Many articles have thoroughly described the benefits associated with virtual English courses. Those who learn English as a foreign language will be able to effectively communicate with others and this skill opens up a plethora of professional employment possibilities. However, what about native English speakers who endeavor to learn a second language such as French, Spanish or Italian? Are there any advantages associated with this approach? Can these skills help to advance your career? Let’s take a look at why becoming bilingual could provide the boost that you have been looking for.
In the past, the SME (small-to-medium-sized enterprise) community was generally local. In other words, firms would deal with a relatively narrow customer base and seek to establish long-term relationships with their clients. This has all changed thanks to the scope of the Internet. The rise of the digital world has ablated the majority of geographical borders and marketing has taken on a truly international scope. This is why professionals who speak a second language are highly desirable.
Studies have shown that bilingual employees may be able to earn up to ten percent more than their monolingual counterparts. This is even more relevant when referring to languages spoken by millions of individuals across the globe (such as Mandarin Chinese and Spanish).
Rising Above the Competition
It can be rather challenging to develop a professional career in this day and age. This is due in large part to the sheer amount of competition that you are likely to face; even within niche fields. As companies become even more stringent regarding who they hire, it pays to remain one step ahead of your contemporaries.
Possessing bilingual skills will provide you with a highly competitive edge that may be difficult to achieve otherwise. This is even more relevant if you happen to be applying for a position in sales, marketing, or customer relations. Of course, you may also be provided with the option to broaden your horizons by working with a firm that is located in a foreign country; not a bad way to see the world!
Another lesser-known point to emphasize involves the potential to change positions within your current firm or to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Those who speak more than one language are often capable of establishing valuable networking connections. These can then be used to appreciate the current employment landscape. If you happen to be less than satisfied with your current position, a bit of change could be in order. Those who are bilingual will be provided with a professional “springboard” to realize their dreams from a long-term perspective.
A Cultural Advantage
Learning another language obviously means entering another culture, at various levels. Initially, the first contact is always awkward, unless they have both the same roots (an example would be two latin languages). But eventually, what the person will learn is much greater than the sum of the words entering in his mind. Behind every single one of them, there is a story. That is why some words don’t necessarily translate well, in another language. It is that culture that will also raise the value of an individual, when a company decides to hire them.
Understanding the values of other countries is an added advantage that is unique to those who speak multiple languages. This quality is the one that makes a difference when it comes to negotiation between companies, or even in the B2C industries. To provide a service or a product to someone, you need to understand why they would need it in the first place and what their vision of it is, within their culture. More than the language itself, the cultural aspect that comes with it, can therefore be a major difference-maker for a person negotiating his own contract with his employer. Especially if the person has spent some time within a country to learn or grow their knowledge of this particular language.
Becoming a Go-to Person inside the Company
If someone has high aspirations for his career, then learning many languages is definitely the way to go. That is because speaking languages is a real-life quality, that can be needed at any time. If a manager is required to deal in a language that he doesn’t understand, he will ask around the firm for someone who possesses the capacity to do so. It is therefore important to let the people around us, inside the company, know that we have this ability. Once a multilingual person gets discovered by someone higher in the hierarchy, chances are, they will be called upon for their services, again and again.
That provides a unique visibility that creates opportunity. It is then up to the person to showcase his own capacity in the other fields that the company is looking for, so that he is offer a better job, inside the firm. This is how advancement really works in business: People become valuable to others above them, before (sometimes) they end-up taking their place. There can be no doubt that speaking various languages will make someone a go-to person, inside their company.
These are some of the main reasons why learning a second language could offer the boost that you have been desperately searching for. As online courses have become commonplace, beginning this journey is straightforward. Change is a good thing and your career will undoubtedly benefit from such a decision.