As the marketplace goes truly global with more companies doing business across miles and borders, the value of listing foreign language skills on a person’s resume continues to rise.
Professionals are likely to discover having command of one or more languages other than English gives them a distinct competitive edge in not only landing positions, but also in pay.
Staying Competitive in a Global Business Climate
Professionals in almost every field are likely to find organizations with international clients are setting their sights on multilingual hires.
Going beyond hiring translators working on contract, firms are looking for professionals with the right qualifications for their field and knowledge of multiple languages. Professionals proficient in multiple languages that deliver industry-specific qualifications do stand out to hiring managers in fields such as manufacturing, sales, law and other enterprises.
Some of the foreign languages recommended for conducting international business include Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Russian, German and Portuguese, according to an Entrepreneur magazine article.
The push to hire professionals fluent in multiple languages comes as more companies move away from relying on interpreters or translators when conducting business overseas in favor of creating their own in-house teams of multilingual professionals, as more firms realize the competitive edge in an increasingly global marketplace.
Professionals who speak and understand other languages can communicate directly with foreign clients and understand their challenges, their culture and other frameworks associated with business relationships across international borders.
Multilingual professionals don’t just position their organizations to earn more, they are also likely to reap financial rewards themselves. Salary.com estimates bilingual employees may earn between 5-20% more of a position’s base salary. Language software company Rosetta Stone conducted a survey in 2005 that showed employees with multilingual abilities earned as much as $10,000 a year more than employees who only spoke their native tongue.
CEOs Understand the Value
Some of the top players in the global marketplace are leading the multilingual charge by example with their CEOs also boasting command of more than one language. These are just a few of the leaders who have taken the plunge to learn other languages while enhancing their understanding of the cultures their firms serve:
- Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – The co-founder of the social media giant has such a strong command of Mandarin he was able to host a question-and-answer session in that language at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
- Apple’s Steve Jobs – Prior to his death, Jobs became fluent in Armenian.
- Hewlett-Packard’s Leo Apotheker – The firm’s former CEO commands five languages, including English, Dutch and Hebrew.
- MJW Embroidery’s Mike Whaites – This British business leader learned Swedish in four months to better understand his clients and their culture. The acquisition of a second language has enabled him to email with clients in their native tongue, write business plans in their language and better serve their needs.
Professionals seeking a way to enhance their resumes while potentially boosting their earnings are likely to find picking up a second or even third language translates to success. As more organizations set their sights on globalization, multilingualism is fast becoming a hot commodity.