In the typical resume format, any language skills the employee has take a backseat to work experience, education, and so on. This is a mistake. In today’s global economy, potential employers are more and more likely to be impressed with an individual’s language learning exploits.
Expanding global reach
There are the obvious benefits to the employer. If they have satellite offices or clients in a country where the employee speaks the primary language, that yields immediate returns. Communication is naturally enhanced, but so is cultural competence. When a person learns another language, they often receive cultural understanding along with it.
What language learning says about a person
Then there are the intangible benefits that language learning signals to a prospective employer. To learn another language, someone must be persistent, have a good memory, and display language skills that transfer to the native language.
The best way to improve language skills and make yourself more valuable in the job market is to work abroad. Immersion is the most efficient way to learn a language. Working abroad is also one of the most impressive work experiences you can list on a resume.
Working from home
But even if there aren’t work abroad opportunities in your organization, there are ways for a worker to use their language skills to add value to the company. Perhaps you can handle the internal or external communications meant for the foreign country, or volunteer as translator during meetings. These might seem like small tasks, but they will make you memorable to management – perhaps even indispensable.
When professionals consider adding another language to their skill set, they tend to only consider whether they will have to work abroad or closely with other foreign colleagues. The benefits of language learning go much further than that, which is why it should be a primary focus not only in development plans, but on resumes as well.