English is a global or international language of the 21st century, with over a billion speakers and 1,5 billion learners. Though there are many reasons to learn English, one of them is improving your career prospects and standing.
Although it might seem obvious “Know English - Get a Job” it is all the benefits that knowing this language could bring you.
10 Ways English may Improve Your Career
1. Get a wider range of opportunities
When not searching for opportunities much it is easy to miss what comes along, foreign companies opening their branches in your town, or perhaps a local brand looking to work with international clients - either way these and many more situations exist in which “English” is a must to get into a certain position and use the language to your benefit.
2. Make your CV stand out
Your CV is the first thing an HR representative will see. An additional column that says “Languages” and has a few lines is already a big plus, but that isn’t the only benefit. See, that on its own can be achieved with any language or a number of them, but English can improve your CV even further. With English you get to add to your special skills tools and programs that have never been translated to other languages, or perhaps have been but aren’t as good, i.e. Visual Studio, Resume Worded, International Online Bankings, etc.
3. Stay on top of your field
Most careers require a consistent education stream, which means if you want to stay on top of things you want to keep up with magazines, newspapers, research papers and books. English has been long established as the language of science. No matter what field you are in, you will find that most important publications happen in English, and it takes a long time before they get translated, if they get translated at all.
4. World Wide Web
Continuing Point 3 we had to separate how important it is that English is also the language of the Internet. Being able to navigate through Google comes easy to any language, but only until you try surfing the web in English. That is until you realize how much more useful information has been hidden from you due to the lack of language skills: youtubers, bloggers, Tweets, tools and platforms. whatever it is you are looking for and is lacking in your native language chances are you will find it in English.
5. Travel opportunities.
“Not every career includes travel opportunities” you would think. But as years pass by it gets more and more clear to us - that isn’t true. A doctor is being sent abroad for humanitarian help, an IT is being sent to another country to assist a big client to install their new program and an accountant gets to go overseas to help an old client set up new bank accounts. Opportunities no one foresees come by more often than you can imagine, but as everything in business the job has to be done NOW, which means the opportunity will always be given to the one person who knows the international language - English.
6. Create a bigger Network
We don’t need to remind you that success in a career relies on a number of factors, one of which is your network - knowing the right people. English is the most spoken language around the globe, speaking English fluently allows you to expand your network. Knowing just enough to be a tourist is never gonna be enough to build a real connection with someone.
7. Computers. Again!
We know! We already mentioned the computers: adding some new features and lines to your CV is great. But to stress it even more (because there isn’t too much) we have one more reason related to computers. Not only many tools and programs aren’t translated to other languages from English, even those that do are originally all written and built in English. “Lost in Translation” concept is applied. Knowing English will help you understand the computers better, become a more confident user of the computer in general and the old programs that we all know so well, like Spreadsheets.
8. Get an advantage above others.
Although everyone talks about “English is so important for your work” the truth is - it depends… An IT without at least basic English is no IT, a doctor without at least basic English is limited, but a lawyer will probably not actually use a not national language. This is quite simple really. Laws are different between countries, unlike medicine. A doctor can patch you up no matter your language, but a lawyer can’t really help you when it isn’t their jurisdiction. So the reality is - not all professions require you to know English to be successful in the field. However, it gives you an advantage above other candidates for the job. If another candidate has the same education and experience as you and the only difference in your CVs is that one of you knows English, the one who has it will probably get the job. Chances that person might never use it during the job hours, but this little extra (which isn’t really that little per-say) might get you the job.
9. Business owners
When most small businesses are considered “local” doesn’t really mean that you must limit yourself, your income or potential. In the day of modern technology services are being provided remotely, products are being shipped around the globe… so why limit your audience to local? Yes, we are talking about taking your business to international society, where there are so many new potential clients, all are united by one language - English!
Sooner or later most of us start thinking of investments - whether it is Real Estate, stocks or a pension fund. Currencies may be quite unreliable no matter how stable the economy seems and many investors suggest the strategy of keeping your investments in multiple currencies. From our research (we are just linguists after all) we learned that not all countries allow local investors to keep their hard earned money in different currencies and others allow, but take charge, apply additional tax or even restrict you from your own money in case of a crisis. Knowing the international language opens additional possibilities: investing overseas. Any self respecting private investment fund/company will have an English speaking person on call and adjust their website to English, for the international crowd.
The examples of how English changed someone’s career.
Many have talked about “Why is it important to learn English”. But as linguists we know exactly the difference between knowing and reading about those abstract reasons vs. actually feeling it or seeing an example. So, we have prepared for you a few bright examples from our students (those that were willing to share) of how learning English has affected their careers.
Sally is from Latvia. She studied English at school like everyone else, but has established a goal for herself after college, to learn English “for real”, as she calls it. There wasn’t any particular reason behind it except looking for a new hobby. She found our school (which back then was really small) through friends and family and learned for about 2 years, until she came with amazing news.
“I just got a new job. This company from London came to open a branch here and they need people who speak English”
After working in that company for over 2 years she made a salary she never anticipated to have given she was working as a secretary, but believe it or not it was extremely hard to find workers who knew very good English, and therefore she was in the lead.
Ksenia is from Ukraine, a simple manager (or she used to be) in an IT company. To a language school she was directed by the company herself, but quickly quit. She felt that she spends a significant amount of her salary and time on group classes with over 30 students per teacher and it goes nowhere. By a friend she was referred to Language Academia (before it had a name) as a last attempt to get the value back for the money she spent on English classes. She had to pass TOEFL with a score over 100 to stop taking classes as a part of the job and get those evenings free.
“TOEFL was easy actually” as she now says, but that isn’t the pride we have on her account.
After the exam Ksenia remained at the school saying she wanted to improve, because she began to finally enjoy knowing a second language and was utilizing all of its perks. The IT company at the same time hada new big client in the States and needed their project manager to go to Boston and help them with the software they developed. After speaking on the phone with a representative from the US is was clear that they can’t send a person who barely speaks English and as a result might sabotage the trip, failing to do the main task: teach the client to use the new software.
With the highest TOEFL scores in the office Ksenia has been rushed into the bosses office and the next day she was already at the American embassy, getting her visa. The trip has been such a success she came back and was immediately promoted to the project manager, which has been her dream job since she finished college.
Katherine is from Israel. To be honest, she didn’t learn English with us, but helped us organize this school instead. She knew English from her parents since it is their mother tongue, but after asking around turns out that knowing English helped her pay off her college tuition too and here is what happened.
Not many companies are willing to work with college students, for various reasons: they are tired, late, unreliable, young, etc. Katherine was an extremely serious student but rather young, having finished high school at 15, by the time she was about to finish college she was barely 18. Anyone was a better candidate in the eyes of HR representatives than her. So, one of the brightest engineers and minds, was forced to work at a nightclub washing floors after parties at 5-6am every day, until a man heard her speak English on the phone and invited to an interview. She now admits:
“They only asked how do I know English and if I can write fast. They didn’t care much about my experience, education or my age. All they were looking for is a good English speaker who is responsible. I guess that combination is truly hard to find.”
Katherine got a job as a personal assistant and now admits that job saved her life. She no longer had to wash floors and toilets, but that wasn’t the only advantage in the long run as it turned out. She got into a good company that gave her opportunities to grow and eventually has been sent overseas as a director with all expenses covered. This great job paid all the college tuition and gave her a good head start in life and she would have never had this opportunity if it wasn’t for her English.