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Got Language?

by Maria Onyango August 31, 2011

​“Bonjour ! Parlez-vous une langue? Pouvez-vous la parler vrai bon? Nous trouvons souvent les esprits don’ de cette langue ne vous rendez pas compte qu’ils la langue re s’occupe, mais la maîtrise d’une langue peut signifier des qualifications pour un travail. En semaine dernière, j’avais regardé les rôles qui demandent les haut-parleurs français, allemands, espagnols, portugais, danois, norvégiens et suédois. Et un collègue du mien avait recherché les haut-parleurs chinois et russes.”

Alright, I’ll admit it; I used an online translator to create that garbled, frankenstein of a paragraph.

Because I can’t speak French. Actually that’s a lie - I can say ‘Bonjour’ in an unconvincing, nervous sort of a way. But any more than that and we’re going to have to communicate in Klingon. That’s right, I am actually better at Klingon than French.

Which should give you an idea of how precious and valuable language skills (and by this I mean real languages that exist here on Earth) can be. Languages work for everyone: fresh graduates and experienced project managers; recruitment consultants and number crunchers. A language will never hold you back. Indeed, it can be the delectable icing on a recruitment-flavoured cake.

And there is so much more out there to discover than translation!

* Socially savvy Japanese speaker? We recently hired a part-time online communities manager with fluent Japanese for our exciting Social Media agency FreshNetworks.

* Dream of strategy consultancy? Use your language skills in an Interim role at a top tier consultancy. We recently placed an Arabic speaker in a top tier consultancy, doing market research into the helicopter industry! And next month we have a Mind going into a boutique consultancy to gain experience working with consultants while giving his German a nice stretch.

* Want to oust the competition for that permanent role you’ve been hankering after? We recently had a highly successful, fast-paced research firm looking for a Research Associate with any European language (never thought you’d be able to use your Slovak? Think again). Similarly, a global company recently came to us looking for a bright, numerate graduate with fluent French.

Considering how useful languages are for recruiters and employers, it makes sense that students have jumped wholesale onto the tongue-twisting bandwagon of linguistic learning. Entries to A Levels in Spanish have been steadily rising and in 2007 were up 34% from 1996. In fact, all languages have seen an increase in uptake at A Level since 1996, with a mind-boggling 77% increase. The only exception is with those old stalwarts, French and German, in which A Level uptake has dropped 46% and 45% respectively. This appears to reflect the wider range of languages that we now deal with at FreshMinds (Everything from Portuguese to Mandarin), but it is worth bearing in mind that French and German companies are still doing business, and hiring!

So as you can see, languages don’t just nudge open doors for candidates, they can blow them apart. Thus, we love linguists here at FreshMinds. We have a great pool of bright, sparky speakers who are able to use their language skills to their advantage, bagging the roles that others just couldn’t do. But, as our name suggests, we are always looking for Fresh Minds (I know, I know, the pun is the lowest form of humor) to meet, advise and find roles for.

As someone who can’t speak French, German, Japanese, Arabic or … well, anything but Klingon really, I would encourage all you bilingual, trilingual, lexicological people out there to make using your language a priority. These skills can really take you places. And, because we are not just a language agency, and make sure that our linguists are just as qualified and ‘Fresh’ as the entire pool, we don’t restrict linguists to a small percentage of jobs. For example, we have recently placed a Norwegian speaker in a large healthcare consultancy, as a research analyst on a huge market entry study. No languages involved!

The thing I have discovered is that in any business scenario, diversity in language is a positive. People who speak more than one language can provide a service to a wider range of people, can forge relationships in new areas and make contacts across geographical boundaries. If you are lucky enough to be bilingual, trilingual or in the case of one of our Minds, speak five languages: exploit them, they are a great asset. FreshMinds, for one, would love to have you.

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