While English is the most widely used international language for business, academia and tourism, being a monolingual, native-speaker of English will actually put you at a serious disadvantage during your job search. English just won’t cut the mustard anymore!
The world and its businesses and industries are more tightly-connected than ever before, and successful businesspeople must be able to cross different cultures as well as different languages. Not only does knowing a second language provide many cognitive benefits, such as better brain function and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, but it will give you a competitive edge over other applicants going for the same job. Learn one of these 5 recommended languages:
1. Mandarin — With the world’s second-largest economy and nearly one billion native speakers, knowing Mandarin will grant you tons of amazing opportunities in China and other Asian countries. It’s also one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, which should raise a few eyebrows in a job interview or at a party.
2. Arabic — There are over 300 million Arabic speakers in the world, and this is definitely an “essential” language if you’re in the petroleum or defense industries. With a combined GDP of $600 billion in the Arab world, mastering this in-demand language will make your resume in-demand as well.
3. French – It’s not surprising that French is the language of love, but it’s often overlooked as a useful business language. But why would it be? French was the world’s most dominant language before English stole the spotlight. It’s spoken in over 40 countries in the world, including two G8 countries, and it’s one of the most common languages found on the Internet, only second to English. If you’re hoping to break into the European markets, say “oui” to French!
4. Spanish – Spanish has just as many native speakers as Arabic, but it’s also the official language in over 20 countries, which makes it suitable for international and domestic business in the US. It’s one of the more popular languages studied in American universities and one of the easiest, too. If you want más money and business opportunities, consider Spanish as your next language learning endeavor.
5. German – Unlike Mandarin, French, Arabic or Spanish, German is not an official U.N. language. However, it is an official language in three economic powerhouses in Europe. And while some may say it sounds harsh and gritty, it’s part of the same language family as English, so it has many striking similarities. Plus, Germany has a long history of art, literature…. and beer! Who says going corporate has to be a bad thing?