Leverage Your Languages to Get the Job

Using Your Second And Third Languages To Get Hired

Leverage Your Languages to Get the Job

By the Monster Career Coach
 
Canada is home to many newcomers who bring with them the ability to speak several languages in addition to English. Also we are a multicultural country where people of various ethnicities, some of whom have been here for generations, pass down the languages of their original homelands to their children.
The result is a wide range of languages in a society where English and French are recognized as the two official ones. So are there ways to use your mother tongue to boost your job search efforts?
The French Connection
If you happen to speak or write French as an additional language to English, you should brag about it on your resume, in your cover letter, on your transitional business card and in job interviews. Lots of employers see bilingualism (English plus French) as an advantage in Canada.
Being officially bilingual is mandatory for certain jobs, especially in government. However in quite a few postings on Monster.ca, the employer will include a statement such as “Bilingualism an asset but not mandatory.”
Beyond French
A question arises in terms of whether to mention other second languages on your resume besides French. If you boast about your mother tongue, be it Swahili, Urdu, Vietnamese, etc., does this leave you vulnerable to potential discrimination on the basis of your presumed ethnicity?
It’s a tricky question to answer. Let’s say, for example, that you happen to be from the Baltic region nearby to Russia. You might well speak such languages as Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Finnish, even Swedish or German. All of which could come in very handy if you are applying for a job at a company that needs someone who speaks at least one of these languages.
On the other hand, bragging about being a polyglot (which simply means a person who can speak multiple languages), to an employer who doesn’t value these extra skills you have, may leave that employer with the impression that if your other languages are so highly developed, maybe your English isn’t as sound as it ought to be.
One way to reduce these concerns? Have someone with a strong grasp of English review your resume and cover letter with an eye to smoothing out errors. In the end you still want to sound like you, of course.
Language As A Competitive Advantage

Imagine being able to turn your extra languages into a strength that certain employers would be thrilled to access. Here is an example of how this could be done.
If you, by chance, spoke French and Spanish, with maybe a bit of Italian sprinkled in (all of which are called the “romance” languages because they are based on Roman from centuries ago), you would have a real advantage in Canada. This is due to the Free Trade Act that applies to the United States and Mexico as well as our own country.
What a great idea it would be to deliberately target employers who are involved with importing and exporting – or who have their head offices in – the other Free Trade Act countries. Our government has produced a free Industry Canada website, strategis.gc.ca, where you can actually search for employers who match these criteria.
Speak Up Proudly
Being able to speak and write multiple languages is something to be proud of. Used sensibly, this ability can translate into something that helps you stand out from the crowd. Pursue employers who can make the most use of your multilingualism, and it will be the single-language-only speakers who are at a disadvantage!