Benefits of Being Multilingual
Being a multilingual candidate makes you a candidate for job opportunities that aren’t open to others! Your language skills mean you have much wider market opportunities than most other candidates, and you should use that to your advantage. But how? First, you must learn how to market yourself as more than just a traditional candidate- you are a multilingual candidate!
Benefits of being a multilingual job candidate
There are all kinds of benefits to working with a language other than your native tongue. Bilingual employees not only know how to speak the language, but, in most cases, they also have knowledge about their native country’s culture, which is always an advantage when dealing with international clients.
- Translation made easy. Having a bilingual employee makes using localization services easy. The staff member could be in charge of proof reading the translation of the content of the website, a menu or document.
- It is well known that bilingual candidates can switch between tasks a lot quicker than people who know only one language. People who speak several languages can process information faster and more efficiently.
- Often you will be compensated for using a second language. Something to note is that speaking an in-demand language can increase your pay rate! Some companies offer considerable language bonuses for speaking languages that are sought after for the international hospitality market.
- You can break into niche markets. By having fluency in a language other than your native tongue, you have opportunities for work in niche markets that require not only your language skills, but also your other career skills. For example, a candidate who has 15 years of accounting experience, but is also fluent in English and Arabic now has more opportunities than the candidate with the same background who is only fluent in English.
- You can relocate. Speaking another language fluently is an invaluable asset if you’re interested in moving outside your country of birth. For those looking to relocate, having a fluent language other than their native tongue can be an asset in the job hunt- especially for hotels etc that are dealing with international clients. It’s always nice for a client to be able to communicate in their own language when staying at a hotel.
- You can be more competitive. Sometimes the smallest differences between candidates can mean getting a job offer. And in fast growing industries like tourism and travel, sometimes what you need is that edge to set yourself apart from all the other applicants with similar CVs.
- Demand is increasing. Jobs seeking multilingual candidates is a market trend that is rapidly growing. Language skills can be another way to market yourself to hiring managers and recruiters.
- Somewhat ironically, there’s no universal vocabulary for describing bilingualism. Words like ‘proficient,’ ‘intermediate,’ and ‘business-level’ can mean different things to different people. Likewise, candidates may be fluent in one dialect but uncomfortable communicating in another.
- Bridge the cultural gap. An ability to communicate in a second language is valuable, but being able to relate to people from a different background is equally important. Being mindful and considerate of foreign customs and etiquette can go a long way to bridging the cultural gap. For example, shaking hands is a customary gesture in the western world to greet someone but if you travel to Asian countries, bowing might be more appropriate. In the United States we like to smile and make eye contact when introducing ourselves. In foreign countries, these gestures might be deemed unusual or even impolite in some circumstances. In France, it is customary to maintain a certain formality when addressing people by using “Monsieur” or “Madame” followed by the person’s last name, even those you have known for some time. Be aware of what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t and you will be more successful as a result.
- Travel. Although this is not guaranteed, being bilingual increases your chances of being able to travel. This will be dependent on the company you work for and the nature of your job.
- Take on a second job. If you’re looking to supplement your income or you want to improve your second language skills, you may consider becoming a translator, interpreter or teacher. As a certified translator, you’ll be able to translate written text into your target language and vice versa. As an interpreter, you’ll provide oral interpretation between two parties.