As a writer and career coach I have made more than a few
observations over the years. Having dealt extensively with people
in both the US and international locations, I have noticed some
very important cultural, professional, and personal differences.
One thing that I think is particularly noteworthy to reference is
the globalization of the workforce. In reviewing the way companies
are operating, global expansion is happening more rapidly than ever
before; and with the prevalence of not only international offices,
but the significant increases in diverse business operations
throughout the world, it will be important – no, mandatory
that people speak more than one language to maintain a competitive
advantage during career search. Yes, it is true that business is
often conducted in English. The global business landscape is
changing, though. In the not to distant future, fluency in one or
more languages will enhance your professional prospects.
Knowing different languages serves to help improve
communication, but also drives cultural awareness – something
that will continue to grow in importance in business. Why is
learning another language important? Here’s some food for
- International businesses prefer to hire people who speak more
than one language.
- Knowing one or more foreign languages may give you an edge when
competing for an important position.
- Opportunities abroad will continue to grow. Being able to
communicate in another language will make you more marketable with
companies doing business internationally.
- Being able to communicate with people in their language also
demonstrates that you have some knowledge regarding the culture and
rituals of those people.
There are so many languages to explore! The world is full of
rich and diverse cultures. If you consider how much you would learn
and understand, the benefits are immediately clear.
Why should you learn…
Spanish: Spanish is the second most spoken
language in the United States. The company that you currently work
for is probably doing business in many Spanish speaking countries.
If you look around, you will probably notice that many signs are
written in both English and Spanish. When conducting business,
people tend to trust those that speak their language. Since Spanish
is so pervasive, this might be a good place to start.
Mandarin Chinese: With the growth in
China’s economy, it is predicted that China’s economy
will overtake the US economy. While learning Mandarin is quite the
challenge, knowing the language will certainly provide some
valuable benefits – not the least of which is that major
deals are not closed in the boardroom, but rather, in restaurants.
Opportunities will be available for people who can communicate in
Mandarin and serve as value representatives on behalf of a
multinational corporation conducting business in China.
“A different language is a different vision of
life.” Federico Fellini, Italian film director.