Learn a language online and boost your career

Learn a language online and boost your career

by Erin McGann

Updated November 9, 2022

From setting yourself up for an international move, to staying competitive in a global job market, learning another language just makes sense if you want to boost your career. Not many of us have the time to pause everything to immerse ourselves in our language learning, so make the most of your time and learn a new language online.

How can learning a language online boost your career?

1. Moving abroad

I have had the same conversation so many times – someone tells me they want to move abroad and starts asking me about visas and work and housing prices. I hold up my hand and say: ‘do you speak any other languages?’ That’s the first step to making it work living in another country. Even knowing a bit of another language is a huge first step and shows employers you’re serious about your new life. You will have better job prospects with decent language skills for sure.  

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2. Get in the door

If your goal is to work for a large international organisation, knowing more than one language is critical. It’s not just big companies, but employers like government diplomatic offices, non-governmental organisations, international aid organisations and large charities all look for people who are multilingual, even if you aren’t looking to move abroad. Organisations like this need multilingual people in all their offices to be able to communicate with each other. 

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3. Get a promotion

If your employer does business in internationally, you will better your chance at moving up the ladder with another language under your belt. Find out where your company is expanding, and learn that language. You don’t need to be fluent for this to make a difference, being able to get the gist of a conversation and a commitment to learning more can make all the difference between you and your single-language colleagues. 

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4. Find a new niche

English may be the common language of the Internet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thriving German YouTube channels or popular French Instagram content creators. In fact, you might find less competition in these non-English niches if you’re looking to be the next big thing in beauty YouTubers, for instance. On the more corporate side, being able to create marketing content in other languages is an invaluable skill, or if you’re not quite fluent, even being able to navigate social media in other languages is important. 

5. Work on your side hustle

Maybe while you improve your language skills you can practice on your side hustle. Being a local tour guide for people visiting your home city while you’re learning another language is a great way to practice with native speakers before you move. Language skills are always in demand in tourism jobs, and if you need flexible work, you can always design your own walking tours and offer them online. Creating a little city guide in your target language will get you out of your language learning comfort zone and teach you some new vocabulary too. 

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Honestly, it makes you look good

Taking the time to learn another language shows initiative, intelligence, and a willingness to learn that rings all the right bells for future employers. Everyone knows that it takes time and commitment to learn a language, and a desire to invest in oneself, which are all great qualities in a future employee. Keep in mind most people that grow up in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa will all speak several languages, so to stay competitive you’ll need to learn too. 

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