3 Benefits Of Adding Language Capabilities To Your Resumé

by Jaineel Aga

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Getting Consulting Jobs In India.

Highlights:
  • Adding language capabilities makes you stand out against candidates who have comparable resumés to yours.
  • In some companies, having additional language capabilities is more important than other resumé hallmarks.
  • Language differentiation makes you more competitive in a globalized economy.
If you've taken classes in a language at some point, it would be valuable to take professional courses or otherwise brush up those skills for many reasons. Learning a language is a long-term commitment, but achieving a business-level polish can payoff.

Keeping Up With The Global Economy

It's important no longer to think of your office as your workplace. In the globalized economy, major consulting firms like BCG, McKinsey and Parthenon have offices and business interests in every part of the globe. While larger firms have offices all over the world, smaller, boutique firms like Parthenon, with global interests but fewer offices, may not have staff translators or on-site employees.

One Parthenon office in Mumbai, for example, serves as the company's Asian headquarters and caters services not just to all of India but also to China, Japan, Korea, the Middle East and Northern Africa. An applicant who fluently spoke Mandarin, Japanese, Korean or Arabic would distinguish himself or herself as someone who would often not need a translator to accomplish his assignments for regions far from his home base of Mumbai.

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Highlights:
  • Adding language capabilities makes you stand out against candidates who have comparable resumés to yours.
  • In some companies, having additional language capabilities is more important than other resumé hallmarks.
  • Language differentiation makes you more competitive in a globalized economy.
If you've taken classes in a language at some point, it would be valuable to take professional courses or otherwise brush up those skills for many reasons. Learning a language is a long-term commitment, but achieving a business-level polish can payoff.

Keeping Up With The Global Economy

It's important no longer to think of your office as your workplace. In the globalized economy, major consulting firms like BCG, McKinsey and Parthenon have offices and business interests in every part of the globe. While larger firms have offices all over the world, smaller, boutique firms like Parthenon, with global interests but fewer offices, may not have staff translators or on-site employees.

One Parthenon office in Mumbai, for example, serves as the company's Asian headquarters and caters services not just to all of India but also to China, Japan, Korea, the Middle East and Northern Africa. An applicant who fluently spoke Mandarin, Japanese, Korean or Arabic would distinguish himself or herself as someone who would often not need a translator to accomplish his assignments for regions far from his home base of Mumbai.

But in-demand languages aren't just languages spoken in the East or in the developing world. German and Spanish are 2 other languages that make an applicant more attractive, regardless of what else his or her resumé may hold.

Improving Your Efficiency

Something important that major consulting firms consider when looking at applicants with additional language capabilities is how much time and money that person could save them as an employee. Unless the company has salaried translators in-house, each project in a language its employees don't know requires further expenses in the form of translators.

Adding language capabilities eliminates that cost and adds additional benefits.

Even salaried in-house translators add an extra step to each task in a project. The translator has to parse the data into the language the company's employees understand, and if the employees on a project have any questions, they have to make the translator into a middleman to ask questions of the original author.

The company loses more efficiency because the consultants need the translators in order to be able to do their job, but the translators can't do consulting work. Adding language capabilities combines the 2 roles into 1 high efficiency employee.

Taking On More Responsibilities

Having additional language capabilities isn't just useful to differentiate your resumé; as an employee, business-level polish in a language makes navigating and understanding regulations, expert interviews and data analytics in its original language easy.

All of this is to say nothing of the intangible benefits of being able to communicate with people in their own language, or more importantly, the language in which they’re comfortable. In any industry in which client comfort and understanding is critical to successful business and in consulting and analytics specifically, being able to communicate effectively with a client is critical.

Adding language capabilities adds to your versatility as an employee by expanding your potential operational area. Major consulting firms know that if they have a choice between 2 employees, one of whom requires translator help and one who doesn't, the one who has the capabilities to do work in several regions is worth much more to them than the one who can only work in 1 region, unless they hire someone to pair with him.
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