8 Languages That Better Your Career Options

Even with unemployment rates improving, the job market is still tough. You need to do everything you can to stand out from the other prospects and being an excellent communicator in a second language will only increase your chances.

Being bilingual is a powerful way to raise your status and earning potential. If you’re already employed, it can protect you from a layoff or expand your current job duties. It also makes it easier to jump around different careers or move to another country.

Below are eight languages you should consider learning to jump start your career and strengthen your brain.

1. Mandarin
China has grown to become one of the world’s largest trading nations, and because of this, demand for businesspeople who can speak Chinese has increased. Although there are a number of languages spoken throughout China, Mandarin is considered the most widely spoken language within China, and the official language of the United Nations.

2. Russian
There’s over 250 million Russian speakers around the world and its international business continues to develop. It’s a great second language to learn if you seek a career in international business and you might even enjoy an annual salary increase of 4 percent a year.

3. Spanish
The second-most commonly spoken language in the US (after English) is gaining momentum, with more and more employers requiring employees to be bilingual to communicate with Spanish-speaking customers. Although more people are listing “fluent in Spanish” on their resumes, it could still garner you a salary increase of about 1.7 percent annually.

4. Portuguese
Demand for Portuguese speakers, the official language of Brazil, is growing due to their developing nation in South America. It’s not as common as Spanish, which makes you a unique and valuable individual for any company, especially if they already have Spanish-speaking employees.

5. French
If you’re looking for work in Canada and you don’t speak French, you’re at a severe disadvantage. Many parts of Canada use French as the primary language of communication, and it’s a requirement in many Canadian government jobs. Additionally, key positions within the eurozone (IMF, UN, NATO, UNESCO) are French-speaking. If you use this language in the US it could net you a wage increase of 2.7 percent.

6. Arabic
It may seem a surprising choice, but enrollment in Arabic language classes have increased over 100 percent the past few years, as the Middle East has strengthened its economy. The native language of about 20 countries, it’s also one of the six official languages of the UN. This skill is in short supply in North America and could prove just the ticket to make your resume stand out.

7. American Sign Language
About 28 million people have some degree of hearing loss in the US. American Sign Language (ASL) is an impressive resume skill to list. You would be able to interpret for deaf clients or just prove to be an asset to minority groups in the workforce.

8. German
The German economy continues to remain among the most stable within the European Union. It definitely gives you a leg up if you plan to conduct international business within the eurozone. German is the most widely spoken language in Europe and being fluent in it could earn you a whopping 4 percent salary raise.

Any of these languages will be helpful to you in your career, but choose something that will benefit you long-term, like when you retire or move to another country. It will pay off, big-time.