Article: How learning a new language can help your career

Learning & Development

How learning a new language can help your career

In a globalized economy, learning a second, or a third language can help you explore better career prospects, and give you a creative boost too.
How learning a new language can help your career

Of the 6000 odd languages spoken around the world today, only 15 percent are spoken by more than half of the world’s population. A globalized economy, where collaborations with colleagues in remote locations for better results is seen as a must-have for organizations, learning a second or a third language can help you improve your career prospects in a big way. Moreover, research has pointed out that learning a new language is an excellent creative outlet for individuals, especially in high-stress business environments. Here are a few reasons how learning a new language can help your career.

Increase your resumé quality

Your resumé is a showcase of your talents and skills. Having a second language in your skill set will only increase the quality of that resumé. Prospective employers are often willing to pay a premium for hiring bilingual candidates. French, German, Mandarin and Spanish are the most sought after languages among employers. Even the US Army pays an additional allowance of up to $1000 per month to soldiers who know a second language.

Going past competition

In order to get past the competition for jobs, it is crucial for you to present yourself as a candidate with additional qualifications. In a room with 9 other candidates, your additional language skills can help you do that and make you the preferred choice for a job, especially if the employer has offices abroad and your language skills fit into their expansion plans.

Building new relationships

The knowledge of a second language open you up to cultural experiences and allows you to relate to cultural differences in any group. Speaking to people in their language helps you break barriers and gain the trust of colleagues in remote locations. This results in a dialogue that transcends speech alone and helps you build and strengthen relationships with new colleagues, vendors, clients and business partners. And improved relationships, as you already know, always lead to better sales, services and clear communications with colleagues.

Enhanced creativity

For a long time, most people believed bilingual people would be confused with their knowledge of an additional language. However, it is not true. A 1962 experiment by psychologists clearly indicates that bilingual children have a much higher intelligence quotient in both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Not only that, bilingual people often demonstrate a higher level of creativity as well. Ask a bilingual person about their favorite breakfast spot in English and they would describe their favorite spot in London perhaps, but ask them the same question in Spanish and they’ll describe a spot in Madrid. Researchers have identified that bilingual people can exhibit multiple personalities, depending on the language they are communicating in that can leave a positive impact of creative outcomes.

Other skills

Research also shows that knowledge of foreign language also helps build other skills that are favorable for the workplace.

  • They have access to a larger number of people to interact with
  • They have better multitasking abilities at the workplace
  • They also have better decision making skills as they tend to weigh their options in other languages as well

Learning a new language is a worthwhile investment for anyone, both in time and money. It helps attune our minds for improved working capabilities, helps build empathy towards other cultures and impacts the way we coach and mentor the future generations. Not to forget the financial benefits it can bring with higher wages and better foreign assignments. So if you already possess the knowledge of another language, start using it at the workplace. And if you don’t know a second language already, start learning and enjoy the benefits.

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Topics: Learning & Development

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