Day in the Life Series: Job Search as an ESL Student

The partnership between Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) providers and Workforce Solutions has seen a new wave of online students complete their GED, English Second Language (ESL), and other certification programs. The Workforce Solutions Regional Team partners with providers to help students receive services from the career office based on their career goals and personal needs. We would like to share a blog series with you every quarter highlighting a student’s success story and insight into their AEL student experience. Sharing this information can benefit you or someone you know. Whether you are seeking career advancement or other assistance, we are here to help.

Today’s in the life series expresses insight from an ESL student searching for AEL services to help her obtain career growth. She has graciously agreed to share her experience and tips with other ESL students. Out of respect for her privacy, she will be referred to M. Contreras.

Student Experience:

 M. Contreras is a mid-career professional who is an immigrant from Venezuela. She has sought to achieve her aspirations here in the U.S. In doing so, she has completed English Second Language classes and has received a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification. This has afforded her the necessary qualification for a career in the medical field. job searching has barriers when transitioning from a different country and I hope M. Contreras’s advice will inspire you to take steps in overcoming those barriers to pursue your dreams.

Interview:

How did you find out about ESL classes, and how have they benefited you thus far?

A mutual friend at church told her about ESL classes that were free. Since English was not her first language, she knew she might struggle in the current job market if she did not commit to improving her language skills. M. Contreras also knew that if she wanted to change her career opportunity in the United States, she would have to seek additional education.

How did you overcome challenges you faced during your job search?

Delivering her professional experience in an interview entirely in English was a challenge. She worked to overcome this challenge by remaining patient and also proactive. M. Contreras stated she needed “to be patient but always “practice, practice, practice!” The second tool that helped her improve her job searching technique was attending Workforce Solutions job search seminars. The classes helped her to be more confident and knowledgeable about expectations in the job market.

To learn more about the Job Readiness Toolkit, visit Workforce Solutions Online Learning page.

What activities would you recommend job seekers to participate in at Workforce Solutions?

Attend the job search webinars to help understand the do’s and don’ts of job searching in the U.S. Follow up with presentation staff to set up a mock interview, have them review your resume, and connect to your nearest Workforce Solutions office to help you develop a targeted job search plan. Ask Workforce Solutions what are some educational opportunities you can pursue free to be in a “High Skill, High Growth” occupation.

What skills or attributes do you feel helped you to complete your certification course and ESL class?

“Using the pandemic to my advantage helped. Although family obligations, work, and so much more could have prevented me from continuing my education, I persisted day by day to get one step closer to my goals. More importantly, determination helped me succeed! ” – M. Contreras. When you have a goal, work every day towards that goal! – M. Contreras

I hope her insight and tips gave you a quick glimpse of what it took for her to commit to being successful in today’s job market and work towards career growth. I look forward to sharing more stories with you as we feature other student experiences in this day-in-life series. Be safe and we will catch you next time!

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Alexandra Howard is a new member of the Texas Gulf Coast Regional Navigator Team for Workforce Solutions. She will be collaborating with community partners in the Gulf Coast Region to educate and train employers, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers to assist in advancing company growth, career, and academic mobility. Alexandra has prior job experience in recruiting on behalf of the employer and candidates. Understanding the skillsets job seekers provide and the necessities of the employers aids in maintaining a successful Adult Education & Literacy Integration. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University and is currently obtaining a Master of Public Administration from Texas Southern University.

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