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Five ways learning a language can help your career

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Have you ever wanted to work abroad?

Making your CV stand out can seem like a daunting task. With more and more students coming into the job market every year, a stand-out resumé is a key weapon in your arsenal, and being able to add that extra skill or interest could really give you the edge. In a world that is getting smaller by the day, language skills are no longer just useful for your holidays - they can also help increase your employability.

So whether you’re aiming for a job in the city, or fancy something a bit more off-piste, the experts at language learning app Babbel explain exactly how learning a new language can help you land your dream job. 

1) It can help you stand out from the crowd 

When the job market is flooded with graduates who all have similar track records of achievement, you have to stand out in other ways. Having language skills on your CV can be a huge benefit in the professional world - speaking, reading, or being able to write in another language is an ability that not everyone has. Mentioning your existing language skills, or even that you are learning a new language, can be a great way to make yourself stand out in an interview. 

2) It opens up a whole new market

Getting a new job doesn't mean that you have to stay here in the UK - in fact, the whole world is your oyster when it comes to your career! Having language skills on your CV means that you can apply to jobs across the world more easily, and even end up in your dream location. So, whether it is France, Germany or even more far-flung locations, don’t limit yourself to job-searching in the UK. Go on an adventure and aim for your perfect destination - you’ve got the skills to do it, so take the plunge! 

3) It might earn you a better salary 

In 2014, the Freakonomics podcast asked whether learning a foreign language is really worth it in terms of your earning potential, specifically trying to calculate the return on investment (ROI) from learning a second language. According to the Freakonomics team, learning another language will only increase your salary by 2%. This may not seem like much, but the Freakonomics’ conclusion falls apart under more rigorous analysis. An article in The Economist discussed the Freakonomics’ assertion and found that for the average American in 2014, when the 2% real return on investment was added to just a 1% real salary increase per year, the ‘language bonus’ would look more like $67,000 over 40 years. Not a bad return on your investment, even in 2018! 

4) You’ll understand cultural nuances 

Learning a language will prepare you for cultures in which the professional environment may be slightly different. Where being very direct and to the point may be considered rude in the UK, for example, in the Netherlands it is seen as a virtue. Nuggets of information like this will help you to earn people’s trust, since it becomes obvious that you are making an effort to communicate in their language and fit in with the local way of doing things.  

5) It can help you get the work-life balance you want 

Learning a language can also benefit you when you step away from your desk. Keeping a diary in another language, for example, can allow you to look at life in a more objective way. In 2012, research from the University of Chicago found that people are more honest in their second language, and make more rational decisions. This may prove beneficial for you both in your personal life and in the workplace.

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