Harnessing Your Bilingüismo to Accelerate Your Career

If your bilingual spoken word is clear, professional, and fluent, you have skills that are highly desirable to many employers

By Cherise Tolbert
Published on LatinoLA: January 8, 2017

Harnessing Your Bilingüismo to Accelerate Your Career

Everyone in LA speaks some Spanish and English, but being bilingual, truly having mastered both languages as a native, is easier said than done (pun intended). Even if you cannot write one or the other proficiently, but grammatically and phonetically your spoken word is clear, professional, and fluent, you have skills that are highly desirable to many employers.

In fact,: "A University of Phoenix Research Institute study found that demand for American workers who speak foreign languages--particularly Spanish and Chinese--will rise over the next decade, but few workers actually plan to study them." (Wall Street Journal)

In other words, there will be a shortage in workers who are Bilingües. If you are one of the 41 million native Spanish speakers in the U.S.A., or even maybe are one of the 11.6 million Bilingües (CNN), harnessing your Bilingüismo to accelerate your career is a must.

Your skill set could be beneficial in two ways; it could help you aim for a promotion, or make you more desirable as a job candidate.

Aiming for a promotion

When you were first hired you may have noted that you were bilingual on your resume, but chances are that your employer has forgotten, or is not actively thinking about how your skills might be beneficial to the company. That is why you need to make an effort to help your employer understand why your skills are valuable. Bilingualism not only enables you to connect with customers, partners, or clients who also speak the same language, it allows you to culturally understand them on a personal level.

Understanding language on a native level is directly tied with cultural norms, therefore, you have an "insider's" perspective into an entire segment of the population. Think creatively about how you can bring this to the table, and set aside a time to speak with your supervisor directly, offering ways that the company could benefit. You will likely be seen as stepping up or going above and beyond, and hopefully will be noticed, remembered, and, eventually hopefully promoted!

Applying for jobs

While applying for a new job, highlighting your bilingualism can be a leg up in many opportunities. Whether you have specifically searched for bilingual jobs, or are looking on a broader level, make sure your resume indicates, if not highlights that you are bilingual. If the job you are seeking specifically indicates that bilingualism is a plus or required, make sure that you show how you have used bilingualism in professional situations in the past throughout your resume or perhaps in your cover letter.

If you are able to get to the interview phase of a job search, it is also beneficial to make a list, just as you would trying to get noticed for a promotion; find creative ways that you can help the company with your skill set. Some companies who hire for bilingualism even test for fluency, asking you to have a quick conversation with another native speaker from within the company.

This is an easy way for you to show you competency.

About Cherise Tolbert:
Cherise Tolbert enjoys being an influencer among diverse job seekers across the country for LatPro, an award winning employment website working to connect Hispanics and Latinos with bilingual jobs with employers throughout the Americas.
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