As the economy continues to slowly improve and unemployment levels drop, more and more jobseekers are finding the task of getting hired less daunting. Unemployment rates in the United States decreased to 5.40 percent in April of 2015 from 5.50 percent a month earlier. This trend signals a slow yet steadily growing confidence in the economy and a positive future outlook from many companies. Now that doesn’t mean a new job will fall into your lap. You’ll still need to get noticed and recruiters, like Michael Ziegelbaum, of Infinity Consulting Solutions in Manhattan says, “Employers are always looking for that extra something in a candidate, even if it’s not required for the role”. That “extra something” could be anything from being proficient in graphic design to even speaking a second language. “These are all things most candidates will leave off a resume, especially if the role doesn’t specifically call for it and that’s a big mistake”, according to Ziegelbaum.
Employers and HR personnel have become increasingly selective in who they hire and no matter how qualified a candidate may be, anything extra he or she can bring to the table – in a competitive job market – is something they absolutely should do. Most jobseekers don’t recognize just how much employers see language skills as a benefit. Communicating in a second language demonstrates a cognitive ability that many employers find attractive and deem a valuable asset. It’s estimated that more than half of the world’s population, which works out to approximately 3.5 billion people, are bilingual and most of them keep it a secret on resumes and in face-to-face interviews. Now anyone could simply add a line to their resume stating they speak a second language but employers need to be sure. It’s safe to say they won’t just take your word for it. After all, just because you can perfectly read the entrées off an Italian restaurants’ menu doesn’t mean you’re bilingual. You’d likely be better off proving your fluency with a language assessment test to properly verify your speaking, reading, writing or listening abilities. It’ll go a long way and would remove any uncertainly an employer may have about just how well you communicate in a second language.
Of course, it goes without saying that your experience or related work history (for any job opening) is most vital to successfully land the job, but speaking a second language could be the “extra something” that differentiates you from other candidates vying for the same job …who don’t.
Lisa March is a bilingual Marketing and Sales Executive. She works closely with LTI on strategic partnerships, business development and marketing. Her efforts help LTI scale the use and implementation of language assessments in schools, institutions, corporations and government agencies.