Give your career a boost with a second language

Nov 24 2016, 5:09 pm

Learning another language can open the door for travel, friendships, new cultures, and your own heritage. There’s even research that suggests learning a second language enhances your cognitive skills, as well as multi-tasking and decision-making abilities.

But did you know that speaking a second language can also boost your career?

Besides enhancing your marketability, speaking two or more languages can mean more job prospects, promotions, and international assignments. For an organization, multilingual staff can lead to higher revenues, access to markets, and better customer relationships.

Just ask Henk den Breejen, a Mandarin student at UBC Continuing Studies. Henk takes evening Chinese classes at UBC Robson Square in downtown Vancouver, and has noticed the difference speaking Chinese has made to his business.

“Being able to speak even some basic Mandarin has been a great icebreaker in many conversations, and has made it easier for our company to conduct business,” says den Breejen.

“It also helps my clients feel more at ease. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to communicate with someone in their own language, or make someone smile with a simple phrase.”

Here are four reasons to consider adding another language to your CV.

Bump your salary



A research study by Wharton and LECG Europe revealed that bilingualism can add one to 2% to the average salary. Although that may not seem like much, over the course of a career these gains can add up.

Improve all communication skills



Strong verbal and written communications skills are high on the list of most employers. Learning a second language has been shown to improve your abilities in your native tongue. As you learn to express your ideas and opinions in another language, you tap into your vocabulary, logic, and reasoning.

Spark your creativity



Creative problem solving is a top business skill. In a 2014 Psychology Today article, author Joseph Cardillo says studying a second language not only helps develop new experiences, thoughts, and vision, it contributes to your understanding of the relationships between different things.

Do business better



You don’t have to be fluent in another language to break down communication and cultural barriers. A few key phrases, simple greetings and thank yous can help build trust, create connections, and improve relationships with customers, suppliers, and colleagues. This can in turn pave the way to better business relationships – and higher revenues.

Start by enrolling in small, friendly classes, like those at UBC Continuing Studies, which offers a choice of 10 languages. With classes starting in the New Year, boosting your career is a resolution you’ll want to keep.

For more information, visit UBC Continuing Studies online or follow it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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