What Industry Do You Want to Use Your Language Skills In?

This a frequent topic of the campus workshops I lead on getting started on your job search with a language degree.

Some students have a vague idea that a major or minor in a language will help them in their professional careers, but have trouble connecting to two.  Others are unsure they should pursue language studies because they are not convinced it will add value to their professional applications.  On my campus visits, I try to make explicit connections between language studies and the specific careers students aspire to (and I suspect some students are just throwing me some hard balls to see if I can come up with something).

Here’s a great example that comes from my visit to West Chester University: cosmetics.  

IMG_3798One woman wanted to work in the cosmetics industry, but was unsure how to connect her language studies with her career ambitions. I love this example because she can make the perfect pitch for this:

The first step is to research Latino demographics so you can say in an interview:

We know that Latinos already control $1.2 trillion in annual buying power in the U.S. It is women who drive household spending decisions (story here). Pew projects that Hispanics will represent 29% of the U.S. population by the year 2050 and that another 19% of the population will be foreign born (also see Census information).”  

Then, you make it about them, the employer:

Your company has to be on the forefront of reaching out to the Latina market.

Finally, show how you are the candidate who can do that for them:

And I have the experiences with languages, cultures, study abroad, work, and volunteer projects in the community to reach that market for you.” [you’d have to provide your specific examples from those experiences that illustrate how you are perfect for the role].

You can do this for any industry:

1- Do your homework–research the industry, the company, and the connections to the language & cultures you study.

2- Make your pitch about the employer–what is their unmet need?

3- Tell in the clear, concise, specific detail how you meet that need.  

Students, what professional careers are you interested in connecting to your language and cultures studies? Post them  here or on my Facebook page:

Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in training students to highlight their language studies so they stand out in the job search and workplace. For one-on-one support in preparing for your job search or to set up a workshop, contact Darcy: darcylear@gmail.com
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