GUEST BLOG: Boost employability through foreign language skills

17143_web portal 226 x 226px.inddMany of you will be graduating university with a first or an upper second class honours, in fact 64% of you will be according to Times Higher Education, so when an employer looks at your CV what will be your unique selling point? For a number of students it will be travelling or their work experience, but why not join a smaller group of students that have a foreign language skill under their belt? According to a recent article in The Guardian only 38% of people in the UK can speak a different language, which makes it a valuable skill to an employer.

Employer

It’s a misconception that English is the most commonly spoken language. While international conferences may be spoken in English, it is considered more respectful if you speak to international clients, colleagues and business partners in their native language. This is especially helpful when it comes to facilitating business relationships. Networking is an important part of forming business relationships, so employers are favouring multi-lingual skills, as it allows their company to communicate and interact on a wider scale. Due to this factor, employers base your foreign language skills on conversational ability.

Students

Knowing another language makes you a more indispensable employee as you bring something different to the table. Many employees that have this skill are on higher salaries as you might actually be cutting the costs of an interpreter for your employer when you go on business trips abroad.

Having a language skill also gives you options on where to live and work after you’ve graduated or for your one year’s placement, giving your job search a much wider scope. Many larger companies offer graduates and students the opportunity to work abroad which is a beneficial feature to have on your CV as it shows knowledge of international markets and cultural discrepancies.

As the job market becomes more and more competitive, people are opting to learn another language to separate themselves from other candidates. Secondary schools are making it compulsory for students to learn a foreign language. Learning another language now, will allow you to compete with school leavers and the next generation who already have this skill.

Where can you learn?

It’s never too late to learn, the University of York’s Languages for All offers flexible study courses with classes held at lunch time, daytimes and evenings. You can choose between four week, eight week and nineteen week courses. Visit www.york.ac.uk/lfa for more information.

Guest post by Laura Woodhouse, a Public Relations and Marketing graduate from Leeds who works on behalf of Puma Hotels