Fields in need of second-language skills

Alina Dizik, Special to CareerBuilder

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Knowing a second language can pay off more than you think. While it's a definite perk in many career fields, in a tough economic climate, knowing another language is especially important. According to a recent Korn/Ferry International survey of more than 12,000 people, 31 percent of executives who responded are bilingual, and the need for bilingual executives will be even greater in 10 years. Beyond areas such as education where it's an obvious plus, there are plenty of other fields where being bilingual can have a real impact on your candidacy. Anyone from marketers to software developers can find it beneficial to have another language on the résumé.

Here are surprising career fields in which knowing another language can have added value:

Information technology
The impact that outsourcing has had on the tech industry means those who possess foreign language skills have a leg up when managing large projects that often have an international workforce and span several continents. With tech and software support being a large part of the industry, straightforward communication regarding highly technical work is key. Knowing another language also gives you an advantage when creating software for global consumption and helps you understand the needs of some international consumers.

The impact that outsourcing has had on the tech industry means those who possess foreign language skills have a leg up when managing large projects that often have an international workforce and span several continents. With tech and software support being a large part of the industry, straightforward communication regarding highly technical work is key. Knowing another language also gives you an advantage when creating software for global consumption and helps you understand the needs of some international consumers.

Marketing
Anything from translating key documents to using your knowledge to appeal to another culture can come in handy. Since marketing strategy is now a global phenomenon, another language can make you more valuable to the marketing department of multinational companies.

Anything from translating key documents to using your knowledge to appeal to another culture can come in handy. Since marketing strategy is now a global phenomenon, another language can make you more valuable to the marketing department of multinational companies.

Hospitality
As the tourism industry grows and air travel increases, knowing another language can be a huge perk when working in hospitality. Visitors may find an environment more welcoming if someone can speak to them in their own languages.

Law enforcement
With so many non-U.S. born people in the U.S., working to keep order requires knowledge of other commonly used languages such as Spanish, Mandarin and French. Being bilingual can also help law enforcement officers solve crimes while using fewer resources.

Airlines
In the airline industry, cabin crew and customer service representatives are often expected to speak another language in order to communicate with clientele from all over the world. With an uptick in international air travel and customers who speak so many different languages, speaking a multitude of languages can often be a requirement.

In the airline industry, cabin crew and customer service representatives are often expected to speak another language in order to communicate with clientele from all over the world. With an uptick in international air travel and customers who speak so many different languages, speaking a multitude of languages can often be a requirement.

Gaming
With virtual gaming on the rise, those behind the scenes must know how to appeal to a global audience. Speaking another language is one way to stand out to hiring managers. Bilingual applicants are sought after because they can help identify with audiences abroad and ensure consistency for different groups.

With virtual gaming on the rise, those behind the scenes must know how to appeal to a global audience. Speaking another language is one way to stand out to hiring managers. Bilingual applicants are sought after because they can help identify with audiences abroad and ensure consistency for different groups.

Government
If you're eager to work for a government agency, knowing another language can give you a leg up. Anything from doing intelligence work to working in foreign embassies requires thorough knowledge of another language. Additionally, the need for bilingual security experts will mean growth for those who are fluent in various languages.

Library science
Working with research collections and books can be an obvious tie-in for those who want to use their multiple language skills. Anything from selecting to cataloging books can require knowledge of a non-English language. Additionally, libraries in immigrant neighborhoods have a need for bilingual librarians to help patrons with their needs.

Health care
With so much of the population born outside of the U.S., many medical facilities are in need of multilingual personnel. While translators commonly work in the hospital, knowing another language can help you connect with both patients and other hospital workers. It's especially useful in emergencies.

With so much of the population born outside of the U.S., many medical facilities are in need of multilingual personnel. While translators commonly work in hospitals, knowing another language can help you connect with both patients and other hospital workers. It's especially useful in emergencies.

Alina Dizik researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder. Follow @Careerbuilder on Twitter.



Last Updated: 01/11/2011 - 2:19 PM


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