Your career is a language away

This story was originally published on the Career & Professional Development Center’s blog, Peaks & Valleys.

“A command in multiple languages is a valuable asset for U.S. students and employees—not only in boosting their marketability in the workplace, but in helping them thrive in a global economy”, concludes a 2019 report of the survey conducted by Ipsos of Public Affairs for ACTFL (American Council of Teachers of Foreign languages).

Businesses have become more global nowadays employing staff equipped with intercultural communication skills to expand their ties with new foreign markets and partners. With the help of modern technologies, remote work has allowed for a massive expansion of job seekers’ geography. When we need to communicate beyond national boundaries, knowledge of extra languages and cultures becomes a big advantage.

Take a look at the numbers:

  • 9 out of 10 U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English
  • 56% of employers say their foreign language demand will increase in the next 5 years
  • 47% of employers state a need for language skills exclusively for the domestic market
  • 1 in 3 language-dependent U.S. employers report a language skills gap
  • 1 in 4 U.S. employers lost business due to the lack of language skills

Adding a language to your skill box may be crucial for your successful professional career.

  1. An extra language is another way to connect. It unifies people and creates communities. Expanding your international network may lead to more exciting employment opportunities. Even if your native language is widely spoken in many parts of the world, you create more trust and respect if you communicate with customers, clients and partners in their native language. The number one quality employers are looking for in candidates is excellent communication skills to serve their customers who are growing more and more diverse.
  2. Learning another language helps you better understand yourself and your own culture. Exploration of cultures out of your native environment opens up new perspectives, makes you flexible and more analytical and allows you to think broadly about your professional and personal life.
  3. Learning another language gifts you with valuable transferable skills that could be applied to other disciplines and areas. Decoding a different sign system and navigating grammar rules in order to construct the meaning improves memory, develops your analytical and critical thinking skills and enhances your concentration and problem-solving abilities.

Language skills is a gift that keeps on giving. It will give your resume, your personality and your career an extra edge.  Any world language is a huge asset. Analyze your potential job market, areas you strive to work in, the need of the community you are planning to serve and target your language learning strategically.

The Department of World Languages and Cultures at the U offers an array of 22 different world languages and even more culture courses to choose from. Each of them will equip you with knowledge to successfully compete in global economy and enrich your personal and professional life.

Join the Department of World Languages and Cultures and Career & Professional Development Center for the workshop Rebrand your Knowledge of World Languages and Cultures. You will learn about the value of language and culture education for your personal, academic and professional life and how to market these skills to employers.

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