It is not only happening in Malaysia. Employers in countries such as Singapore, Australia, UK and US are increasingly looking for job seekers with additional language skill other than their native English language.

A quick search in Jobstore.com using the language keyword shows you many jobs require or prefer specific language skill. One particular language stands out from others is the Mandarin language. Others which are also popular in Malaysia include Japanese, Korean, Bahasa Melayu (BM), Tamil, Thai, Indonesia, and Vietnamese.

 

What are the benefits of multiple language skills?

In the increasingly globalised world where your colleagues, clients, customers and stakeholders do not always speak only one language, having additional language skills give you a competitive advantage.

 

    1. Able to go for a full range of professions 
      The specific language skill can be a requirement in jobs such as tour operator, subtitle editor, translator, trainer, teacher, customer service, and support executive. From other people-facing roles such as sales, hospitality and care to public relations, human resources and marketing, job seekers who can speak multiple languages can be very useful.

    2. Earnings Boost
      Speaking another language can translate into more significant earnings boost even on a conservative estimate. Some researchers estimate 5% to 20% boost in earnings when employees can speak multiple languages well. It is not hard to imagine this. Fluency in more languages makes you able to serve more regional markets. A regional manager serving Malaysia, Thailand, China and Taiwan market can demand higher pay than a country manager in Malaysia.

    3. Increase change of employment in Foreign Corporation
      When you speak a foreign language, you increase your chances of being hired by a foreign corporation. If your native language is English and second language is French, imagine working for a French company looking to hire a native English speaker. There are even some international organisations like the United Nations which look specifically for people who can speak several languages.

    4. Travel
      If you like to travel, being bilingual can increase your chances of being able to visit other countries for business. It is dependent on the company you work for and the nature of your work, but an opportunity to take a business trip to China if your second language is Chinese can be one of the perks.

    5. Immediate Bonding
      When you can speak a specific language with the native language speaker, let’s say speaking Japanese with your client from Japan, you can instantly form a bond with your client. It can also leave a good impression since you demonstrate acquiring the skills through your hard work and initiative.

 

 

How do you improve your career with language skills? 

Use the following tips to use your language skills when looking or applying for jobs.

    1. Put it in your resume
      If you have other language proficiency, do not forget to include it on your resume (more tips on writing resume here). Having an advantage in language proficiency makes you different from many other candidates and substantially increase your chance of getting callbacks. Additionally, please also fill out the language skills when you are applying online. Usually, job sites allow employers to search by language skills.

      When you put your language skills on the online form, you increase the change of being found by the potential employers.When you are filling out your profile and applying for jobs at Jobstore.com,  you also need to fill up the language skills. Notice we do not ask for your language proficiency level. We found that the proficiency scale is usually very subjective.
      Entering language skills during application

    2. Take language classes
      Start taking classes after work or on weekends to learn a new language, such as Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, etc. If you are not good in English, you can also take classes to brush up your English language skill. Paying for your classes increase your commitment to learning a new language. Furthermore, taking the time to learn a new language demonstrate a strong work ethic and learning mindsets that is attractive to any employer.

      From my research, a Mandarin class cost about RM1,300 for six months or 32 sessions with 2 hours per session. These are small fees to pay to improve your career. Most classes run from 8 to 10 pm on the weekday and  Saturday, so you do not have any excuse not to attend these classes.

    3. Use language app
      Maybe you do not have time for classes, or you do not know which language you want to learn. In the beginning, perhaps you can start learning anywhere and on-the-go with language app installed on your mobile. There are some handy apps such as Duolingo and Busuu. You can use it for free until you decide to go for premium plans for advanced lessons. As not all jobs require high proficiency in other languages, learning the language at the basic level will also help you to ace that job.

    4. Don’t be put off with jobs that seem to prefer specific languages
      Employers aren’t necessarily looking for someone who is very fluent or speaking the language at the native level. If you at the basic level of the language skill, you still can be viewed more favourably. Employers can look to nurture your skills to communicate in a specific field or function given that you already have the foundation.

 

Start learning a new language today.  Don’t give up even if it is challenging for you.

 

Jobstore reaches out to job seekers with diverse language skills.

 

Realising the importance of language skills, Jobstore.com reaches out to many job seekers with diverse languages skills. Many of our career advices are adapted into multiple languages, such as Bahasa Melayu (BM), Mandarin and Tamil although English is still our primary language.

Here are some sample contents from our social media and blog postings. We hope these contents can either test your ability on your additional language skill or invoke your desires to pick up a new language. I particularly like the one about bullying at the workplace which is in Mandarin.

Please like our pages on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Instagram, and  Twitter to see more on these contents.

 

jobstore ads in Mandarincontent in MandarinContent in Malay


This article is contributed by Susan Lim, Head of Product for Jobstore.com.

 

 

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