As jobs are tight you need to employ every advantage possible to make the cut when looking to find employment. In almost every job field there is a growing need for multi-lingual employees. 1 in 5 people above the age of 5 don’t speak English at home so if you only speak one language it’s time to step up your game.
Spanish is probably the most practical language to learn. In 2009, 35 million people in the US noted Spanish as their primary language on the census and that number grows exponentially every year. It’s time well spent learning to communicate comfortably with such a large portion of the population.
While you might be able to start with the basics by watching Dora the Explorer with your preschooler that will hardly help you hold a conversation especially in an interview. Language programs like the BBC series Muzzy or Rosetta stone may be more effective but they can cost quite a bit. Some people looking for a job may not have the money to spare even if it is a good investment.
Try these cheap to free tips to increase your linguistic aptitude instead:
Exchange students – No, you don’t need to host a Spanish speaking youth in your home or travel to a far off land and live with someone else. Instead find someone who speaks Spanish that wants to learn English and try to teach each other. Post an ad at a local library or coffee shop that says something like, “¿Quieres Aprender Ingles? Quiero Aprender Español. ¿Quieres practicar para 2 o 3 horas a la semana? Me llamo _____. Mi numero de telephone es ______. Gracias” Meet in a safe place and use your stranger danger skills. If you’re more comfortable meeting someone online try mylanguageexchange.com. Maybe you’ll learn a new language and meet a new friend.
Crank up the Tunes – An episode of Glee recently highlighted how students learned Spanish more effectively with the help of music. Stream or download Latin music to add to your playlist. The repetition and melody will make retaining the info easier.
Flip the Script – Use movies you’ve watched a million times to increase your comprehension. Many have the option to turn on the Spanish language track. Add English subtitles or vice versa, watch and repeat. You’ll get a good feel for the tempo and pronunciation as well as the corresponding spelling and grammar. It will be easier to engage in the info since its subject matter you enjoy instead of a stuffy tutorial. If you’d prefer something new to view, try tuning in to a Spanish speaking network.
Read All About It –Devour Spanish literature, books, papers, blogs, almost anything you can find. By exposing yourself to the written word you will become more comfortable with reading and writing Spanish as well as speaking it, thus increasing the skill set you can include on your resume.
Search It – There are lots of websites that offer language lessons and tutorials. Start with some of these: www.babbel.com, www.livemocha.com,www.espagnolfacile.com, www.busuu.com, www.myhappyplanet.com, www.polyglot-learn-language.com, www.lingueo.com. Please list any additional finds you come across in the comments below.
NOTE: Livemocha is no longer an active site, but there are other solutions out there like LingQ.
Even if you’re not looking for employment, learning a new language like Spanish is a splendid idea. The main thing to remember is that repetition is the key to being successful. Just like looking for a job, you probably won’t find the results you want if you only try it once or twice.