What can you do to advance your career? About 20 years ago, the answer to this question would have been as simple as, “Become better at what I do.” But with everyone connected online, you are now competing with people from around the world—people who may be more skilful, more experienced than you are. In a world where information is such an important commodity, being able to understand and being understood can give you a solid edge. By learning a new language quickly and effectively, you can achieve the advantage you need to push your career farther.
There was a time when learning a new language meant poring over countless reference books or listening to hours of recordings. For others, it even meant spending months in a foreign land. To say that today’s language learners have it way easier is no exaggeration. Thanks to technologies like mobile and the Internet, it has become possible to study new languages at any comfortable time or place, at lower costs, too.
Learning a foreign language can be one of the best ways to give your career a boost. Here are five very good reasons:
1. It makes you smarter. A study in 2004 found that bilingual children were better able to perform specific tasks compared to their monolingual peers. The researchers believed this is because the bilingual experience enhances the brain’s executive function, or the system that allows you to focus your attention on solving problems, ignore distractions, and switch from one information to another. In other words, people who know more than language are better equipped for multi-tasking. On a related note, another study in University of California, San Diego, found that people with higher degrees of bilingualism were resistant to the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. It enhances your employability. Many job positions today indicate a preference for applicants who are able to speak languages aside from English. This is especially among companies operating internationally. Even local firms understand that employees who can read and write in a foreign language are an asset. In fact, CNN Money considered bilingualism among the hottest skills in 2013.
3. It opens plenty of opportunities. If you are working for a company that has an international presence, being able to speak the language in one of your organization’s offshore offices can get you promoted more easily. Why would they hire new managers they’d have to spend time and money on to train when they have you, right? Being fluent in another language means new potential career paths as well. You can take up a career as an interpreter or translator, two of the most popular and profitable occupations today.
4. It lets you build a better network. Being able to speak foreign languages enables you to include more people in your network. This way, you will have people from other countries who can tap you for possible employment or career growth opportunities.
5. It can increase your wages. Bilingualism is considered an additional qualification and as such, can boost your résumé. It can also entitle you to a higher salary. When you are seen as an advantage to the company, they will be willing to pay more for you to become part of their organization.
Among the many language learning solutions available today, online platforms are among the best for people looking to further their career. Fast, effective, and convenient, they are most suited to the needs of the modern learner.
Most online language courses enable learners to develop their language skills at their desired pace. Some take a few years, but some intensive programs can enable you to develop a solid vocabulary and speak in complete sentences in as fast as a few weeks.
Online lessons are not as rigid as many brick-and-mortar discussions. Many use curriculums designed by experts and most use activities tailored after your needs. They adjust according to how fast you are learning and utilize aids that you can relate to. Some online programs enable students to have lessons with their desired teachers or tutors. The element of choice helps keep you enthusiasm and enables you to feel more comfortable about learning.
In the past, you may have had to devote hours to learning a foreign language. You’d probably have to attend night classes after work, which can leave you feeling tired. Today, online lessons can be accessed through any of your mobile devices. They come in short, 25 to 30-minute discussions, some of which you can record or download. This means you can listen to your lessons while on the train, having lunch, or taking a short break from work. Online lessons means learning without compromising your career.
Being able to speak a foreign language is one of the most valuable skills you can develop today. It gives you the advantage you need to get hired and promoted, and to succeed in your career. The key is finding a solution that effectively develops your language skills at a pace that is ideal to you. Considering the convenience they offer, online courses could be your best option.