5 Ways to Use Language Skills to Land That Job

These days, knowing a foreign language is a must in order to keep up with our globalised world.

While it’s true that expats living abroad can no longer get by speaking only English, the lay of the land in countries like the UK is also shifting to accommodate a greater prominence in foreign tongues. The high demand for bilingual employees is quickly changing who and how employers hire. On average, managers receive between 40 to 50 applications per job vacancy, making competition truly stiff.  However, if you have the ability to speak more than one language, your value automatically rises, it’s just a question of knowing how to use your skills to land that coveted job. So before you start sending out those applications, check out these five ways you can use your language abilities to get the work you want:

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1. Know your worth.

One of the things that holds a lot of people back from including foreign language abilities on their resumes when applying for a job is their belief that their skills aren’t valuable unless they are fluent in the chosen language. However, studies show that you don’t have to have a language completely mastered in order to land that job. In fact, 74% of employers look for potential employees who possess conversational abilities in a foreign language – not necessarily those who are fully fluent. This means it may be time for you to start telling future bosses that you possess foreign language skills; even if your level hasn’t yet reached fluency, it can still help you get the job!

2. Know your area.

You’ll have a tough time getting the job you want if you don’t know where your multilingual abilities will be in demand. Casting too wide a net can be truly detrimental to your chances of getting a job, so be sure to narrow your focus to areas where you’ll have the highest success rate. The top five industries which have the greatest demand for bilingual workers are health care, hospitality, education, law enforcement, and customer service. With a wide array of options, bilingual applicants have a huge advantage in the job market.

3. Know your parallels.

In general, having foreign language skills alone probably won’t land you a stellar job, but if you’re careful to align them with parallel certifications, you will find yourself in high demand, and will build a well-rounded career! Don’t focus solely on your language study, but rather combine it with another career path which can further guarantee you the success you need. Fields such as business, communications, and information technology are considered some of the best choices for in-tandem study alongside your language classes.

4. Know your possibilities.

When it comes to using your language skills for finding that perfect job, it’s good to know what you are capable of –don’t sell yourself short! Just because a certain job may not fit the top five list of options for bilinguals, if you find yourself interested in a specific field, don’t be afraid to give it a try! You have nothing to lose if you sell your language abilities as a major asset and are open and willing to learn new things.

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Image by Ralph Hogaboom via Flickr

5. Know your ethic.

The process of learning and using a foreign language to its full potential is never over, even after you’ve gained fluency in that tongue. Prior to applying for jobs, work hard garnering experience as a volunteer in areas where bilingualism is appreciated. This adds bulk to your resume and shows potential bosses that you’re able to use the target language in real-world settings. Most importantly, never give your language study a rest. Work constantly to keep improving so that when the big job comes along, your skills will be sharp and ready to be put to the test!

Even if you don’t speak any foreign languages yet, not to worry, it’s never too late to incorporate this skill into your daily life. The first step to gaining language proficiency is to make sure you have access to top-tier language classes which can help you work towards your goals. If you already have some language study under your belt, free online placement tests can help you to determine your level and pinpoint how you need to structure your education. With the right tools, you’ll soon be ready to use your language abilities to reach your full potential and to find the job that is just right for you!