Workers in the United States are growing their careers in an increasingly diverse country. No matter your career type, you will likely have clients, customers, and colleagues that speak something other than English as their first language. A New American Economy study from last year found that while in 2012 there were about 240,000 job postings seeking bilingual candidates, this number jumped to 630,000 in 2015.
And it only continues to rise.
“In today’s global economy, businesses require employees who can serve customers in a variety of languages,” John Feinblatt, chairman of New American Economy, said in a statement to NBC News. “This research highlights the growing need to attract and promote a multilingual workforce among both foreign- and U.S.-born talent.”
As a multilingual employee, you can communicate with more clients, broaden your business travel opportunities, and reap all the cognitive benefits of speaking more than one language. And you can also earn more, as bilingual employees have been found to earn 20% more per hour than monolingual employees.
So, if you don’t already speak another language, now is the time to learn.
Practical Ways To Learn A Second Language
While it will certainly be more difficult for your developed brain to learn a new language than when you were a kid, there are ways to get started on your bilingual journey. Here are some ways you can get started.
1. Sign up for a class. It may have been a while since you sat in a classroom, but this setting is a great place to start learning a language. Look into community or university classes in your area to get professional instruction.
2. Find a speaking partner. Conversation practice is essential to perfect your listening and speaking skills. A conversation program can help you practice their language while you help them practice their English.
3. Travel. If you are between careers or can get some time off to travel, take the time to do so. Immersing yourself in a culture and language is the best way to learn to speak it.
4. Keep the language present. Once you start your language learning journey, find ways to incorporate the language into your life. Listen to podcasts and music in the target language. Read books and watch movies. Talk to your pets. The possibilities are endless.
While it might be a long journey, you can reach proficiency if you stick with it. By doing so, you can further your professional career and become a more well-rounded person overall.