The global jobs market is just that – global. These days, workers can land roles in other countries with relative ease, provided they have the right tech and good enough language skills.
This remains the case, despite the coronavirus pandemic. That’s because remote-first employers don’t tend to require their staff to travel to work. They employ people who work from home and who excel at organising their own time productively, so the COVID-19 outbreak has changed very little in terms of that aspect of their operational procedures.
The translation and localization industry
Consider the translation and localization industry. Translation agencies employ linguists based around the globe, all working remotely. Those translation companies haven’t stopped hiring as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak. In fact, many are busier than ever, particularly those that offer medical translation expertise.
Employers in the translation and localization aren’t the only ones who are currently recruiting. Companies around the world are hunting for those with the right skills at this very moment. And, given the global nature of this jobs market, using your second language might just be the way to get a foot in the door.
Using your second language
Does knowing a second language help you get a job? It certainly does. Being able to speak a second language fluently means that you have vastly more job opportunities available to you. This is particularly true if one or both of the languages that you speak is one of the world’s most spoken languages.
Say your first language is English and your second is Spanish. If you speak both fluently, you can apply for any job that matches your skillset in either the English-speaking or the Spanish-speaking world.
Using translation to polish your second language
If you speak a second language well but not fluently, there are still plenty of ways to secure a position that uses that language. You just might need a little help along the way.
Say you speak Spanish as a second language competently but not quite fluently. In that case, it might be best to call in a translation company for a little support in terms of your CV and/or online profile. You might not need a full English to Spanish translation service but having a professional linguist on hand to give your resume a final polish will certainly help to ensure that you make the right first impression.
The same is true with job applications and speculative emails to companies that you would like to work for. They need to be word-perfect, so use a professional translator to double check their accuracy, just to be on the safe side.
Once your superbly written resume and introductory email have secured that all-important interview, it’s time to ensure that you shine, despite not using your native tongue.
The coronavirus outbreak has meant that many interviews are now conducted over the telephone or by video call (as has been the case with remote-first employers for some time). In both cases, you need to ensure that you speak your second language clearly and calmly – this is not the time to get flustered and dry up while searching your memory banks for an obscure word!
In the days before the interview, slowly and clearly talk out loud (either to yourself or anyone who cares to listen!), running through everything from your past career experience to your future ambitions and why you think you would be a good fit for the company conducting the interview. Focus on speaking at a calm pace and annunciating clearly.
Finding a job in your second language can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from doing so!
Louise Taylor is a freelance writer who has been working from home for much of the past decade. Her experience spans everything from overseas property PR to the translation and localization industry.