Why Learning a Second Language is Good for Your Career

We already know that learning a second language is great for social and cognitive skills, but what about in the workplace? Transferable skills picked up from learning a language can really enhance your work prospects: here are our top nine reasons why:

1. Language learners are clearly willing to learn new things

If the applicant sitting before you in an interview is already pro-active enough to be a self-starter when it comes to learning, they probably won’t object to workplace studying either. In addition to this, an employer is more likely to invest in an employee that shows good study ethic as this often implies good work ethic.

2. Language learners are already excellent motivators

Let’s face it, learning a new language requires self-motivation and in the office, whether it’s drive to achieve deadlines or the ability to motivate a team, that attitude will prove to be essential.. By showing that you have taken it upon yourself to successfully learn a new language,, you will be able to prove what an asset you are to any employer.

3. Learning a language means communication!

Whether it’s a written text message, a face-to-face meeting, or a conversation over Skype, communication when learning a language is key. It isn’t just vocabulary and grammar that you are learning either. Relatability to multicultural differences is one very important ‘side effect’ of learning a language. As well as this, bilingual speakers automatically filter their language to an understandable level when speaking. Not only do they have their own linguistic obstacles to overcome, they can appreciate the need for clear, concise language rather than going around the houses to make the same point. By having learned a language you demonstrate that you are an effective all-round communicator which can only enhance your chances to be hired.

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4. A large memory capacity

If a learner can retain knowledge about vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, chances are they have the capacity to retain a lot of information for their day job, too. From a call centre operative swiftly using a bespoke computerised system to help customers, to a mathematician able to recall formulae seemingly out of thin air, someone who already has their own established method of cues to help them recall information is going to be an effective employee.

 

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5. Let’s hear it for the multi-taskers

Learning a language in your free time takes a lot of planning. Since practice makes perfect and a work-life balance is an ideal we all strive for, managing your personal schedule so effectively signals to your employer that you can handle anything. As well as time management, language learners become expert at prioritisation of workload, categorical organisation, summarising information from a range of sources – who knows what unforeseen opportunities your transferrable skills will lead to?

6. No wallflowers here, please…

We’re not suggesting you dance your way to a promotion, although if it works, go ahead! What we are saying is that language learners are used to pushing their comfort zone. Showing confidence, even when you are secretly nervous, may decide whether you or your colleague gets to handle that difficult but lucrative new client.

7. Crossing the ‘i’s and dotting the ‘ts

Most language learners become accidental perfectionists. When you first start to get to grips with a language, you want to understand every single word and use every grammar rule that you can get your hands on. This is a skill that shows meticulous attention to detail, and who ever heard of a boss complaining of a job well-done?

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Image via Flickr

8. Whose line is it anyway?

Language learners are the world’s best at improvisation. They have to find solutions to their problems instantly, and if you can’t think why, you’ve never role-played ordering a baguette in a patisserie in Paris with an enthusiastic language partner. The real work benefit from this is excellent decision-making skills and judgement calls that your employer will grow to trust.

9. It’s a long term thing

Finally, the scary one: commitment. A person willing to dedicate their own free time to learn a language is likely to be the kind of person who doesn’t need tethering to their desk to finish their work. More importantly perhaps, an employee who is committed to their own personal development is probably one that is not going to be a flight-risk.

As if all of those reasons for enhancing your career with a language aren’t enough, there is the cold, hard fact of cash. Figures vary, but generally bilingual speakers earn between 5% and 20% more than their counterparts. Is that incentive enough to delve deeper into the world of language learning? Why not contact us and see if there is a course that can help you increase your prospects.

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