How being bilingual can benefit your business career

Career Advice
18 July 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author

The internet has made even smaller businesses part of a global economy as companies seek cheaper vendors, remote workers, and wider audiences. One of the most in-demand traits in today's environment is fluency in another language. The ability to converse in widely spoken languages like English, Spanish, Arabic, or German provides value to employers in a number of job roles. Here are some of the reasons why being bilingual can advance your career.

Increase marketability

When looking for a job, you want your resume to profile you as favourably as possible. The fact that you can speak another language is something employers will find impressive. Your resume will stand out from the others with comparable experience or education, but no special linguistic ability. For example, immigrants to the US with software or bookkeeping backgrounds can take courses, like those from the Interactive College of Technology, to master English and become a valuable asset in managing outsourced teams in their native countries.

Build relationships

The ability to speak one or more additional languages can open up new channels of communication for your company. Over 1.4 billion people speak Mandarin. A company interested in Chinese markets will be thrilled to find you can speak Mandarin. If you're comfortable speaking or learning new languages, it opens up the possibility of building new relationships, which is crucial to growing and sustaining business. Even if they also speak English, a sales office in Paris will be more appreciative and communicative if you speak French.

Develop international appeal

By working for an international company, you get the opportunity to interact with new cultures and perhaps even travel the world. As businesses court overseas customers, and increasingly diverse populations at home, portraying themselves as a global brand is good for business. It's also good for your own career to be a part of such an enterprise and gain international experience of your own.

Improve business skills

Interaction with other cultures and economies in a business context can also be a great learning experience. You may come across insights and ideas that you won't find from your usual associates, and which associates may never discover without the linguistic skills. Juggling activities in two languages can also improve your problem solving and multi-tasking skills. This also provides value to your employer. Make sure a prospective employer knows about your language skills. If you speak only your native tongue, taking the time and effort to learn a second can advance your career.

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