¿Hablas español? Being bilingual can give job seekers an edge.

Language is powerful.  And strong communications skills are critical to building and maintaining a successful business.  If you are a bilingual or multilingual job seeker – particularly if you’re fluent in Spanish – speaking a second language can help your resume stand out.

The latest U.S. Census revealed that over 60.5 Million people speak a language other than English at home.  Of this group, 62% speak Spanish – making it the second most widely spoken language in America.  That’s more people than the entire population of Italy, Spain or South Africa!

To leverage your multilingual status, what should you look for in a potential employer?  While there are many variables to consider, we recommend seeking out companies that:

1. Must communicate internally with Spanish-speaking employees, vendors and business partners (by virtue of their industry, location and/or business model).

This may include multi-national companies or U.S.-based organizations with a strong presence in states with the highest percentage of Spanish speakers such as Texas, California and New Mexico.

2. Are seeking to improve customer relations and the company’s overall perception among non-English speaking buyers, especially in the Hispanic community.

Target a mix of fast-paced tech start-ups as well as larger more established companies in growth markets like healthcare, IT, automotive and banking/finance.

3. Plan to expand marketing/selling its products and services to local and international markets that speak Spanish.

Show the employer that you possess the ability to engage clients in their native language across any platform including phone, email and online communications such as social media and the company’s customer-facing Website.

By understanding both the target employers’ internal AND external communications needs, you can better identify specific jobs for which you qualify.  Many employers will specify their language requirements, but even when it’s not, be sure to highlight your fluency.  Don’t forget you can use the Resunate tool to help match your resume to the job description.

According to ProFluent+, an online company that specializes in issuing language certifications, 50% of companies take language into account when recruiting and an average of over 200 candidates apply for every job.  For a fee, the company offers a language verification test, which is certified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  We’ll continue to post helpful resources here, so please check back often.

Speaking a second language can help increase your attractiveness to employers across the U.S. in almost every industry.   Hopefully the tips above will help you identify target employers where your language proficiency offers a competitive edge.

¡Vámonos!  Happy job hunting!  (Did we say that, right?)

Do you have any success stories to share? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

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