Why Speaking More Than One Language Increases Your Job Prospects

Speaking More Than One Language Increases Your Job Prospects
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Why Speaking More Than One Language Increases Your Job Prospects

Let’s talk about why speaking more than one language increases your job prospects. Don’t feel like reading? Listen here! 

Job seekers who are products of the American school system know that only some of us were exposed to effective language learning while we were students. Only a small portion of American students are actually enrolled in foreign language classes, and whether those students are learning enough for fluency—or even proficiency—is another story.

In general, Americans lag behind the global curve when it comes to language proficiency. While up to half the people in the world are bilingual, only 20% of Americans can converse in two or more languages.

If you are one of the rare job seekers who is proficient in multiple languages, know that you are a gem. 

Whether you were raised in a multilingual household, studied languages well in school, or simply went out of your way to learn another language through the plethora of language-learning apps available online, in an ever-shrinking global economy, speaking more than one language increases your job prospects exponentially.

Here are four primary reasons why.

Reason 1: Proficiency in multiple languages improves your relational strength and boosts your powers of communication.

Being able to build strong relationships, whether with coworkers, potential investors, direct reports, or clients, is an important component in succeeding at work—perhaps more important than you might realize.

Employees who demonstrate relational strengths at work tend to excel at:

  • Connecting with others
  • Showing care and concern
  • Radiating authenticity in all interactions
  • Leaving others with the impression that no one is left out
  • Fostering teamwork and cooperation 
Speaking More Than One Language Increases Your Job Prospects

According to Michael Gibbs, the CEO of Go Cloud Architects and Careers, being able to speak more than one language can boost your relational strengths and power of communication exponentially, thereby making you a more valuable hire. 

Speaking multiple languages can have a significant and positive impact on many careers… Part of business is establishing rapport and developing relationships with people. Speaking to someone in their language can go a long way in relationship development. Strong relationships can provide significant career and business opportunities.

No wonder employers are willing to pay bilingual and multilingual employees between 5-20% more per hour.

Whether you speak more than one language by chance of birth or by choice, highlighting this skill on your resume can go a long way toward helping you get your foot in the door, particularly in certain types of jobs and specific markets.

Reason 2: Proficiency in multiple languages improves your appeal in the global markets.

Developments in travel, business, and communications, particularly over the last few decades, have made the world feel increasingly smaller. 

Countries and communities around the world are connected like never before, and if you’re going to participate in the current business climate, the chances that you’re going to experience a multicultural and/or multilingual workplace are high. 

Because of these developments, it makes sense that a proficiency with languages will only be to your advantage during the job search.

Currently, the most “marketable” languages in job seekers in North America include:

  1. Spanish 
  2. Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin)
  3. French (including Canadian French)
languages

This is not to say that other languages don’t make you an appealing candidate. 

Whether you speak Korean, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, American Sign Language, or even computer coding languages, all these skills raise your status when competing for jobs in an increasingly global market. 

Justin Grossbard, Co-Owner of Compare Forex Brokers notes “As ease of travel, stabilization of foreign currencies, and access to the internet has helped to globalize nearly every industry, companies are seeking individuals who are equipped to help manage international business activities. That is why fluency in an additional language is a valuable asset many multinational companies are actively looking for in candidates.”

Giving your language skills a prominent feature in your resume is a must.

Reason 3: Proficiency in multiple languages qualifies you for unique jobs. 

While many standard nine-to-five office jobs will allow you to leverage your language skills at work, being bilingual or multilingual can also qualify you for fun and unique job opportunities, both at home and around the world.

Teaching 

Whether teaching online, overseas, or as a private tutor, multilingual teachers are worth their weight in gold.

Some schools even reimburse language experts for travel, moving expenses, and housing costs. 

Interpreting/Translating

Although there are generally some certifications involved in getting started in these fields, working as an official interpreter or translator can be a dynamic and exciting way to earn a living. 

You can meet new people and get paid to talk! For a certain type of person, this is the dream. 

Assisting with Inflight Communications

Increasingly, airlines have begun to value bilingual and multilingual employees as staff members serving on their flights.

This means hiring more multilingual staff members to improve inflight communications. [Airlines] are prioritizing applicants fluent in Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and/or Portuguese. (Berlitz)

Getting paid to see the world? Yes, please. 

job search

Leading Tours

Either by freelancing or working with an international tour company, you can literally get paid to talk and travel. What could be cooler than that? 

The great thing about jobs like the ones listed above is that not only are they always looking for good people, but they’re also the types of jobs that will allow you to raise your rates the more experienced you become. That means these career paths bring both job security and ever-increasing salaries. 

Reason 4: Proficiency in multiple languages uniquely positions you for remote work.

Remote jobs have spiked 30% since the outset of the COVID pandemic. With remote opportunities on the rise, it only makes sense to leverage your language skills to apply for the best possible remote opportunities.

While you may wonder whether pursuing remote work will hinder your long-term career trajectory, it’s a safe bet that remote work is not going away. This is great news, particularly for bilingual and multilingual job seekers. 

Steven McConnell, Director of Exceptional Resume Writers, believes the current climate presents unique opportunities for multilingual job seekers.

Many businesses now service a global market, so hiring people who can speak more than one language is extremely useful. The more of the prospective employer’s clients you can communicate with, the more valuable you will be to them. It distinguishes you from candidates with comparable or identical experience, skillset, and education, making you more likely to be hired.

McConnell also emphasizes that speaking multiple languages can open up more employment opportunities with international companies.

Speaking More Than One Language Increases Your Job Prospects

No matter how you slice it, being proficient in more than one language makes you a more attractive candidate to employers. Always be proactive about featuring your language skills while you’re on the job hunt, both on your resume and in interviews. In doing so, you can speak volumes about your worth and value.

Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan has spent the last decade writing for the business and corporate worlds. Blending careful research with insightful commentary, she seeks to help job seekers level up in their chosen career paths. A US-based writer, she currently works from the shadow of the Carolina foothills.

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