Did you know that there is a growing demand for bilingual workers throughout the United States? According to a 2019 study conducted by the New American Economy, the demand for bilingual workers doubled from 2010 to 2015. In 2021, there was an even bigger demand for bilingual software developers, legal managers, and executive assistants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emphasis placed on remote employment.
As the employment landscape continues to evolve, bilingual workers have never been in a better place and better time to take advantage of their multi-language skills. Here are some tips on how to market them.
Oftentimes, if you’re applying through a job board or the company’s website, the recruiters may add screening questions to help weed out unqualified applicants. These screening questions may include whether or not a candidate is bilingual. However, it’s not a guarantee that every job posting will have these, so you have to make sure your skills are highlighted on your resume.
The best rule of thumb is to sprinkle your bilingual skills throughout your resume to show how they’ve benefited your career so far. It’s recommended that you mention your bilingual skills in your objective, skills section, and when detailing your past experience. If you prefer, you can add a “Languages” section at the bottom of your resume to indicate your skills and fluency level.
Keep in mind that the average recruiter only spends six or seven seconds looking at a resume. If your relevant skills and experience don’t catch their eye, then you could be losing out on a job opportunity you’d otherwise be perfect for.
If a company is looking for a bilingual speaker, you must indicate your fluency level. While some roles may consider bilingual applicants a bonus, some roles such as interpreters, teachers, or crisis intervention positions may require fluent speakers. When indicating your fluency level, describe your skills as either basic, intermediate, or advanced, with basic knowing a few key words and advanced reflecting your ability to write and speak the language with little to no difficulty.
As previously mentioned, the ability to expertly speak another language may be a vital part of the job responsibilities, so it’s always best to be clear about what you can do from the start. This may be the deciding factor between you and another applicant.
You secured the job interview! Now’s the perfect time to show off your bilingual skills and what value they’ll bring to the position. During the interview, you’ll be asked about your experience, so use this as an opportunity to explain how these skills have benefited your last position.
For example, if you’re interviewing for a teaching position, you could describe ways in which you’ve been able to communicate with parents or students who didn’t speak English or how you were able to de-escalate stressful situations or provide interpretation services. Then, discuss how these could be an asset for the current role you’re applying for – i.e. being able to effectively communicate with clients/customers, travel internationally, etc.
If you want, you could even offer to showcase your bilingual skills in the interview. If the recruiter is also bilingual, perhaps even offer to do the interview in the other language.
If you’re applying for a job online, there’s a spot for you to upload and attach your resume and cover letter. Most of these online applications don’t have limits on how many documents you can attach, so why not submit a video, as well? Shoot a one or two-minute video on your phone introducing yourself, what skills you bring to the position, and your fluency in a different language. This is a simple way to showcase your skills and it’ll set you apart from the other candidates.
If you’re applying for a job that is looking to hire only bilingual speakers, you’re going to have more competition. That’s just the way it is. Though it may make sense as a bilingual speaker to look for bilingual roles, doing so can significantly limit the number of positions you can apply to. Simply put, most employers need a bilingual speaker but just don’t realize it yet.
That’s where you come in. Whether you speak to your current employer about promotions and other available opportunities or apply for something new online, asking how your bilingual skills can be of value is a golden idea that too few candidates take advantage of. The best way to market yourself is to make your skills known in the first place.
Top In-Demand Careers for Bilingual Speakers
Fortunately, countless industries are looking for bilingual speakers, such as:
This skill is in high demand for good reason, too. The healthcare industry, for example, prefers to hire bilingual staff as it saves them money from hiring bilingual contractors. Plus, bilingual speakers allow every industry to connect with and provide services to a wider net of people. According to a 2016 report conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for bilingual workers was expected to rise over the next 10 years. As we near the end of these 10 years, the trend has continued upward and it’s likely one to stay. Unsurprisingly, bilingual employees tend to make $5-$20 more an hour than their non-bilingual counterparts, which helps show just how valuable these skills are to the current job market.
Simply put, bilingual skills set you apart from other candidates, as they provide invaluable market research, insight into ways to improve, and can genuinely make a difference in the workplace and for your customers and/or clients. With these tips, you have the tools you need to market yourself and take the next step in your career.