Dual Lingo – How Learning a New Language Boosts Your Career
Canada is known for being multi-cultural, and that’s certainly proven by this interesting fact from Statistics Canada from a study released in July 2018 — 17.5% of the Canadian population, or 5.8 million individuals, use at least two languages at home. And while it is a common scenario for those who do speak more than one language to utilize their native tongue at home, these days, it is becoming more widespread for some companies to go for professionals who speak two or even multiple languages.
Whether you’re currently on a job hunt or stuck in a job rut and you feel you’re hitting humps and bumps here and there, consider learning a foreign language. While It is not a mandatory skill, it will certainly give you an edge over other candidates, open you to more promising job opportunities, or expand your potential. Let’s look into this further below.
It’s all about soft skills
During your job search efforts where you had to customize your resume and cover letter per each posting, you’ve probably come across the term soft skill and hard skill. Hard skills are the abilities that can easily be quantified like coding or proofreading skills. On the other hand, soft skills are the abilities that gear more towards “people skills” or “interpersonal skills” like flexibility and communication skills.
While knowing multiple languages is by itself is a proof of one’s proficiency, it also demonstrates your adaptability, which is one of the critical soft skills for 2020 according to NYC-based career strategist Carlota Zimmerman. Being adaptable means that you are able to seamlessly adjust to your workplace environment or culture and that you’re open to new ideas and change. In a fast-changing world, this is a vital quality for employees everywhere.
It also goes without saying that learning a foreign language also allows you to learn more about cultures and traditions other than your own. And if you can easily adapt to an office environment and possess a wider knowledge of world views, you can easily blend in with your peers and managers, communicate better with them, and establish stronger relationships with them. This then ties back to being armed with the soft skill of communication skills.
A skill enhancer
Studying a foreign language also strengthens your current abilities. Because you’re using your brain power to know new words and unfamiliar phrases, you improve your memory and sharpen your mind in the process. You’ll notice that you’ll be more alert as well and you develop your strengths in thinking in your feet.
Furthermore, since you’ve conditioned yourself to use different languages depending on the scenario you’re in, you also enhance your abilities to multi-task, which is something employers wouldn’t say no to. In fact, if you can make it evident that you are able to juggle important tasks, you’ll likely to gain more bonus points.
Of course there’s the obvious advantage of being able to speak a foreign language – you get to have an expanded audience. You make yourself appealing to companies with global offices or even those with a global vision. They will see you as someone who can definitely add value to the team.
In addition, for companies who are committed to professional development and additional training for their employees, you’ll be among the first on the list for out-of-the-country locations because they already know you’ll be able to adjust to a foreign environment easily. So better prepare yourself as loads of travel opportunities may be in store for you.
In the same vein, if a company is planning an expansion or looking into expanding to other locations worldwide, you’ll likely be on the top of the list given your ability to speak a foreign language.
Don’t underestimate the power of possessing foreign language skills. It can be a huge career booster as long as you know how to take advantage of it.