Using your foreign language skills to boost your career prospects

Find out how knowing a foreign language could help you get ahead of the competition with your job aspirations.

Have you ever wondered if speaking another language would get you ahead in your career? If you have, the answer to your question is an emphatic yes. Speaking another language is an incredibly desirable skill for potential employers, here’s why:

Many job types require multilingual staff

There are so many potential employers who will stipulate that an employee needs to be able to speak another language. Examples of jobs like this include:

  • Translator/Interpreter
  • Foreign language voiceover work (e.g. French or Arabic voice overwork)
  • Airport staff
  • Tour guides
  • Hotel staff
  • Customer service representatives within overseas travel

There are also plenty of jobs where knowing a second language is useful and a desirable skill, even if it’s not strictly required. Prime examples include:

  • General hospitality jobs
  • Creative industries
  • Travel careers
  • Healthcare
  • Call centre work
  • Finance roles
  • Products & marketing (particularly international)
  • Business liaisons

By learning another language fluently you instantly open the door to so many jobs, either by having the direct skills needed, or by having an extra useful skill that other candidates don’t.

The digital era has enhanced foreign language need

These days almost every business is in some way communicating with clients or potential clients out with their own country. Whether it’s through social media, global freelancers or international branches or a global customer base, we’re all becoming more connected online these days. By being bilingual, you’re an asset to a business looking to tap into customers, talent and clients in other parts of the world.

You appreciate what is different

A science study has shown that people who are bilingual literally see the world differently. You begin to appreciate what’s different much more than you did previously, and your cognition, language and cultural awareness is boosted. For employers, these are incredibly useful and desirable attributes in a candidate. In particular in business, it gives you a valuable insight into foreign business culture, and the ability to reflect on your own culture too.

Knowing a foreign language boosts your overall skill set

Science tells us that speaking more than one language helps us to be generally smarter overall. By learning another language we boost our overall cognitive processes, helping us to multi-task, learn and problem-solve with more success than people who speak only one language. This can only boost your employability, and your overall ability to thrive in your chosen career.

Creative industries need multilingual workers

Travel is cheaper than it ever was, which means creative industries like acting can be pursued in countries out with your home country. There are also jobs working and performing in foreign holiday camps, on cruise liners and travelling theatre productions. Industries such as voice over agencies, subtitling and video production companies are also in dire need of bilingual employees.

Businesses want to expand their digital output with accurate translation, which is best done by a native or, at the very least, fluent speaker. For the best chance of a successful globalisation drive, a business also requires a team that is able to help in all ways with reaching out to new clients, customers and suppliers in new areas.

Is it time you learned a new language?

If you want to boost your career prospects, now could be a great time to learn a new language. Whether you want to become a voice over artist, business liaison or hospitality manager, there’s no doubt learning a new language is definitely a smart career step.

Lawrence Blackwell’s Bio 

Larry has had a varied career in PR and Marketing with responsibility for the marketing department of several SMEs and experience in international organisations. He has developed new marketing strategies with a particular focus on understanding and exploiting multi-lingual campaigns. He speaks French, Spanish and his native English and is a regular contributor to the Matinée Multilingual Blog.