Looking for a New Job? Boost your Opportunities by Learning a Second Language

by Brian Jenkins

Adding a second language to just about any resume improves one's chances of obtaining a job and a higher salary. Most recruiters agree that mastery of a second language makes your resume stand out. Spanish, due to Hispanics comprising 15 percent of the U.S. population, and Mandarin, due to China's worldwide economic influence, are currently the most in-demand languages among employers in the United States.

The U.S. Census Bureau forecasts a growing demand for bilingual workers as the United States' population continues to diversify. A 2012 CareerBuilder survey shows that 44 percent of employers surveyed plan to hire bilingual workers.

These are the top 10 commonly advertised job titles that mention a desire for bilingual candidates, according to a survey performed by WANTED Technologies Corporation in May 2012:

  1. Retail representative or retail associate
  2. Teller
  3. Customer service representative or customer service associate
  4. Assistant manager
  5. Wireless sales associate
  6. Store manager
  7. Manager
  8. Commercial parts professional
  9. Administrative assistant
  10. Receptionist

In this increasingly globalized world, those who can speak multiple languages have more job opportunities in an array of fields including transportation, retail, administration, tourism, public relations, sales and marketing, government, multinational corporations, communications, banking, law, and teaching.

You can also gain the trust of and become friends with co-workers and clients whose language you know. Additionally, recruiters report that regardless of the second language one learns, he or she will benefit by gaining better problem solving abilities and better overall communication skills.

Marty Abbott, Director of Education at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, believes, "It doesn't matter what career path you're taking - knowledge of a language beyond English is going to open doors for you." Abbott also stated, "We're starting to see this real demand for employees with a [second language] capability so they can function in a corporate environment. The sector we're hearing from most vocally right now is the government." Also, employers see those with who know a second language as a bridge to new customers.

With many companies, knowing a second language significantly increases your chances of getting a job. Additionally, a heightened understanding of other cultures makes you even more valuable to employers.

About the writer

Brian Jenkins writes helpful articles for jobseekers for the Riley Guide. Check out the Riley Guide's career research center for info on a variety of careers.

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