Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, October 30, 2014
This is definitely a time of great transition for you! I’ll tackle this inquiry in two parts.
I think you probably want to start by building confidence in your English skills, and work to secure a more comfortable familiarity with both written and verbal communication. This will help you to feel more capable and assertive during each phase of the job searching process, and also increase your chances of having successful interactions with hiring teams.
Have you looked into networking or conversational groups in your area, for ESL learners? Many colleges and community organizations offer free classes, even for advanced students like yourself. You may also find volunteer opportunities where you can practice your English skills, and perhaps even tutor or mentor others.
I lived abroad for about a year, and found that by joining a social group comprised of other non-native residents, I was able to really elevate my conversational skills in an environment which was challenging and yet friendly. I also found a non-profit to join, and volunteered with young children, who were quick to alert me when I said something wrong, or pronounced something incorrectly. Perhaps you could find a similar group to join, or something to become involved with locally, which would provide a comfortable space in which to practice your skills?
In terms of what to pursue career-wise, I wonder if your best bet may be to complete (or audit) a class with a local college, in order to gain access to their Career Services Department. This will also give you a refresher on your chosen profession, and force you to think about the relevant concepts and topics in English. It will also give you an opportunity to practice your vocabulary and written skills, too. If this is something that interests you, and you decide to enroll in a class somewhere, I would highly recommend that you meet with both an academic counselor as well as a career counselor at their institution.
An academic counselor can likely advise you on which specific courses will upgrade your skills and make you a more compelling and competitive candidate for this field, even if you do not want to complete any additional degrees at this time. They can also help you find college resources to help with your English. A career counselor can help you network, and point you in the direction of co-op and work-study opportunities either on, or off-campus. They can also help you to determine which professional and industry organizations are worth joining, and help you connect to the professors with the greatest chances of assisting you.