Us Brits are not renowned for our multilingual skills, having the privilege of English being the dominant language of international business and global communication.The Guardian has revealed that only 38% of Brits speak a foreign language, compared to 56% of Europeans. In the increasingly competitive jobs market, the ability to speak a foreign language may give your CV that edge it needs. Businesses look kindly upon applicants who are able to converse with their foreign clients in the clients' native language, a mark of respect foreign clientele are likely to look upon fondly. Deborah Till, from the University of Nottingham careers service, suggests 'Increasingly, multinational companies value language skills as an added extra when considering applications'.
This does not mean you should transfer to doing an undergraduate degree in a foreign language. If you are currently at university, there are plenty of resources available for you to fit in learning a language around your area of study. Many universities have societies dedicated to specific foreign languages that can help you get started.
Some courses also have open units, which allow you to do a unit in another subject, such as a foreign language.
The University of Southampton offers courses such as 'French for marine scientists' and 'German language for engineers'. Long university holidays also provide the perfect opportunity to travel and improve your language skills through conversing with native speakers.
If you have recently graduated, there are also lots of fantastic free online resources, enabling you to be flexible with your time as you learn your new language.
And don't worry, you don't need to be fluent to impress employers!
According to the Confederation of British Industry, 74% of employers recruit applicants with conversational ability, in order to 'help break the ice, deepen cultural understanding, and open business access to new markets.'With the growth of economies in countries such as China, departing from the standard school taught languages and learning to speak a language such as Mandarin may also be worth considering.If you are considering a career in journalism, learning Arabic will certainly be impressive due to the media focus on the changes occurring in the Middle East.