Browsing Category

Business English

Business English Career English Featured Writing

Useful Vocabulary for Creating a Resume

May 29, 2017

With CISL’s Career English program, students spend time with an American company and practice their English in a real working environment. Before spending time with their host company, students work with the Career English Coordinator to improve their interview skills and to create their American-style resume. Students quickly find that the American resume is very different from the format used in their home country! One of the most difficult aspects of creating a resume is vocabulary. This useful vocabulary for creating a resume will help students write a resume that reflects the vast vocabulary of the English language.

Useful Vocabulary for Creating a Resume

Useful Vocabulary for Creating a Resume

It is common to use words such as make, do, improve, or get on resumes. However, these words are too common and are seen as “weak” words: there are other stronger verbs in the English language that much more effectively express what you did at your last job. Try using some of the words below instead. In the parentheses, you will see the words or concepts that are commonly used with these power verbs. Some of the words are applicable for more than one category, so they may appear twice.

Instead of MADE or DO, say:

  • Acted as (an employee with a title)
  • Conducted (research, studies)
  • Coordinated (events. meetings, groups, activities)
  • Developed (ideas, projects)
  • Delivered (results)
  • Designed (projects, spaces, events, graphics)
  • Devoted (yourself to a cause, devoted time to something important)
  • Gathered (information, ideas, objects)
  • Participated in (events, conferences, meetings, projects)
  • Performed (tasks, duties, responsibilities)

Instead of THINK/RESEARCH, say:

  • Analyzed (data, statistics, research findings, etc.)
  • Evaluated (data, statistics, research findings, etc.)
  • Examined  (data, statistics, research findings, etc.)
  • Defined (target markets, audiences)
  • Developed (research studies, ideas, projects)
  • Observed  (data, statistics, research findings, etc.)
  • Recommended (actions based on professional experience or research)

 Useful Vocabulary for Creating a Resume

Instead of GOT/RECEIVED, say:

  • Achieved (a goal)
  • Accomplished  (a goal)
  • Earned (a new job title, an award, money)
  • Fulfilled (a goal)
  • Gathered (data, information)
  • Obtained (data, information)
  • Received (data, information, objects)

Instead of HELPED or IMPROVED, say:

  • Advanced (an industry, a cause, an idea)
  • Assisted with/in (a job, tasks, duties)
  • Contributed to  (an industry, a cause, an idea)
  • Contributed by + ing (an action you took to improve this cause)
  • Consulted (a company, a person)
  • Encouraged (growth through action, a company, a person)
  • Enhanced (growth through action, a company, a person)
  • Generated  (revenue, sales, internet traffic, acclaim)
  • Gained (revenue, sales, internet traffic, acclaim)
  • Identified (a problem, a market, an audience)
  • Maximized (profits, efficiency, sales)
  • Modernized (an industry, a system, an organization)
  • Strengthened (an industry, a system, an organization)
  • Upgraded (technology, software)

Useful Vocabulary for Creating a Resume

For ACTIONS you took (organizing, managing), say:

  • Delegated (responsibilities, tasks, duties)
  • Diversified (a company’s portfolio)
  • Facilitated (meetings, changes)
  • Formulated (ideas, projects, change)
  • Headed (a project)
  • Hosted (a conference, a meeting)
  • Implemented (change)
  • Influenced (a person or company to change)
  • Launched (a project, advertising campaign)
  • Managed (people, a company, a project)
  • Mediated (issues between people, departments, or companies)
  • Negotiated (agreements and transactions between people, departments, or companies)
  • Operated (machinery, computer programs, production)
  • Organized (meetings, plans)
  • Overhauled (change in a company)
  • Oversaw (a project or company)
  • Pioneered (a new idea)
  • Planned (an event, a project)
  • Prepared (a presentation, a proposal, anything to be presented or given to the public or co-workers or clients)
  • Presented (ideas, findings, proposals)
  • Promoted (ideas, companies)
  • Provided (support, professional help)
  • Pursued (a goal or new project)
  • Redesigned or Re-engineered or Restructured (a way of doing things, a system)
  • Reorganized (a way of doing things, a system)
  • Represented (a company, an organization, a team, a department)
  • Spearheaded (a project)
  • Trained (a person or a team)
  • Unified (a group, departments, companies)
  • Utilized (resources, tools)

Useful Vocabulary for Creating a Resume

Would you like to learn more about what it is like to spend time with an American company through CISL’s Career English program? Read about some of the experiences of former students!

Business English

Business English: Idioms and Language for Constructive Criticism

May 26, 2017

As a manager or business owner, English speakers are expected to provide feedback and criticism to employees and co-workers. This can be exceptionally difficult for language learners because idioms are not just a common part of the English language, but an exceptionally important aspect of the business world.These Business English idioms and language for constructive criticism will help you provide the message you need to your employees or co-workers.

Business English: Idioms and Language for Constructive Criticism

Doesn’t make the cut

Definition: To be allowed to advance in competition or in business; to meet the requirements.

Example: I’m sorry, but your proposal didn’t make the cut. I’m sure that next time you’ll be successful though. Don’t give up!

Back to the drawing board

Definition: To start again after the current idea isn’t working and another one is needed.

Example: The Director did not approve our ideas, so it looks like we are back to the drawing board.

Business English: Idioms and Language for Constructive Criticism

 

Back to square one

Definition: To start again after the current idea isn’t working and another one is needed.

Example: We didn’t receive funding for our project, so we are back to square one.

Learning curve

Definition: The rate of a person’s progress in gaining experience or new skills.

Example: I know that it difficult to receive such critical feedback, but hang in there: the learning curve is steep for this job.

Business English: Idioms and Language for Constructive Criticism

Learn the ropes

Definition: To learn how to do a particular job or activity

Example: While you learn the ropes, it’s natural for you to make some mistakes. Please come to me if you have any questions or concerns.

Long shot

Definition: The small possibility of something happening.

Example: I know that going from Office Assistant to Office Manager in two years seems like a long shot, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. If you work hard, you might have a chance.

Business English: Idioms and Language for Constructive Criticism

Raise the bar

Definition: Provide a higher quality or level of service, product, etc..

Example: I expect each new employee to be more qualified than the last, hence raising the bar in this office.

Shoot something down

Definition: To definitely say no to an idea or proposal.

Example: The District Manager shot down your proposal, but he did provide some valuable feedback.

Business English: Idioms and Language for Constructive Criticism

Tough break

Definition: An unlucky situation.

Example: I really thought you would close the sale: I’m sorry to hear that they chose our competitor. What a tough break.

Up to snuff

Definition: Meeting the required standard.

Example: I’m not quite sure if your work has been up to snuff lately. Is everything alright?

CISL’s Premier English courses for business professionals and Business English courses are designed to give students the skills necessary to succeed in the English-speaking workplace. To learn more about our intensive programs with small class sizes (no more than 4 students per class) contact CISL.

Business English CISL Premier CISL Premier English

5 Business Meeting Ice Breakers for ESL Learners

April 14, 2017

How do you start a business meeting? This is a difficult question for executives and professionals to answer. What about starting a business meeting in English when it’s not your native language? This is even more difficult! We have some ideas for meeting ice breakers that will start your meeting off well. Before using these ice breakers, however, make sure that your English skills are as high as possible: with CISL’s Executive English courses, students are in a classroom of no more than 4 students and have the opportunity to perfect their communication skills regarding their profession.

Business Meeting Ice Breakers for ESL Learners

One topic; one word

Present an idea or a topic to the meeting attendants. The topic should be related to the meeting’s agenda somehow; for example, if you’re meeting to discuss hiring a new employee, the topic can be the question, “What describes a good resume?” Every person in the meeting must think of one word to answer. Then, the person can discuss his or her answer after giving the one word.

Useful language: Each person must explain in detail why he or she chose the one word. For this reason, everyone will need to use conjunctions (words like “because” and “therefore”). Check out our article on conjunctions for ways to use these connecting words.

Career Highlight

Ask everyone in the room to share a moment when they felt very proud of their work. This is a great way to hear about each person’s interests and passions with their job!

Useful language: Both the Simple Past and Past Continuous are useful when speaking about career highlights.

The Lunch Question

Ask everyone this famous question: “If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?”

Useful language: Unreal Conditionals are useful for answering this question. For this answer, use the following construction:

If + subject + modal could + base verb, subject + modal would + base verb

If I could have lunch with anyone, I would choose . . .

Check out our articles on conditionals for more information on the Zero Conditional, First Conditional, Second Conditional, and Third Conditional.

Who would you have lunch with if you could have lunch with anyone?

Book Recommendation

Ask everyone to share a book they are currently reading, or a book that they recommend, and share why they think this book is important.

Useful language: Modals for recommendations are useful in this situation. Check out our article on Modals for Giving Advice for more info!

Need some book recommendations? Check out our article on great books for English learners!

A Career Goal

Ask everyone to share something they would like to accomplish in the next year (and why). This is an excellent way to learn about each person’s aspirations!

Useful language: When speaking about the future, we can use many tenses. The most common are WILL and BE GOING TO of the Simple Future, but because we are talking about a specific point in time in the future, we can also use the Future Perfect Tense.

executive-english-premier-english-business-meeting-management-language

CISL Executive English graduate. Another CISL student success story (from an already successful person)!

CISL’s Premier English Programs include San Diego’s Executive English and San Francisco’s Global Success. For more information on these intensive programs for the business professional, contact CISL

Business English Featured Idioms and expressions

English Business Idioms with Animals

March 8, 2017
English-Business-Idioms-Animals

The famous “Charging Bull” statue, located in the Financial District of Manhattan, has become a symbol of Wall Street. It’s also a symbol of one of the most common English business idioms with animals!

Animals probably do not belong in the workplace . . . but why are there so many English business idioms with animals? It seems as if animals are the perfect way to express some of the situations and experiences in business. Want to learn about English business idioms with animals? Keep reading! How many of these can YOU use in your workplace, or in the CISL Business English classroom?

English business idioms with animals

Bear market

English business idioms with animals

In a bear market, investors sell portions of their investments in companies.

Definition: a market in which share prices* are falling, encouraging selling

Example: They are predicting a bear market the end of this year.

*shares are the pieces of a company that are owned by the public. When people buy and sell on the stock market, they are buying and selling “shares.” 

Bull market

English business idioms with animals

A bull market is great for companies, whose stock prices often rise considerably. 

Definition: a market in which share prices are rising, encouraging buying

Example: Because of the bull market this month, we invested heavily in three new technology companies.

Cash cow

English business idioms with animals

The cash cow is different for each company or business. In Hollywood, for example, Adam Sandler comedies and Jennifer Aniston romantic comedies are cash cows (despite critics always saying the movies are terrible)!

Definition: someone or something that makes a lot of money for a business, organization, etc.

Example: She owns a yoga studio, but her real cash cow is the studio’s cafe, which earns most of the profits.

Eager beaver

English business idioms with animals

“Hard work gets you more work” is a common expression. Is it a good thing to be an eager beaver? What do you think?

Definition: a person who is extremely zealous about performing duties and volunteering for more

Example: He was an eager beaver when we first hired him, but lately he’s been much less productive.

Fat cats

English business idioms with animals

Now that’s a fat cat!

Definition 1:  a wealthy contributor to a political campaign fund

Example: The politician invited all of the fat cats to his fundraiser in the hopes that they would contribute to his future campaign.

Definition 2:  a wealthy and privileged person

Example: All of the fat cats from Wall Street live in this neighborhood.

Lame duck

English business idioms with animals

“OK . . . which of you is the lame one?”

Definition: one that is weak or that falls behind in ability or achievement; an ailing company (used more commonly in British English)

Examples:

Note: a “lame duck” is also used in politics to refer to the last few months of a President’s term before the new President takes over.

Lion’s share

English business idioms with animals

The lion’s share comes from Aesop’s fables. Do you know one of the many versions of this story?

Definition: the largest portion of something

Example: We take the lion’s share of the profits and invest them back into the company.

Example: We made a huge sale today! I gave the lion’s share of the credit to my business partner because she did most of the work.

Monkey business

English business idioms with animals

“No monkey business, you guys!”

Definition 1: playful tricks or jokes

Example: No monkey business while the boss is gone!

Definition 2: illegal or improper activity or behavior

Example: They looked at the company’s portfolio, and it seems as if there is some monkey business happening in accounting.

Top dog

English business idioms with animals

He think he’s top dog . . . but maybe the cat disagrees!

Definition: a person, group, or thing in a position of authority especially through victory in a hard-fought competition

Example: My second interview with the company is tomorrow, and it’s with the top dog. I’m nervous!

All photos from Pixabay except “Charging Bull,” which is from Flickr.

Business English CISL Premier English Featured Vocabulary

CISL Premier English + Meeting Management Language

February 22, 2017

With CISL’s Premier English courses, professional, business-minded students perfect their English skills in a productive CISL environment (and in a class of no more than 4 students)! Students of these intensive courses (Executive English in San Diego and Global Success in San Francisco) go on (or go back to!) successful careers in their prospective fields. At their companies, these professionals are expected to conduct meetings and correspond in English. The meeting management language provided below is an example of the communicative skills CISL teaches in its Premier courses.

executive-english-premier-english-business-meeting management language

Meeting Management Language

Opening the meeting

Thank you everyone for coming. I’d like to conduct/do some brief introductions before we begin the meeting . . .

Hello, everyone. For those of you who do not know me, my name is _____ and I am the _____ . . . .

Good morning/afternoon, everyone. I’d like to begin by asking if everyone has a copy of the meeting agenda . . .

Hello, all. I’ve called you here today because . . .

Asking for opinions

What’s your take on . . . ?

What do you think about . . . ?

What is your opinion regarding . . . ?

Agreeing

I’m in complete agreement with you.

I couldn’t agree more.

I concur.

executive-english-premier-english-business-meeting-management-language

Meeting management language is effective in beginning meetings, keeping the conversation flowing, and closing/producing follow up.

Politely disagreeing

I see where you’re coming from; however, . . .

I’m not sure if I’m convinced . . .

I have doubts about . . .

We have some legitimate concerns regarding . . .

Moving to another topic of conversation

Great. Well, shall we move on to discuss . . . ?

If no one has anything else to add, let’s move on to discussing . . .

OK. Regarding the next item on our agenda,  . . .

Ending the meeting

We’ve now covered everything on our agenda, so this concludes our meeting. To follow up, I’d like to . . . .

Thank you again for taking the time to attend this meeting. As a follow up, I propose . . .

Again, thank you for your input during today’s meeting. We will have a copy of the meeting notes emailed to everyone later today, and we will plan to meet again on (date) to discuss . . .

 

Further Reading

Need some more Business English practice? Check out some of our other articles: