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Communication skills by English

Once I came back from Marrakech at the end of November, one of the goals at the top of my list was to hire a personal assistant.  The thing with my job is that I am so busy, I really need an assistant to help me do this!  I’m a day or two away from hiring one of three young ladies who would all be able to make a nice contribution to the role and have a good chance to develop their skills in Sales & Marketing.

During the search process, I have read scores of resumes.  The Sales & Marketing Assistant really needs to speak English fluently.  There have been numerous applicants who list their skills as “advanced” but who clearly have not yet grasped the language.

I’ve interviewed for a variety for positions throughout this last year, particularly as we have hired a few Sales Executives. What surprises me every time I ask this question in this country is the selfishness of the answer.  The question being, “Why should I choose you?”  The answer is often along the lines of, “Because I can get good experience and really improve my skills.”  So totally NOT what we would say in the US or other Western countries.  Yet, this is hands-down the most common way this question is answered.  And it’s one tiny aspect of a cultural difference I have not gotten my head around.

To leave you on an entertaining note, I thought I would include one of my favorite cover letters I received from an applicant for my assistant.  And this is not even the worst one!  But this also gives you a small glimpse as to the level of English I deal with on a daily basis and the skills I’ve developed over the last several years to be able to sift through this garbled nonsense and capture the essence of the meaning.  Special talent, people!  ;p

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have known that your company is looking a Sales & Marketing assistant and I felt strongly interested in applying for the vacancy.

I graduated from Ha Noi University of Culture in June of 2007 and major in books & magazines business operation.

In my university, I was educated all basic knowledge about business field such as: Sales, Marketing, macroeconimics..and related others such as: method of managing and arranging system of document, data, equipment, chains of distribution books, magazines…

Otherwise, I was taught and practiced not only some basic clerical skills but also other specialist skills such as: research market, care service customers…

So besides, my computer ability for using Microsoft Office package and office equipments( phone, scan,fax, photocopy machine…) effectively as well as basic economic knowledge can useful for your work well.

Especially, I had 2 years experienced working in a Sales department as an order handler for big buyers such as Europe, America in a foreign company of the garment field gave me many chances to communicate with many foreigners directly or by many communication transports such as: phone, email in order to improve my communication skills by English …

Besides such a dynamic and complicated working environtment helped me to learn how manage time, informations, risk.. to give the best solution towards stragetical targets. 

And assistant’s duty made me improve negotiation, persuading skill, making report and minutes and following, analyzing, collecting, balancing number,data skill 

Because of my major to choosy buyers and diversity of exported order I must work independently under the high pressure as well as co-operate well with my colleagues to archieve common goals.

I believe that with my enthusiasm, ability, knowledge and experience, I can contribute to your company’s success. I hope to be a part of your company. The attached resume is enclosed with more details of my qualification.

I look forward to hearing good new from you soon.


Under Experience, an interesting job title:

Human Assistant


One highlight under “Referees” (versus references):

Comment:A patient and unfear of hardship female staff to find the best way in her work.

I believe that with her experience and ability , she will get new suprising result in her career.


Have a great day everyone!


Thank you for your kind reply

UPDATE 8/5/09: I just had to share this one today.  It may even be better than the Italian e-mail…

We understand that we have booked this booking a long time, but clients so late reply to confirm us.

So, we are very sorry to say CANCEL this booking because our Clients have decided to changed this trip.  Therefore, we apology this inconvenience Cancellation and looking forward to hearing your early reply with acknowledgement.


Thank you for the acknowledgement of your confirmation.

Thanks with best regards,

I will endeavour to reply to your email on my return.

Thank you so much for your kind information.


These are actual comments from e-mails.  I have the pleasure of reading these types of comments in e-mails I see everyday exchanged between reservation agents in Laos.  Long story as to why I am auto-copied on the exchanges, but if nothing else, the e-mails give me a good chuckle everyday.  Here is the typical…


A:  Please kindly confirm the following booking.

B: Thanks so much for your booking. I’d like to confirm your booking:

A: Thank you for your kind confirmation.

B: You are welcome for the confirmation.


But today topped the cake.  I could not stop laughing when this one came in:


Dear All,

Please treat the above clients as VIP Treatment as they are very important (Italian) – I have just been informed by agent today that they are now complaint everywhere for slowly check in and they do not want to wait too long.

Therefore, please try to do the best for them to avoid any problem for us.

A – please hurry up prepare their immigration formality to avoid any delay for them. 

B – could you please serve them in house wine for them during Dinner at X as compliment from “Y”?  And prepare separate table for them from another passengers.

C – please kindly inform your guide at Z to do the fast check in and do the best services for them.  prepare separate table for them from another passengers during meals. 

Thanks all of you in advance for your kind co operation.


Aside from being hilarious to me, it hopefully serves to all as a warning how well the staff are aware of problem customers.  Clearly this group of Italians are just too impatient.  Can’t be bothered to wait for anything.  And they don’t like other travelers.  I find this hard to believe, as Italy certainly runs at its own pace and most Italians love a good group of fun people!  But I guess when folks travel to exotic places and are far away from home, they step outside the mold and get uncomfortable in new surroundings.  Too funny, though.

Thanks you for kindly reading this information.  Your kind comment is most welcome.

Thank you with best regards,


Vietnameses Engrish Tourisme

I mentioned just a few posts ago how I have not ventured far from my days as an English teacher.  Well, today made for another classic.  I received a call from a Mr. Duc yesterday (passed on to me by my staff who encouraged me to talk to him because his offer sounded “exciting”).  Mr. Duc explained that his firm does direct mail marketing.  I explained that we have no budget nor do we desire for such service.  He begged for a meeting with me.  I said no. He was confused and wanted an explanation why we don’t need his service.  I explained I was busy and that we do all direct marketing ourselves.

This morning, one of his staff members came to my office (entered from my side door through the Emeraude office – staff was still excited for me to speak to these folks) to drop off their proposal and insisted that she leave with one of my business cards.  I reminded her that I will not enlist their services.  She did not seem to understand the concept of “zero percent chance” and told me that Mr. Duc will contact me and “really requests” and appointment.

Within an hour of her visit, I received this e-mail:

Good morning Shanna,

As per our short talk of yesterday on phone, I would like to send you here attached our general presentation & our main products & services for your info. In the current contexte of crisis & strong competition, I think enterprise like yours probally need to do some direct advetising mail to promote your businesses. I understand that today 70% of your clients come directly from oversea & only 30% are vietnameses. Why do not make bigger this part of vietnamese people since more & more vietnameses want to enjoy better services than the normal & low standard boat in Halong. I think many “high incomes” local individuals still do not know about Emeurade & they are still hesitating come to see you due to the lack of information. Among your other means of media such as Heritage magazine, forum, name card  collecting, incentive, email which are very efficient also , I think Media Post can help you to do some interesting advertising campaign by direct mail. We can provide you some database of potential vietnameses with high income, tourisme oriented( full name, postal addresse, company, postion, car name owner, consumption habit….) which are regularly updated then we are in charge of sending your advertising piece to these people in the best way( Media Post is using postmen of Vnpost to distribue mail) . In the same way , Media Post has our own checking system to control the quality of distribution( phone call, random check, POD…) The percentage of replying people depend of course in the attractiveness of your products & the potential interest of the recipient but in all cases we can be sure about the accuracy of database, good quality of mail distribution( by minimising loss)…ect. 

For your information, we started our company last july & we already work for Big C Casino, Nestle, Societe General Viet Finance, Ruby Plaza, Prevoir insurance company, CCIFV, ISIVIC…If you are interested, I can come at any time as I base in Hanoi to have further talk with you & Mr Nam.

Meanwhile, please do not hesitate to let me know any information you need & hope to see you soon.

 Best regards

Dang Minh Duc

Deputy General Director(Marketing & Sales)



The fact that they used postmen of Vietnam Post almost had me hooked!!!

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