Foreign Languages Prove to be a Very Useful Career Advantage

by Stephen Craig

With a national unemployment rate hovering between eight and nine percent, job-seekers must find every advantage they can. Jobs are scarce, and competition is fierce for the few open jobs that exist. A college degree and a solid work history gives an edge to anybody looking for a job. It’s also great to know a foreign language.

Many college students have chosen to learn Korean, Chinese and other Asian languages since more U.S. organizations are doing business with Asian companies every year. That gives job-hunters with Asian language skills a distinct career advantage. Domestic companies also need bilingual employees who can speak English and Spanish. The Hispanic population is growing quickly, and companies find an increased need for bilingual workers every month. Help lines, customer support teams and even hotel reservation lines use bilingual workers.

Multilingual Positions

The industries that value multilingual employees are healthcare, education, government, commerce and industry. The most requested languages are Spanish, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Arabic, German and Japanese. While many high school students have a basic knowledge of a language, they need to strengthen their skills before taking on a job that requires interacting with foreign businesses. It’s not good enough to learn Korean on-the-job. The employee should be fluent in speaking and writing a foreign language before they’re hired.

If you know a Latin-based language like Spanish, it’s easy to learn Portuguese because it is also based on Latin. Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal. Portuguese is the official language of South American economic giant Brazil and several African countries like Angola, Mozambique, East Timor and Guinnea-Bissau. Because Brazil is so influential in South American commerce, countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay have Portuguese speaking companies and communities.

Foreign Languages Bolster Intelligence

In addition to the obvious customer-relations benefits of knowing a foreign language, people who have mastered a second or third language are faster learners. Their brains have been rewired to make associations that people who only speak one language do not make.

Employers are more likely to hire someone who has foreign language experience if the ability is relevant to the position. It’s also important to understand the foreign culture so that the employee doesn’t offend the residents of the foreign country.

If you’re looking for a job, bolster your skill set by learning a second language. Spanish is a good choice if you’re going into customer service. Learning an Asian language will help you if you plan to work with a company that does business in Japan, China or Korea. There are numerous DVD-based programs, local classes and Internet websites that offer free foreign language lessons. In just a few months, you could add a skill to your resume that will make you more desirable to many companies.

This post was written by Stephen Craig

Stephen Craig is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @SCraigSEO.

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