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Career Advice

Promoting your language skills as a unique selling point when applying for jobs – A guest post by Susanna Cha

This is a guest post by Susanna Cha currently writing about English tests, tier 4 student visas and English exams for Pearson PTE.

If you are bilingual or speak more than two languages then you can consider yourself to be in an advantageous position as this may significantly increase the change of getting an interview which ultimately may lead you to your dream job.

I myself speak the Dutch, German and English language fluently and have been fortunate to have received many job opportunities because I promoted these language skills, i.e. my unique selling point, both on and offline. I’d like to share these tips with you because they have helped me so much.

Offline activities

There are many job seekers who perhaps speak a little bit of Spanish and a bit of Italian, but claim they are fluent in the language on their CV. Unless you have got some form of evidence that you do speak these languages, you may get tested at your interview. This happened to me when I was being interviewed and said that I spoke fluently German. At the end of the interview, the lady walked me out and asked me in German “So, we can also speak German then?”. I was caught off guard but was able to reply, because I do speak the language. If you lie about your abilities then this may make the recruiter or future employer decide not to hire you.

As a result, I believe it would be recommendable to complete a language course so that you can include this on your CV. This shows that you not only speak the language fluently, but have actively involved yourself more and have put an effort into enhancing your language skills.

Online activities

Most jobs nowadays are listed on the company’s website as well as on recruitment sites. On top of that, recruiters are also online and are actually typing in your name in search engines to see what other information they can find about you. You’d be surprised about the sites that you may have commented on a while ago and are now showing up in Google. If you have been careless about the kind of stuff that you might have said or posted online, then this may decrease the chance of you finding your dream job. Therefore, the first thing that I’d strongly recommend is to Google yourself because your online brand is very important. When doing this, use google.co.uk for the UK, google.nl for the Netherlands, etc. I mention this because the results might be different.

Once you have analysed the search results and know exactly what is out there, you can start creating your online brand which should consist of personality vs. professionalism. You can promote your online brand, and your language abilities, on the social media sites that are most likely to appear whenever a recruiter types in your name.

Twitter

This is a very basic thing but quite often forgotten about. On twitter you can personalise your own profile by adding extra comments about yourself, appearing below your twitter name. Usually, these lines describe yourself or your interests. I would suggest you to include the languages you speak and to tweet in these languages. This will make it more credible for the recruiter who is “spying” on you, and, you are appealing to more target audiences, i.e. followers, resulting in a higher number of followers. An example: “Paul Barton, Specialist in Career Opportunities, Tweets in Italian, Spanish and English”.

Facebook

Facebook is a type of social media that tends to be more informal and allows you to share your thoughts, opinions, music, images, etc. If your Facebook profile is visible to the public, then be aware of your status updates. Also, if you speak more than 1 language, the chances are high that your Facebook friends will be international as well, so don’t you personalise your status updates in the languages you speak?

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is probably the most important type of social media where it is of huge importance to promote yourself and the languages you speak. Again, include the languages you speak but be honest about your level! LinkedIn allows you to choose between several proficiencies, i.e. native/bilingual, limited/elementary so choose the right option. I would recommend not listing any languages you do not control fluently, because it may make recruiters wary of the other languages. Don’t forget to include your language course certificate if you have any!

I hope that this post has helped you and has given you more thoughts on how to promote yourself effectively around your unique selling point when it comes to speaking more than one language….

Thank you Susanna and we look forward to reading any future posts…

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