Learning a Second Language Pays Off in Your Career

Why you Should Learn a New Language

Parlez-vous français? Habla espanol? On Twitter, @aboutworldlangs  featured an article last year: “ Americans can earn 20% more an hour by learning a second language.” In the face of the culturally diverse world, language trends are too important to ignore. De facto (Latin reference!) bilingual or trilingual status is present in eight U.S. states. Spanish was ranked as the second most spoken language in the United States in the year 2000, behind Chinese. Due to its large francophone population, my native Canada is officially bilingual; in reality, one Canadian province, New Brunswick, has a bilingual population of 40%. I have noticed that Spanish is becoming increasingly prevalent on my visits to the United States. Given these North American demographics, acquiring a second language will greatly advance your career or job search. It’s true that learning a second language is challenging, but it is possible. My second language is Spanish, and it’s quickly becoming my third. One day, I want to speak three languages!

Learning a Second Language Pays Off in Your Career

Being fully immersed in the nation or environment where the language is spoken is the most effective method to learn it, according to a certified language educator. Admittedly, this isn’t the easiest route for many, so I would recommend you gain access to the various language resources on and offline, such as Rosetta Stone (ideal for visual learners), Berlitz CD’s (Céline Dion became fluent in English by the Berlitz immersion method) and Twitter handles and Facebook pages. Over the years, I have advised second language students to listen to their second language for a minimum of 15 minutes a day-whether it’s listening to a CD in your car, kitchen or on your iPod. Take language courses in your community, watch the news with subtitles in a second language, and convert your bills into your target language.  Repetition is key, because we learn language in “chunks” (one word, two words, etc., before making a sentence).

On Twitter recently, @aboutworldlangs reported that learning a foreign language was an asset or requirement in seven career fields: communications, business, government, travel and tourism, education, and social services.  Whether you land an upcoming job interview or hear of a possible promotion (for example, government jobs often pay a premium for being bilingual), practise your second language, in case you have to demonstrate verbal and/or written competency.

It’s well known that this is the most competitive job market ever, so capitalize on learning or knowing a second language. It could be part of your professional brand. I use the bilingual brand constantly.  So how can one decide which foreign language is the most valuable to learn? Click here and check out Valuewalk.com’s article.
Good luck! Bonne chance!

Are you ready to take on a new language?

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Melissa Martin

Melissa is a passionate, innovative career expert, who holds impressive credentials in the career/employment field for over 14 years. Her specialties include dealing with the unemployed, underemployed, military members, aspiring entrepreneurs and those who need “career nourishment to re-ignite themselves.”


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