Do you speak another language? In nearly every field and profession, from financial services to sales, there is a growing need for multilingual candidates. Any company that has offices and clients throughout the world seeks employees who can speak languages such as Russian, Arabic, German, Spanish or French.
You don’t have to be a highly trained professional in the job market, either. Even new graduates who are fresh out of school and conversational in a second language are finding that they have an extra edge during job interviews. While bilingual skills aren’t always required to land good jobs, many companies prefer to hire candidates with this added skill.
Now , before you go into your boss’ office demanding a raise, do your homework. In some jobs, it’s the position, not the employee, that is considered bilingual. Even if you can carry on a conversation in another language, companies will want to test you to be sure you can fully and effectively communicate the policies and technical terms of the business. The tests may be written or oral, and the materials may vary between employers.
The Demand Is There
Whether companies are conducting business overseas or trying to grab a larger market share at home, employers are always looking for bilingual workers, or people with the ability to speak and communicate in more than one language. I did a keyword search on CareerBuilder.com using the words “bilingual”, “multilingual” and “language”, and I found more than 4,500 job postings seeking applicants with some sort of foreign language skill.
In the United States, Latinos account for half the nation’s population growth since 2015, thus making them the largest minority group according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So if you are bilingual in English and Spanish, you are particularly in demand throughout the Southwestern states and Florida.
On the West Coast of the United States, you’ll find Japanese and Chinese are highly sought after languages. In the larger cities, such as New York, Chicago, L.A., etc., you’ll encounter languages such as Arabic, Russian, Hindi, Italian, and more.
If you can speak two or more languages with equally (or nearly equal proficiency), tell employers up-front that you have this ability. If they do not have an immediate need for your linguistic capabilities, they are likely to see your fluency as an added benefit and asset in the hiring process, and it may encourage the company to expand their demographics.
In your CV/resume, mention your language skills in your cover letter or skills summary. List each language, including English. Be honest, though. If you just had a couple of semesters of a language in high school or college, use the phrase “knowledge of…”. Never overstate or understate your expertise.
The bottom line: Being bilingual literally pays off, use it to your advantage.