BY LORRAINE McKINNEY
Learning a new language isn’t just something that is going to help make you a well-rounded person. It can also help you to land the job of your dreams. If you are taking foreign language studies, the first thing you should do, if you can, is to try to combine your language degree with a core subject. If you can tie the language degree in with a specific field, you will have a better chance of landing that dream job than you would if you just had a language degree.
Your Career Goals
It is important to establish your career goals before you take on a language studies program. Just having other languages under your belt isn’t necessarily going to help you find a great career. You need to have a plan in place. Consider how you are going to use your foreign language studies to become highly employable. Don’t leave this until you are ready to graduate. The sooner you have a plan in place, the sooner you can start searching for employment. Remember, you don’t have to be a graduate to begin your search. Start searching how, and have that dream job all lined up for when you graduate.
A lot of people think that they have to be native-fluent in a language in order to qualify for certain positions. Many companies are more than willing to hire people who have functional fluency. If you possess the skills needed for the job, along with the ability to understand and speak the language, chances are you will be considered a good candidate over others who only have the business skills and not the language skills.
Market Your Skills
Not every potential employer is going to see the need for the particular foreign language skills that you possess. Rather than let this defeat you, find ways to show employers how this education has benefited you in other ways, and how it can help you to be the best candidate for the position. For example, show them how learning another language has enhanced your English skills. Show them how your training has given you better listening skills, and how you have learned to really pay attention to details. Use anything you can think of to show that there are many benefits to having an employee who has a foreign language studies degree.
Work in Education or Translation
Maybe you would like to work for yourself and avoid working with a large corporation. Your skills can work for you here. Look for language-based careers that you can do as an entrepreneur, such as website translation services, private tutoring, writing and translation, and more. The great thing about these jobs is that you can work from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. Think of this as an opportunity to work and travel at the same time, and you can really hone up your foreign language skills.
Seek Out International Companies
Look for companies that are internationally-oriented. They often have positions all over the world, and require their employees to speak a variety of languages. These companies are looking for candidates who have foreign language studies degrees, and you could find yourself working just about anywhere in the world. It is a good idea to combine your foreign language skills with business courses.
Think Outside of the Box
Instead of learning one of the more common languages, such as French or Chinese, consider learning another language that is going to help land you that job. For instance, German and Japanese are both language skills that are wanted by employers across most, if not all sectors, particularly sales, marketing, and operations.
Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.