This informal CPD article Boost your career prospects by learning another language was provided by Learn French with Alexa, Online Language education and teaching content of the highest quality, ensuring that our students achieve their desired goals.
Boost your career prospects by learning another language
There’s no shortage of reasons why learning a new language is a good idea. It can prepare you to move to a foreign country, open the door to a new culture, and provide you with a challenging - yet incredibly rewarding - hobby, to name just a few. But one reason, that’s often overlooked, is that learning a new language can do wonders for your professional development.
Being able to speak another language is one of the most valuable skills to have in the job market, which is why schools place such emphasis on language learning, and why language degrees are one of the most popular among students at university. But that doesn’t mean you have to be young to learn a new language (read our previous article: Why it's never too late to learn a new language.)
In today’s world, where you can communicate with teachers and fellow learners on the other side of the world, or practise your vocabulary at the touch of a button, learning a language is easier than it’s ever been. And no matter how far you are in your career, or what field you’re in, having a second language under your sleeve is bound to make a great impression on your résumé.
Show that you're committed
Learning a language takes a lot of time and effort, and at first glance that may sound like a reason why you shouldn't bother taking on such a difficult challenge. But the corollary is that doing so is a great way to demonstrate the kind of commitment and perseverance you can bring to a role. And since communication undergirds every step of the language learning journey, it also speaks volumes about your ability to work as part of a team.
Stand out from the crowd
According to Preply, only 36% of the U.K. can speak a second language;1 another study found that the number is as low as 6%.2 In a crowded job market, the ability to communicate in another language is sure to make you stand out. On the other hand, in sectors or areas where being able to speak another language isn't so unique (the Preply report notes that half of London is bi- or multilingual), being monolingual can be something of a handicap.
That said, besides being a useful asset to have, language skills also reveal something about your background and interests as a person - something that will make employers sit up while combing through hundreds of résumés.
Learn the right language for the job
For many jobs, knowing a second language is an absolute requirement. For professions such as translator, interpreter or tour guide, it goes without saying, but even jobs in hospitality and retail can often demand language skills from potential employees, depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes second language skills are marked down as a preference not a requirement. But if that’s the case, you're likely to have a huge advantage over those who can only speak one.
Reach new markets
The world of business and employment is one of countless opportunities. But many are difficult to seize. Just as having expertise in a certain field can open up the doors to certain opportunities, so can learning a new language. Consumer markets are one example of this. Many brands have recently come to understand the growing value of the Chinese market, for example, with a population of over 1.4 billion people. As a result, being able to speak Mandarin has become an increasingly important skill to have, particularly if you work for a multinational company or with international clients. Other languages, such as Spanish and French, are also key to accessing huge markets around the world.
Make new connections
Even if your native language is English - spoken either as a first or second language by about 20% of the world's population.3 - you're still going to be separated from the other 80% by language barriers. But every language you know is another barrier surmounted, meaning another portion of the world with whom you can talk to, tell jokes, discuss your favourite hobbies and - crucially - network.
Networking can often be the factor behind getting a new job or promotion, so expanding your pool of contacts is never a bad idea. And doing so in a different language will open up opportunities to work in totally new sectors or parts of the world with different people. Even if they already speak your first language, being able to communicate with potential employers in their first language goes right to their heart, and is often the best way to improve or form new relationships.
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