Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to get immersed in ESP, English for Specific Purposes. I was the instructor of a workshop aimed at students at my school on how to write a successful CV. Several students have had the possibility to attend these classes where they learnt the different parts of a CV, the layout and design, tips to catch the attention of potential recruiters and specific vocabulary and key expressions that would to improve the quality of their CV.
During the two hours each workshop lasted, apart from what I have mentioned above, they could also practise their listening and speaking skills since they were encouraged to participate in the listening exercises and pair discussions. Combining listening and speaking activities helped to create a more dynamic class where students became an active part of it.
These first series of workshops are the first attempt to create a more complete course where students, besides writing their CV, could also learn how to write an effective cover letter and improve their vocabulary and confidence to attend a job interview. Still many people nowadays, even those with a very good command of English, do not know how to do such things successfully, sometimes due to their level of English, but most of the time because they lack the confidence to do it so.
The first part of the workshop included a video with general tips about writing a CV. The idea was to catch their attention with a video and to provide a general overview of the topic. Then the different parts of a CV were explained and which information should and shouldn't be included was also discussed. Key vocabulary was also introduced, this being one of the aspects they most struggled with since they were not used to this kind of expressions.
In the second part we discussed the layout and design of a CV. It would depend on the type of CV we are writing, either skills-based or in reverse chronological order; but it would also depend on whether we are applying to a research/lecturing position at a university or other kind of job.
The final part included a revision of some common mistakes we should avoided and a deconstruction of a badly written CV. Students really enjoyed this part as they had the opportunity to analyse a CV by themselves and discuss which areas could be improved. Once the session was over all students were encouraged to design their own CV and send it over to receive feedback on what they had done.
I strongly believe students find workshops like this very useful and interesting and here at the University of Valencia Language School we try to offer a wide range of courses and workshops that meet our students' needs and interests.