Learning a foreign language is difficult, so why do it? Especially when so many countries speak English? Well, from boosting your employability to awesome trips let’s look at 10 awesome career benefits of speaking a second language.
1) Boost your employability
When discussing careers and employability everyone talks about how recruiters & HR managers only take seconds to look over your CV and you have to make yourself standout.
Speaking a second language and adding it to your CV is an extremely useful skill that can really make your application stand out. Recruiters know that a candidate who speaks more than one language could be can be extremely valuable to a company and so they want this candidate ‘on the books’ as such. For example, at Europe Language Jobs most of our vacancies require English and another language, anyone registered with us who can combine English with a second language (particularly German, Dutch or Nordic languages) will find themselves highly employable.
2) Easily build relationships with employees
Speaking to clients or any stakeholders in their own language helps build confidence between two parties, if you’ve ever been confident enough to try this you’ll be aware of it. To give you an example, I’ve noticed when speaking with people from Spain or France, when I’m able to converse with them in their native language they seem to perk up, a little more energized/interested ‘How did you learn/why/let’s continue the conversation’ etc.
3) Make yourself appealing to big multinationals
Business is global and so we must be able to converse with people from other places, in other languages. If you’re working with a German company but don’t have any German speakers, you’ve got a problem, haven’t you? Sure they’ll probably have English speakers but you can’t rely on others to provide the solution. It really does benefit companies to have people who speak a variety of languages, it’s difficult to do and so makes you invaluable to your company in certain situations.
4) Boost your brainpower
Did you know that learning a foreign language can alter your brain structure and increase its size? Learning a new language is like a workout for your brain, building that muscle!
In business negotiations and meetings, emotions can take over, it’s easily done but can have a negative effect, we’re all passionate about what we do but sometimes logic trumps emotion. Studies show that when you have to make a decision in a non-native language you’re more likely to think logically. The benefits here are clear but also that’s pretty cool, right?
5) Higher Salaries
People who speak more languages earn more money, who doesn’t want more money?! Better get on Duolingo then! Do you have a ton of useful connections? That’s valuable so you can use that to get yourself a higher salary. Speaking a second or even third language is the same, a skill you MUST use to your advantage. Just in my personal experience, people have loads of skills and experience but it’s all pretty similar...The people who set themselves apart slightly are the ones that rise fast and get paid well.
6) Great for your mental health
Most of the career benefits of speaking a second language we’ve discussed so far have been balanced evenly between career and personal benefits. Long-term benefits to mental health are more personal but no less important, so let’s take a look…
Studies indicate it helps prevent or at least hold-off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is more of a long-term benefit than one that benefits your career but still, if you can do something to prevent this, it’s worth trying right?
7) Improve your confidence in the workplace (and your personal life)
If you’re anything like me, you’ll go through a few phases when learning a second language. Initially you question - “am I ever going to be able to learn this?” Sometime later you feel like you’ve nailed it. Then you meet native speakers. It’s around this time your confidence takes a hit, you experience a hell of a lot of nerves when you first start talking to native speakers. Conquer your fear of looking stupid by talking with native speakers, making mistakes and accepting the help they will be only too happy to offer you.
The number of jobs that require foreign language skills is growing, as we discussed earlier, companies from different countries have to work together, take the recent meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Is either of them capable of conversing one to one?
Stop laughing at that image you’ve got in your head now.
Anyway, the answer is obviously no. The translators that they use become INVALUABLE in this regard (they could start or prevent World War 3). It is unlikely you will ever be in such a situation but it’s just an example of how learning a second language can benefit you and your career (and this case, save the world from two…let’s say mavericks as I’m not supposed to be political in my articles…).
An extreme example yes - but the forming of two nations showcases the globalization in business, politics, in almost any field you care to mention. Therefore, speaking more than one language is of enormous benefit. Foreign language job opportunities are on the rise, so be smart and take advantage of it!
9) Opportunity to work and travel!
This one is pretty cool so picture it, your boss needs to go to Paris for a collaboration with a French company, he doesn’t speak French and they don’t speak English. But you speak French… so… who is your boss going to ask to come on the trip to aid in translation? Free travel and experiencing new places (on someone else’s dime) is pretty damn cool.
How can you get a career travelling the world? Speaking a second language could be the way to fund your travelling, any translation jobs? You´ve got it. Any proofreading work in another language? You´ve got it. A company needs someone to travel around Germany and write about their experiences? That's yours!
10) Learn yourself interesting
It’s pretty cool when someone can speak more than one language, in fact some studies have shown that multilingual people are seen as more attractive and the truth is this does play a part in workplace success.
It takes no little time, effort and intelligence to learn a new language so anyone who been able to do this is generally admired, we want to talk to people we like and admire, thus making work more pleasurable for you if you speak more than one language!
Hopefully, now that we’ve discussed the 10 awesome career benefits of speaking a second language you can see that the boost this can give your employability, salary and relationships with clients and co-workers can be amazing, so while it sure can be difficult learning a second language - the benefits make it well worth the effort!!!
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