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Languages - confess now?

 
#1 Languages - confess now?
20/09/2006 16:57

monoglot

As someone who has lived and studied in the UK, I am ashamed to say that I can speak only one language fluently - English, and even then....!

I took German for GCSE and found I had a real facility with it, but at A level I took other subjects. No one took languages, really...

Anyway, I'm 25 now, looking for jobs and many want fluency in other languages. Learning is not something I have ever been afraid to do, I quite like it. But what should i do? Confess that currently I can speak no language but English (I am taking German lessons again however, and loving it) in my cover letter? Or not mention it at all, or what?

What do you say? Please, any advice?

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#2 RE: Languages - confess now?
20/09/2006 17:23

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to monoglot (#1)

I would say most firms are looking for people with really fluent language ability, or they are not worried about languages at all. Where languages are being requested, this isn't so the consultant can be polite in front of clients and say the odd thing to them in their native language; it is so that the consultant can submerge themself into the client organisation and engage workers in their own language.

With this in mind, if you aren't fluent in a language then no amount of language lessons is going to get you to the level that will impress a consultancy. So I would instead focus your attention on those offices where language ability isn't considered critical.

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com)

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#3 RE: Languages - confess now?
21/09/2006 12:21

Pok to monoglot (#1)

Well, at least your English is good))). I have spent about 3 years in the UK and still feel uncomfortable with my English.

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#4 RE: Languages - confess now?
21/09/2006 12:31

david.. to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#2)

Tony,

In your experience, can language skills be a key differentiator in evaluating approaches from experienced hires? I am fluent (written + spoken) in German. Is this a major selling point or would it just be viewed as a nice to have?

D

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#5 Languages - get with it!
21/09/2006 12:43

linguist to david.. (#4)

people - for those that speak English, the days in which other languages were very worthy are long gone!

Like the person above - asking about his german. I dont know if youre work takes you internationally, but there are virtually no businessmen who dont speak English in Germany! Therefore the language is redundant.

The only exceptions are the following:

Spanish ( for latin american)

French / Dutch ( For Africa)

Cantonese / Mandarin

Japanese

Arabic

The days where speaking Italian, German and Portugese are extinct.

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#6 RE: Languages - get with it!
21/09/2006 13:18

david to linguist (#5)

hi linguist...

yes, my work takes me over there frequently, I also lived and worked in Frankfurt for two years.

I realise that everybody speaks English over there (even beggars will address you politely in English when they realise where you come from!!).

However, in the circles I work in, the ability to converse and negotiate in German is still a benefit - it is seen as a great courtesy to be able to speak their native language with them. Great for breaking down barriers....

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#7 RE: Languages - get with it!
21/09/2006 14:41

ak to david (#6)

Is there anyone who happens to have a list of larger or smaller sized consultancies that do not require foreign languages as a prerequiste to work in a foreign office. I can't find many, just a few such as Siemens Management (for Munich) and Hitachi (for Portugal).

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