How Learning a Second Language Makes You a Better Job Applicant

Those who are fluent in more than one language have become very desirable to companies around the country as of late. As global markets expand and America becomes a larger melting pot of cultures, businesses will need talented linguists to spread the message of their services and draw in new customers.

If you are currently bilingual or are thinking about learning a second or third language, then you have just become a very hot commodity on the job market. In fact, if you are really good at what you do, you could have a pick of several companies that want to add you to their payroll. Let’s talk about the need for bilingual employees and how you can elevate your career by learning something new.

Companies Need Bilingual Employees

Right now, there is an urgent need for companies to add bilingual employees to grow their business. These days, you can only go so far advertising solely to an American market. Businesses need to expand and they need translators to help lure in new customers, assist with mergers with foreign companies, and proofread important international documents. Not only will bilingual employees be instrumental in their success, but companies will also save money on translator costs.

Companies also need bilingual employees so they can provide great customer service over the phone, in person, and through written communications. Some customers who aren’t from America are more comfortable speaking in their native tongue, and the last thing companies want to do is turn them away or say they cannot assist because they don’t speak the language. By having a bilingual employee on the line, those customers can be assisted and even upsold to bring in more money. Customers who recognize a company’s willingness to help in their native language may refer their friends as well.

With all this said, there are other ways that employers can use bilingual applicants that go beyond the practical needs. For instance, bilingual applicants make better employees overall due to their ability to multitask better than those who speak only one language. Employers are especially on the lookout for bilingual applicants who can write and speak both languages at a moment’s notice. This ability shows that these individuals can process information at a faster pace, which is another great attribute of any employee.

What’s In It For You

While businesses benefit greatly from your bilingual talents, applicants can reap great rewards as well. For starters, you greatly increase your chance of getting hired for the job of your choice. When you have something on your resume that separates you from the pack, your application is given more attention, and if you have other skills to round out your bilingual attributes, then you will have an even better chance. In the last five years, the demand for bilingual employees has doubled, so this is the time to strike.

Those who bring an extra attribute to the table have a stronger argument when it comes to negotiating for a higher salary. As it is, hourly earnings for bilingual employees can be 5-20% more than their non-bilingual counterparts. On top of that, your earnings potential could further increase based on the languages you read and speak fluently. Those who speak Spanish will still see a bonus but on the lower end, while German speakers may get paid more because employers see applicants who speak it less frequently.

For all of these reasons, it is important to make your second language fluency known when applying and interviewing for jobs. If you are fluent in many dialects, then you may want to have a standalone languages section on your resume. If an understanding of a second language helped you excel in a past job, consider adding that information into the job achievements section with a detailed bullet point. That could be something to the effect of, “Used my fluency of the Spanish language to increase market visibility in Spain by 10%.”

Mention your second language during the interview as well. Bring it up early in the conversation. If the manager asks about a specific job responsibility, mention how you can help in several languages.

Careers for Bilingual Applicants

One of the most important benefits of being a bilingual applicant is the larger net of job possibilities. If you are already thinking about looking for a new job, chances are it’s time to start looking. With your language skills and some additional schooling, you could work in a plethora of industries, from law and education to sales and banking, and get that excitement you desire while completing meaningful work every day. While many businesses need bilingual folks for sales and customer service, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

For instance, as our nation becomes more diverse, there is a growing need for bilingual teachers to help the students of our country. Teaching requires the abilities to communicate and adapt to new situations and learning types. It is also necessary for teachers to be unbiased and treat all students equally. In this regard, bilingual teachers have the whole package.

Over time, just about every type of industry will need more bilingual employees. The healthcare industry needs bilingual doctors and nurses that can communicate with all patients. In law enforcement, the ability to communicate is paramount so that people can remain safe and understand the rules. Whether you are a flight attendant, hospitality manager, or social worker, the ability to speak to any customer will make your job much easier and will lead to more business for just about any company or industry.

So, if you were on the fence about learning a new language, now is the time to take the plunge. When you make an effort to improve your worth, it is only a matter of time until you land the dream job.


BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in balanced, healthy living through technology and education. She loves travelling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.