Your ability to understand a foreign language, at any level of comprehension, and your experiences with foreign travel are valuable assets in today’s job market for several reasons.
An Asset to Global and Domestic Companies
First, both inside and outside the US, individuals appreciate someone who can understand their language. The US itself is a melting pot; and US-based employees, customers, and vendors may speak English as a second language.
Second, when competition for jobs is high, the ability to understand another language and the willingness to travel (or work) abroad may help to distinguish your candidacy for the job from all the other candidates.
Third, both foreign travel and understanding a second language are signs that you have coping skills, a love of learning, and flexibility, all highly valued characteristics in an employee. They show both the willingness and the ability to communicate with people, as well as an interest in and acceptance of other cultures.
Fourth, the internet has enabled many more companies to become international, regardless of their size.
Level of Language Skills
On your resume, you should clearly indicate the level of your foreign language skill: conversational and fluent are the two most common categories. However, you may be able to read but not speak a language or you may have only basic conversational skills; you should still mention the skill you do have. If a country has more than one language (for example, both Mandarin and Cantonese are prevalent in China and North America), specify the language(s) you are familiar with (rather than saying, “Chinese”).
If you have volunteered or worked abroad or if working abroad is one of your goals, foreign travel has even more relevance on your resume. Even if you are not fluent in other languages, you may find that your travel experiences have value during your job search and interview. Select stories from foreign travel illustrate your ability to adapt to new experiences, overcome barriers like differences in language, negotiate, and plan.
Robin’s Resumes® can help you find the best way to present your foreign language and travel experience in your resume. Contact us today.