The COVID-19 crisis inflicted enormous economic hardships on our workforce. I was furloughed, and many other professionals also suffered furloughs, pay reductions, lost business opportunities, and even layoffs. Yet in the midst of these challenges, it has also created a whole new world of opportunities, enabled by advances in technology and communication. If you are a multilingual professional and have access to basic communication technology, there has never been a better time to shine and thrive.
Multilingual professionals know their skills are highly valued and in high demand. So why are they playing it safe and not exploring the amazing new world of opportunities out there? President Franklin Roosevelt famously said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Many professionals are fearful that they can’t find a better opportunity as the job market seems bleak. I can tell you through personal experience that the job market is better than it appears if you have the patience, perseverance, and correct strategy to outshine the competition. I found an amazing new job and interviewed for numerous others as my then current employer announced upcoming layoffs.
How did I achieve this success? There is now a flood of permanently “remote” or “virtual” positions which no longer require close proximity to a physical office. Often these positions only require someone to be within the same or within a couple of time zones from a legacy headquarters, if there are any location restrictions. This is good news for both employers and employees. A study from the New American Economy (NAE) found that demand for bilingual workers more than doubled in just five years! This was great for employers and employees who had office locations or homes in major multilingual hotspots such as Miami, New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, but was a major challenge throughout much of the rest of the country as multilingual opportunities became much more limited. Now with basic (and often free) telecommunication technology, Wi-Fi, and a computer, a worker can live anywhere and serve an employer or customer living anywhere! That is a major game-changer as the physical presence barrier has come crashing down. I am now employed by a Boston-based company, even though I don’t live in Boston, and I plan to move back to Florida, which is the same time zone.
Of course, that could also mean that competition for such remote jobs can also become more fierce, which is why multilingual professionals need to fully leverage their language skills. I have tried many ways to do this, and by far, the most effective way was to get certified through Language Testing International (LTI). I specifically got my speaking skills in Spanish evaluated. LTI partners with ACTFL, the leader in teaching and testing in languages. Organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, school districts, colleges, and the government use ACTFL/LTI to certify their employees, students, educators, and government officials.
The LTI certification did two very important things for me, first it gave me a thorough analysis of my actual language skills, which has encouraged me to refocus on improving my language skills so that I can obtain a Superior or Native-like level of fluency.
Second, it provided me with a certification that I can publish on LinkedIn, attach to my resume, and even frame on my resume.
An LTI certification is the most effective and efficient manner to advocate your language skills. It is far more cost-effective than a University degree and it gives you the flexibility to go into any industry. During my job search, I was asked about my language skills and I confidently showed my LTI certification showing my Spanish speaking skills. It really helped me stand out from my competition as I did not have to rely on just a “trust me” approach.
If you are a multilingual professional, take advantage of this potentially lucrative opportunity to find amazing remote positions or gigs while much of the competition sits on the sidelines. Utilize the basic telecommunication tools that you have to access the new opportunities that no longer require expensive and disruptive moves or traveling long distances. Help yourself stand out with an LTI certification to really thrive. Those professionals who can utilize telecommunications technology and effectively leverage their language skills will reap the rewards and prosper.
Learn more about Luis’ experience with language certification: