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1. Education – While most business and popular publications are likely to be translated into English, journals and books covering specific areas of knowledge are unlikely to withstand the costs of professional translation. Being able to gain knowledge from a larger pool of experts will benefit you hugely – and reading in a new language is often considered the easiest step. In addition, with the current focus of blogging and social media, you will have the opportunity to learn from a wider circle of peers, seeking and discussing information across continents.

2. International Network – Networking across continents will not only benefit you with alternative approaches to your industry or function, but it will expand your target job market by thousands of positions. During an executive job search you will be able to cast a wider geographical net, being less focused on region and more specific on your ideal role.

3. Relocation – Knowing the language when completing an assignment abroad or when accepting a position in a foreign country is essential to making the move both professionally and personally successful. Without knowing the local language, your friendship circle will be confined to expats and those fluent in your own language, and even if your colleagues speak your language, not speaking their language will inhibit your ability to connect on a deeper level and miscommunication will be more frequent.

4. Reaching New Markets – Having foreign language skills is not just about how you will benefit, but also how your organization in your native country will benefit too. Asides from new knowledge applied to your role, access to emerging markets have become a core element to business strategy. Global wealth is shifting and if you can offer access to rising or developed markets (preferably before your competitors), then your value to your current or future organisation will be increased dramatically.  

5. Personal fulfilment and Branding – As you progress with new language skills, the sense of achievement and greater global sensibility will spill into your professional life and the way you look at every task. Once a business standard of your target language is reached, having a second, third or even fourth language will solidify your personal brand as an international executive – a brand that is increasingly essential in today’s job market.

So now you are convinced that another language is the way forward, what are the resources?
  • Rosetta Stone – a great start and base to understand a new language
  • Pimsleur Approach – featuring most popular languages, stick these lessons on your MP3 player and learn on the way to work.
  • Podcasts - Radio Lingua offer a great podcast.
  • Textbooks - essential to understanding how the language works - but make sure you get a practical approach otherwise it will soon be gathering dust on your shelf.
  • Personal Tutor or Language School – if you can afford it go for one to one teaching for fastest progress, however with a group class you may benefit from others on the same path as you.
  • Language exchange – there are now many websites available where you can pair yourself up with someone who speaks the language you want to learn and who want to learn your language. A free way to get one on one training, spending 30 mins teaching and 30 mins learning.
Stay determined and soon you will be reaping the benefits of your endeavours.

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This article was written by Christian Pielow from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.

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