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Five Reasons Why Knowing a Foreign Language Will Help Your Career

In the global economy, one of the most valuable traits an employee can possess is the ability to speak a second or multiple languages. Knowing an additional language like Spanish, French or Mandarin, for example, illustrates to an employer the value you bring as an employee and a person. Here are five reasons why speaking a foreign language can help you in your career.

1. Marketability

When creating your resume, you want to showcase yourself as the most appealing candidate you can be; referencing a second language is a great way to do that. Potential employers realize bilingual employees are at a premium in the marketplace and having these skills can make you an attractive candidate, particularly in the retail and manufacturing industries where knowing Spanish, for example, is invaluable.

2. Distinguishability

The competition for jobs can be intense, and it’s critical to find ways to differentiate yourself from other applicants. If you are in a pool with 10 other corporate recruiters and your collective skills are similar, knowing a foreign language can be the unique talent that gets you that coveted first interview.

3. Relationship Building

Being able to speak a second or third language transcends spoken dialogue. The skill enables you to relate to different cultural groups in a more personal manor. Speaking to someone in his or her own language helps break down barriers and allows everyone to feel more comfortable and confident. This type of dialogue and relationship building is crucial in any business setting. When you are interacting with clients, vendors, and colleagues, knowing their language, even if they also speak English, can elevate the professional relationship. This can lead to more sales, better service and stronger interactions with colleagues.

4. Appeal to Global Companies

Many people are passionate about working for an international company. As companies broaden their reach across continents and service a diverse population, global corporations are demanding candidates who will immerse themselves in other cultures. Foreign language fluency will give you the opportunity to showcase yourself as a global employee, which can be filled with exciting, fulfilling and lucrative professional opportunities. If you like to travel, you can boost your chance of getting selected for international travel based on your abilities to speak a foreign language. Also, your skills could put you in line for a promotion.

5. Improvement of Other Crucial Business Skills

Research shows many skills that come along with knowing a foreign language translates favorably in the work place. For example,

• Some research suggests students who receive second language instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems than those who do not.

• Juggling between different languages can improve multitasking abilities.

• According to a study from the University of Chicago, people who speak multiple languages are more confident with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions still stand up.

If you are fluent in more than one language, highlight the talent on your resume and talk about it during your job interviews. If you are considering learning a foreign language to boost your career, evidence suggests it’s a sound investment.

Photo Credit: Go College