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Language can boost career prospects

Published: Monday 3rd September 2018

A map with foreign language icons

Having language skills isn’t just handy when you’re on holiday, being able to speak another language whether it’s French, German, Mandarin, Cantonese or Japanese, can seriously enhance your career prospects.

Open up more employment opportunities

Obviously, being multilingual is useful if you’re seeking to work abroad, but increasing globalisation means that more companies than ever are seeking employees with language skills to work with overseas clients, as well as foreign audiences in their domestic bases. Some positions in particular, such as certain government jobs, regional managers, IT jobs and project manager jobs can mean working with associates in other countries. Proficiency in another language can be hugely beneficial when carrying out the duties involved with these roles.

Just as importantly, fluency in other languages is one of the single most important factors that can help you stand out from other candidates when it comes to interviewing. In fact, an additional language could make all the difference when it comes to career progression within your existing role, securing a dream job or earning a salary increment for a language skill to ensure you take home a living wage.

As our world becomes smaller and more connected, there are more opportunities in more sectors for people with language skills. Whether you’re looking for building & construction jobs, receptionist jobs, education jobs, nursing jobs, security officer jobs or even civil service jobs, being multi-lingual can do wonders for your career prospects.

Make friends and influence people

If you already work at a multi-cultural company or one that has overseas operations, you can see how language skills can give you a distinct advantage when it comes to career progression into other areas of the company, not to mention when it comes to networking and making new friends, whose first language may not be English, in the workplace.

Studies show that people who know two or more languages think differently. They’re more aware of their surroundings, better at learning lists and assimilating other information. Some evidence suggest that they possess better problem-solving skills. And, according to a study from the University of Chicago, people who speak multiple languages are more confident when it comes to decision making. These are all traits that are good for you as an individual, as well as an employee.

The demand for language skills is on the rise

One US report indicates that the demand for bilingual workers has doubled in five years for both low and high skilled positions. We can reasonably expect that those statistics apply to the global economy. Employers are increasingly looking for Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Arabic speakers, in addition to traditional European business languages, such as German. Which might be one reason why enrolment in foreign language courses is on the increase.

Clearly, learning a foreign language can be your passport to new and challenging employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, both at home and in a wide range of international destinations. If you’re looking for a new job that requires language skills, or want to see which companies are looking for multi-linguists, start with a search at Zoek UK.

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