Foreign Languages Help You Stand Out in the Job Market

November 18, 2016

"As someone who speaks six languages, English, Romanian, Italian, Russian, French and German, although not all of them fluently, I found that speaking foreign languages not only helps when I am in other countries, but also opens opportunities here in the U.S.," says Felicia Bechtoldt of the Oregon Employment Department.

Language skills can help you stand out in the job market. In addition, there are many jobs where languages skills are important.

Think about Oregon's economy. Oregon has relationships with many countries to trade goods, including Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, and Germany. Companies that buy and sell goods to businesses in other counties need to be able to communicate with them.

It is a huge benefit to the company when workers in business, management and sales have language skills and cultural awareness of the cultures with which Oregon has strong economic ties.

How many languages do you think are spoken in Oregon? The answer may surprise you – there are at least 120 languages spoken in Oregon. The most common languages after English are Spanish, Chinese (including Mandarin, Cantonese, and other Chinese languages), Vietnamese and Russian. Job openings commonly requesting language skills are in health care, community and social services, legal services, journalism, education, translation and interpretation services, and hospitality.

Federal, state and local governments recruit individuals with foreign language skills as well. Oregon state agencies, U.S. State Department, CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), county and city governments, local courts, law enforcement, and consumer protection agencies are all looking for job applicants with foreign language skills.

Speaking another language can help you gain a competitive advantage in your job hunt and employers often pay higher wages for workers who use their foreign language on the job.

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