Thinking of learning a new language? This move could be a big boost to your career. Demand for bilingual professionals is high in many industries, which means that your second language could serve you well in job searches and salary negotiations. Here are some things to know about learning a new language to improve your career prospects.
Thinking of learning a second language? This move may improve your career prospects!
Consider your Career
According to The World’s Powerhouse Languages, individuals who learn another language earn more over their lifetime than those who only speak their native tongue. In fact, research has shown that learning a second language can boost your salary by 2 percent, or around a lifetime earning of about $65,000.
Of course, your type of career can largely influence the financial impact of learning a second language. For example, sales reps who are able to serve customers in their home country as well as abroad can likely demand a higher salary than a bilingual professional who works in an industry where being bilingual isn’t necessarily needed.
Choose a Language
The language you decide to learn can determine how well this move will improve your career prospects. For example, demand for professionals who are bilingual in some languages is higher than those who speak other languages. Also, demand for specific language skills can vary between industries.
Start by assessing the language skills that are in demand within your industry. If you’re open to transitioning out of your industry in the future, look at demand for second languages nationwide. Few professionals are willing to invest the time to learn languages like Chinese, so this may be an option to set you apart from others. Of course, the language you choose should be one that you actually want to learn, regardless of demand within your industry.
Expand your Horizons
As you begin learning a new language, your worldview could begin to shift and you may begin exploring other career prospects. For example, if your situation allows, you may explore the option of studying the language abroad or may want to work abroad after becoming fluent in the language.
Before deciding whether to work abroad, compare your current salary to average salaries in the foreign country. You should also assess such details as the average cost of living in the foreign country. These and other details can help you determine which choice will offer the best and most lucrative career opportunities.
Tout your Skills
Potential employers won’t know you speak a second language unless you tout your skills. When applying for a new job, list your level of second language fluency in a visible location on your resume and mention this skill in your cover letter. During the interview, be honest about your second language fluency and provide records of any official training you received in the language.
Learning a new language can boost your visibility with potential employers and could earn you a higher paycheck. Learn about the demand for bilingual professionals in your industry, strategically choose your second language and look beyond your current job to make the most of the opportunities of learning a new language.
Shayla Ebsen is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience both in the corporate and freelance settings. Learn more about Shayla here.