Getting the job à la espanol
Sara Smith and Adrian Fielder
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
One of the top reasons people take classes at Colorado Mountain College is that they want to boost their job skills. You might guess that business, computer and accounting courses are subjects that top the list of resume builders. But a simple look around our community will tell you that Spanish classes, too, can help develop a very competitive job skill: language ability.
Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the U.S. and is quite widely spoken here in our own backyard. “Bilingual preferred” and “Bilingual desired” are repeated throughout the local help wanted ads. A quick survey of current jobs posted in the Colorado Workforce Center’s local database shows that 11 percent require or prefer Spanish-language skills.
Even if a job description doesn’t specifically mention language skills, an individual with bilingual abilities may gain the edge over an otherwise equally qualified candidate. The need to speak and understand Spanish is helpful in many workplaces: at the bank, in the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, in the classroom and on the construction job site. Customer service and sales divisions must have a number of operators fluent in both Spanish and English. As you might imagine, your chance of getting a job is greatly bolstered by becoming fluent in several languages. In addition to simply landing the job over someone else, other benefits of higher-level Spanish-language skill may include sign-on bonuses and higher pay. And benefits to the employer are priceless. A bilingual employee can communicate with ease with two populations, possibly earning business simply because their clients can hear someone speaking in their language. Plus, research shows that bilingual people tend to excel in critical thinking and problem solving, since learning another language develops the ability to look at things from multiple perspectives. In a tight job market, this crucial skill can give you the edge you need.
It is important in a resume to state your language skill; even if you fall well below fluency, you should indicate your level of knowledge in Spanish. And even better might be to show you are continuing your study of Spanish in some manner.
If you’re looking to beef up your employability, one of the best things you might do for yourself is to begin the journey of learning Spanish.
Sara Smith is professor of Spanish and Adrian Fielder is instructional chair of humanities and social sciences at Colorado Mountain College’s Roaring Fork Campus. Classes in all levels of Spanish begin this week. Contact the Glenwood Center (945-7486) or the Lappala Center in Carbondale (963-2172) for more information on Spanish classes.
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