Nowadays unemployment is a big problem, and some people decide to move to other countries in order to find a job. It is not easy, and it is necessary to do a lot of research.

There are three main steps to take when looking for a job: writing your CV or resume, writing a cover letter, and going to the job interview.

In the “Interesting links” section you will find some websites with information about jobs in the UK.

These are some hints to prepare your resume: start your resume with a good objective statement that indicates your key competencies. Mention your qualifications which will be helpful to perform this job efficiently. List your work experience in reverse chronological order. If you do not have any relevant experience, include any position you occupied (internship or summer job, etc.) which might have some relevance to this position.

Here is an example:

Curriculum Vitae

Name and surnames: Marc Garcia Torres

Address: Av. Paral·lel, 71 08004 Barcelona

Telephone Number: 666 222 333

Objective

To work in a position that will allow me to use my experience working with electricity.

Experience

Electrician:

February-August 2014, Electric Home, Barcelona

  • Connection of wires to circuit breakers, transformers or other components.
  • Inspection and testing of electrical systems, equipment and components to identify defects.
  • Advising management on the state of installations to meet governmental regulation.
  • Directing and training apprentice to assist in the installation and maintenance of electrical wiring.

Electrician:

January 2008-September 2012, Five Star Electric, Rubí

  • Electrical installation, maintenance and repairs of electrical wiring, equipment and fixtures.
  • Testing electrical systems
  • Ensuring that electrical installations are in accordance with relevant codes.
  • Diagnosing malfunctioning systems, apparatus and components.

Electrician apprentice:

June 2002-November 2007, Sparks Centre SA, Barcelona

  • Assisting in installation and maintenance works.
  • Locating short circuits in wiring using multimeter.
  • Assisting in conduit layout design and cabling.
  • Interpreting circuit diagrams.
  • Participating in all electrical activities conducted by the electrician.

Education

  • Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) at “Institut Emperador Carles”, Barcelona
  • Certificate of vocational studies on Electricity and Electronics, at “Institut Obert de Catalunya” (IOC), (distance learning)
  • Course on Euro Standard Electrical Installations and Safety, at “Willow Vocational School”, London

Skills

  • Ability to work on a broad range of systems and facility types.
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, good team member.
  • I enjoy keeping up to date with the latest technology.

Hobbies

  • Travelling, mountain climbing, interest in the latest technology.

Storyline

The workload is increasing every day and Jordi has decided to take on a new assistant. He is going to interview Marc, a boy who submitted his CV to apply for a job in the company.

Marc: Good morning. I’m Marc, I came for the job interview.

Jordi: Good morning, Marc. Welcome to our office. I have your CV and your cover letter with me. I see that you are interested in working with us.

Marc: Yes, I am.

Jordi: Could you tell me a little about yourself?

Marc: I live in Barcelona. I’m a trained and skilled technician. I have worked as an electrician for many years in different companies.

Jordi: Why did you leave your last job and why do you want to work in our company?

Marc: I resigned voluntarily from my last job because I want to advance in my career. I’m interested in working for your company because your advertised position will allow me to grow as a person and as a professional technician.

Jordi: Can you handle a project without supervision? I need someone that can take care of the job without my help, because I’m very busy at the moment.

Marc: Of course, I’m well prepared for this job and I’m interested in working for your company. As you can see in my CV, my experience proves that I’m a teamplayer and a leader, who can work independently or in a group.

Jordi: Can you work under pressure?

Marc: Yes, as a technician, I have been trained to work under pressure to resolve issues.

Jordi: Let’s talk about salary. What salary are you expecting?

Marc: I think someone with my experience should get between 1,700 to 2,000 euros, but nothing is more important for me than the job.

Jordi: Ok, Marc. I’ll put you in a 3-month probation. If I’m satisfied, then I will give you a one year contract.

Marc: Thank you.

Vocabulary

  • Unemployment: atur
  • Research: recerca
  • Cover letter: carta de presentació
  • Job interview: entrevista de feina
  • Hint: consell
  • Objective statement: objectius
  • Key competency: competència clau
  • Qualifications: titulació
  • Relevance: importància, rellevància
  • To meet governmental regulations: complir amb la normativa
  • Electrical wiring: cablejat
  • Fixture: làmpada (element d’il·luminació)
  • Short circuits: curtcircuits
  • Vocational studies: estudis de formació professional
  • Broad range of systems: àmplia gamma de sistemes
  • Team member: membre d’un equip
  • Keep up to date: estar al dia
  • Workload: càrrega de feina
  • Take on: contractar
  • Apply for a job: sol·licitar una feina
  • Resign voluntarily: plegar voluntàriament
  • Career: vida professional
  • Advertised position: lloc de treball anunciat/publicitat
  • Handle a project: gestionar un projecte
  • Under pressure: sota pressió
  • 3-month probation: període de prova de 3 mesos

Grammar

The conditional sentence is a type of complex sentence composed of a main clause and a subordinate clause. It expresses the action that takes place if a condition is fulfilled. The characteristics of the conditional sentences are these:

  • The subordinate clause expresses the condition and the main clause describes the action that takes if the condition is fulfilled (the result).
  • The subordinate clause (or conditional clause) is normally introduced by the word ‘if’ (Cat. si).

There are four types of conditional sentences:

  • Zero-conditional: for example, if you drop a stone, it falls (Cat. si deixes anar una pedra, aquesta cau a terra).
  • First conditional: for example, if he comes, I will call you (Cat. si ve, et trucaré).
  • Second conditional: for example, if he came, I would call you (Cat. si vingués, et trucaria).
  • Third conditional: for example, if he had come, I would have called you (Cat. si hagués vingut, t’hauria trucat).

In the present course, we are only going to study the first and the second conditionals, which are the most widely used forms. The first and the second conditionals have the same syntactical structure (because they are both conditional sentences), but there is a difference in the verb tenses and, obviously, in the meaning.

The first conditional

We use the first conditional to express real conditions. This means that, in the speaker’s opinion, the situation will probably happen.

The structure of the first conditional sentences is the following:

  • IF + SUBJECT + VERB (in present simple), SUBJECT + WILL + VERB (in the base form) + …

Here are some examples of first conditional sentences:

  • If you don’t save your files, you will lose all your work (Cat. si no guardes als arxius, perdràs tota la feina).
  • If you practise a lot, you will speak English fluently (Cat. si practiques molt, parlaràs anglès amb fluïdesa).
  • If you do all the activities, you will pass the exam with no problems (Cat. si feu totes les activitats, aprovareu l’examen sense problemes).

Notes:

1) We can change the order of the main clause and the conditional clause without any change in the meaning, but we must write a comma if we put the conditional clause in the first place:

  • If you practise a lot, you will speak English fluently.
  • You will speak English fluently if you practise a lot.

2) Apart from ‘will’, we can use other modal verbs in the main clause of the first conditional sentences. For example:

  • If you practise a lot, you may speak English fluently (Cat. si practiques molt, és possible que parlis anglès amb fluïdesa).
  • If you can do it, I will be very grateful (Cat. si ho pots fer, estaré molt agraït).
  • If he says anything, you shouldn’t respond (Cat. si diu alguna cosa, tu no hauries de respondre).

3) In the main clause, we can also use the imperative form:

  • If you notice a fire, go out immediately (Cat. si detectes foc, surt de seguida).
  • If you have problems, please tell me (Cat. si tens problemes, si us plau digues-m’ho).

The second conditional

We use the second conditional to refer to unreal or hypothetical situations, or about conditions that are impossible that are fulfilled (for example: if I were you…, if I were younger…, if I were a dog…, etc.), we must also use the second conditional.

The structure of the second conditional sentences is the following:

  • IF + SUBJECT + VERB (in past simple), SUBJECT + WOULD + VERB (in the base form) + …

Examples:

  • If I had enough time, I would go out more (Cat. si tingués prou temps, sortiria més).
  • If I were the director in this company, I would raise the workers’ salaries (Cat. si jo fos el director d’aquesta empresa, apujaria el sou dels treballadors).
  • If I were you, I would be more polite to customers (Cat. jo en el teu lloc seria més amable amb els clients).

Notes:

1) In the second conditional clauses, the form of the verb ‘to be’ is ‘were’for all persons (if I were you …). The form ‘was’ is not generally accepted, except in the informal spoken language, where it is possible to say: If I was you …. In most situations, however, the form is ‘were’.

2) Apart from the verb is the past simple tense and the modal verb ‘would’, in the second conditional we can use some modal verbs, but they must refer to the past when the modal verb has time distinction:

  • If I had enough time, I could go out more (Cat. si tingués prou temps, podria sortir més).
  • If I were the director, I might rise the salaries (Cat. si fos el director, podria ser que pugés els salaris).
  • If I could be you, I would be more polite (Cat. si jo pogués estar en el teu lloc, seria més amable).

The use of the first or second conditional sentence very often depends on the context or on the subjective perception of the speaker. Compare these sentences:

  • First conditional: if it rains tonight, I will stay at home (Cat. si plou aquesta nit, em quedaré a casa). The meaning is: it is very cloudy, so it is very probable that it rains.
  • Second conditional: If it rained tonight, I would stay at home (Cat. si plogués aquesta nit, em quedaria a casa). The meaning is: It is sunny now, so it is not probable that it rains, but there is a possibility.

Communication

In this section, we are going to study three common communicative situations: suggestions (Cat. suggeriments), advice (Cat. consells) and requests (Cat. requeriments, peticions, demandes). Suggestions and advice are very similar and we can generally use them in the same situations. The speaker can be included in a suggestion we), for example, when you suggest doing something with other people; however, a piece of advice is always addressed to a second person (you). A request is a little different. In a request you ask other people to take specific actions.

We may need to use these three communicative tools in our daily and working lives because they are very common, so we should learn when and especially how to use them.

Making suggestions

Here are some ways of making and responding to suggestions

Making suggestions

There are different ways of making suggestions. They are all valid, but sometimes we may need to use a specific one rather than another. Here is a list of the verbs and expressions used to make suggestions, with their corresponding syntactical structures:

1) Suggest (Cat. suggerir). This verb has three different syntactical structures:

  • SUGGEST + VERB in -ING: I suggest speaking in English (Cat. suggereixo parlar en anglès).
  • SUGGEST + THAT-CLAUSE: I suggest that we speak in English (Cat. suggereixo que parlem en anglès).
  • SUGGEST + NOUN: I suggest a Japanese restaurant (Cat. suggereixo un restaurant japonès).

suggest with indirect object

If you want to indicate the person whom the suggestion is addressed, you must use the structure to + object pronoun or the that-clause, and not the object pronoun. For example:

  • I suggest a Japanese restaurant to you (Incorrect: I suggest you a Japanese restaurant)
  • I suggest that you speak in English (Incorrect: I suggest you to speak in English)

2) Recommend (Cat. recomanar). We can use this verb in four ways:

  • RECOMMEND + VERB IN -ING: The doctors recommend walking one hour every day (Cat. Els metges recomanen caminar una hora cada dia).
  • RECOMMEND + INDIRECT OBJECT + TO + INFINITIVE: I recommend you to go home (Cat. Et recomano que vagis a casa).
  • RECOMMEND + THAT-CLAUSE: I recommend that you speak in English (Cat. Et recomano que intentis parlar en anglès).
  • RECOMMEND + NOUN: She recommended a private teacher (Cat. Ella va recomanar un professor particular).

3) Let’s:

  • LET’S + VERB (in the base form): let’s speak in English! (Cat. anem a parlar en anglès!).

The form let’s (=let us) is always written in the contracted form. It is used informally to make a suggestion the includes the speaker + one or more people.

4) What about…?:

  • WHAT ABOUT + VERB in -ING…?: what about speaking in English? (Cat. què tal si parlem en anglès?).

5) Why don’t you/we…?:

  • WHY DON’T YOU/WE + VERB (in the base form)…?: why dont we speak in English? (Cat: per què no parlem en anglès?).

6) You/We can…:

  • YOU/WE CAN + VERB (in the base form): you can speak in English (Cat. pots parlar en anglès).

7) You/We could…:

  • YOU/WE COULD + VERB (in the base form): you could speak in English (Cat. podries parlar en anglès).

Responding to suggestions

We can respond to suggestions in different ways, which usually depend on whether we agree or disagree with the suggestion.

I'm afraid ...

If we disagree with a suggestion, we should use this expression. It is used to soften the negative idea and show that you are not angry.

The following table shows different ways of responding to a suggestion.

Taula: Responding to suggestions
To agree To disagree
Yes, we could do that I’m afraid it’s not a good idea
Yes, that’s a good idea I’m afraid we can’t do that
Ok, let’s do that I’d rather not
Yes, why not? No, we can’t do that, I’m afraid
Ok, that’s great! No, we shouldn’t do that

When you disagree with a suggestion, the social etiquette requires to explain the reason of your disagreement:

  • A: Why don’t we go to a restaurant?
  • B: No, we can’t do that. We have no time and no money.

Giving advice

As when making suggestions, we can give other people advice with a variety of verbs and expressions.

Giving advice

The noun ‘advice’ is uncountable in English. This means that it has no plural form and we cannot say the indeterminate article ‘an’ or the numeral ‘one’. It’s wrong to say: I’ll give you an advice. We must say: I’ll give you advice, I’ll give you some advice or I’ll give you a piece or advice.

The verb “advise” (Cat. aconsellar, donar consell). There are two different syntactical structures with this verb:

There is a difference in spelling between the noun (advice) (Cat. consell) and the verb (advise) (Cat. aconsellar). The pronunciation is also different: -c- sounds like /s/ and -s- sounds like /z/. See Annex ‘Phonetic Alphabet’ for a description of the sounds /s/ and /z/.

  • ADVISE + GERUND
  • ADVISE + INDIRECT OBJECT + TO + INFINITIVE

Examples:

  • He advised getting up earlier (Cat. Va aconsellar llevar-se més d’hora).
  • We advise you to see a doctor (Cat. T’aconsellem que vagis al metge).

Should. The modal verb ‘should’ is the most common way of giving advice in English. The correct structure is:

  • SHOULD + INFINITIVE (without ‘to’)

Examples:

  • You should work hard (Cat. Hauries de treballar molt).
  • You should save money (Cat. Hauries d’estalviar diners).
  • He should go back to school (Cat. Ell hauria de tornar a estudiar).

When we use ‘should’ to give advice, it is very common to add: I think (that) …:

  • I think that you should work hard (Cat. Crec que hauries de treballar molt).

Had better. The expression ‘had better’ is used when we want to give advice in a stronger way. The structure of this type of sentence is:

  • HAD BETTER (NOT) + INFINITIVE

Examples:

  • You had better work harder (Cat. És millor que treballis molt).
  • We had better go (Cat. El millor és que marxem).
  • He had better speak (Cat. El millor és que ell parli).

This expression is mostly used in informal spoken English, where ‘had’ is often contracted or is omitted:

  • You’d better work harder or You better work harder
  • We’d better go or We better go

‘If I were you, …‘. This is a second conditional clause, so the correct structure is:

  • IF I WERE YOU, + I + WOULD + INFINITIVE

Examples:

  • If I were you, I would work hard (Cat. Si jo estigués en el teu lloc, treballaria molt).
  • If I were you, I would save money (Cat. Jo, en el teu lloc, estalviaria diners).

Responding to advice

When responding to advice, we can decide to take the advice or we can reject it. In both cases, it is customary to thank the other person for his/her advice. If we decide to reject it, we should add some type of ‘excuse’. Here is a short list of possible ways of responding to advice:

Taula: Responding to advice
To accept To reject
Thank you, I’ll do that I’d rather not do that. Thanks anyway
Good idea! Thank you Thank you. but I’m afraid I can’t do that
Excellent! Thanks for your advice Oh, no. That’s not possible, I’m afraid

Here is an example of how to reject a piece of advice appropriately:

  • A: If you want to improve your English, you should go to England
  • B: Thank you, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. Going to England is too expensive for me right now

Making requests

A request is very much like an order or command. In fact, an order is the strongest way of making a request. We make requests with a variety of modal verbs. Their choice depends on the degree of formality.

Making requests

In all these sentences, we make the same request (to open the window), but we use an increasing degree of formality:

  1. Open the window! (Cat: Obre la finestra!)
  2. Can you open the window? (Cat: Pots obrir la finestra [si us plau]?)
  3. Could you open the window? (Cat: Podries obrir la finestra [si us plau]?)
  4. Will you open the window? (Cat: Obriràs la finestra [si us plau]?)
  5. Would you open the window? (Cat: Obriries la finestra [si us plau]?)
  6. Do you mind opening the window? (Cat: T’importa obrir la finestra [si us plau]?)
  7. Would you mind opening the window? (Cat: T’importaria obrir la finestra [si us plau]?)

Notes:

  • Example 1 is made with the imperative form (open!). This is actually an order.
  • Most of the sentences are made with a modal verb (can, could, will and would). This means that the verb must go in infinitive (open)(examples 2-5).
  • The verb mind is always followed by a gerund (opening) (examples 6 and 7).
  • Very often, we add the word please to soften a request.
  • All the examples, except 1, take the form of a question. In writing, we must not forget to write the question mark (?) at the end.

The position of please

If we use the word please to soften our request, we can place it in different positions. Here are examples with the most common positions of the word please:

  • Please, open the window! or Open the window, please!
  • Can you please open the window? or Can you open the window please?

Responding to requests

There are different ways of responding to requests. Here are some examples:

  • Accepting the request:
  • Yes, of course
  • Ok, no problem
  • Yes, of course I (can) (the modal verb in the reply must be the same as that in the request)
  • Of course I don’t mind
  • Certainly
  • Sure
  • Rejecting the request:
  • I’m sorry, but I can’t (I’m on the phone right now)
  • I’m afraid I can’t (it’s too cold in here)

As when responding to a suggestion or a piece of advice, we should explain why we reject a request by giving some ‘excuse’.

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