“Good command of English”,“excellent English knowledge”, “proficiency in English”, “English is a must”. One of these lines or a similar others referring to the mandatory character of knowing English is included in almost all the jobs advertisements. Looking for a job today without knowing English is a half-lost battle. Although English will help you get through most of the multicultural work situations, it does not represent a competitive edge anymore. If you want to see your career and salary boosting, knowing English goes without says, but is not enough. Experience has shown that the more foreign languages you know, the better your career will look. The less common the language you know is, the more and faster your career can advance.
There are a few reasons why knowing more foreign languages can help you in your professional endeavors. Alongside with the globalization, people focused on learning the language that helped them best handle any interaction with foreigners – English – which led to a shortage of people having command of other languages used internationally like French, Spanish, German or Portuguese. Not to mention the rarity of people able to manage communication with speakers of Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Greek, Turkish or other less used languages. Handling this kind of languages has become a premium skill; therefore people possessing it have access to premium job opportunities and financial rewards. Last year, the Modern Language Association (MLA) reported a rise of the number of US college students interested in Chinese and Farsi, which were the most two popular foreign languages among them, next to Japanese, Latin and Russian.
It is good news that young people start to realize that knowing English is not enough anymore if you have high expectations. For example, in 2008 the foreign languages in high demand for FBI enrollment were Swahili, Urdu, Farsi and Bahasa Indonesian.
In today’s global business context, where relocation is a routine, knowing the language spoken by natives in the area you are about the move in is a strong advantage over any other candidate to the job, having the same professional skills and command of English. Knowing the language of the people your company is doing business with will not pass unnoticed either. Just knowing to say a few words in the mother tongue of a client or business partner can open doors, hearts and wallets. As a classical German adage says “the best language is always the customer’s”.
Even if better rewarding the command of uncommonly spoken languages is not a stated policy of a company, this is a skill that will indirectly help you stand out from the crowd. Imagine you have to do a research. By knowing more languages, you will be able to browse more Internet pages, not only the ones written in your native language and English. It will also help you to manage better multiculturalism situations. In the end, foreign languages can put you on light and boost your career. Never miss the opportunity of learning even the basics of a foreign language, because you never know how far these few words can take you.