Foreign Language: Employment Advantage

Last time I looked at unemployment, I suggested staying positive, thinking outside of the box, and auditioning to be a game show contestant. Today, let’s be more realistic and look at a real life employment advantage.

While waiting for some packages in the office mailroom, I stuck up a conversation with a building neighbor. Jerome was friendly and talkative. We swapped work stories and how long we’ve been at our respective companies. What was interesting was Jerome just started work a few months ago. From his own mouth, the key for him landing the job, even though we are struggling with high unemployment, was his ability to speak Spanish.

His company has offices in Mexico and his co-workers can only speak Spanish. Jerome, who is Mexican, reflected on his good fortune, “Who would have thought my native tongue would have got me a job? Never mind my skills. It was Spanish.” We both reveled in his good fortune. He continued by telling me about his buddy, who is Mexican, and how he landed a gig in Singapore. It’s because he could speak a little Mandarin (Chinese). Unbelievable!

Final Thoughts

I’m no Jacque Cousteau, but if I were neck and neck with another applicant for a French position, if you were the French hiring manager, wouldn’t you give me a closer look because I have some basic French conversation skills? I know it’s rough out there and Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest is on full display. Why not give yourself a little edge where you can? If you haven’t entered already, make sure you sign up for the Mango Languages Giveaway. You can also click on the Mango Languages logo in the sidebar. Besides learning a new language or brushing up on an old one, you can exercise your brain in a fun way. You might even be on your way to a better job. Are you ready to change your life?

Stay Inspired!

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12 Responses

  1. Aloysa says:

    I speak three languages and none of them helped me to get a job. Well, that’s a lie – English did! However, as soon as I got the job, I was used as a translator a couple times and one of our clients speaks Russian as well, so I get to talk to him in Russian which he loves. 🙂 I think Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin are waaaay more needed languages in the current markets.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Thanks for sharing! Your extra languages might not get you a new job, but I would argue that it makes your business relationships better. Who would not enjoy speaking with a new partner or co-worker in another language?

  2. Muy Bien! My wife mentioned recently that her employer will pay her more for being proficient in other languages. Money!

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Suba says:

    I learned Japanese in school for this precise reason. People who knew Japanese were getting paid more for some reason. Though I don’t remember any of it right now.

  4. I used to know Portuguese, but unfortunately you don’t use it you lose it. It is true what they say: the older you get the harder it is to learn a foreign language. Not to mention the less time you have to do so. Being bilingual is money in the bank–too bad I never stuck to a language.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      So true. Funny, you learn languages better when you are younger, but you are also less disciplined. Who wants to study when you can play? If we only knew back then what we know now…

  5. 101 Centavos says:

    I was told that having other language skills was a positive selection factor when I was hired on to my present company. So, yes, I’d agree with your premise.

  6. Great post and very important for job seekers today. In this market where you may only lose out on potential employment by just a hair, learning a foreign language can give you a leg up during a job search and can help increase your salary.
    • Data from shows that bilingual workers can earn between 5 and 20 percent more per hour than entry-level pay.
    • Bilingual job seekers have an edge over other candidates, even when the job in question doesn’t require a second language. (

    Also, learning multiple languages is becoming increasing valuable in many different job fields. Did you know?
    • Just for learning a foreign language, military personnel can earn an extra $1,000 per month and civilian federal employees can add 5 percent to their base salary.
    • Learning a foreign language helps people be more successful in their careers. Just look at the 64 percent of business executives speak two or more languages. (2008 Kerry/Ferris poll)
    • Foreign languages are becoming so valuable that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says the employment of translators and interpreters in the U.S. is expected to jump by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.

    On top of all of these stats it is a fun way to work the brain and do something that just makes you plain cooler!

    Beverly Cornell
    Director of Awesome
    Mango Languages

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Thanks for the wealth of great stats! If this comment doesn’t spark people to learn a new language, I don’t know what will! Thanks for stopping by, Director of Awesome!

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