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Marketable skills of foreign language majors

A major in a foreign language tells a potential employer certain things about the skills and abilities you possess. Take stock of the various language courses, activities, and experiences you have had and how those have contributed to your abilities in the following areas -- you may well be surprised at how well-rounded your involvement with languages has made you, even in subtle ways. For example, learning about another culture may have given you the opportunity to reflect on the practices of your own culture and exercise constructive self-criticism. Or perhaps learning to decipher unfamiliar linguistic code has made you more detail-oriented. Don't underestimate the value of your language and cultural know-how and its influence in your development of cognitive, organizational, and interpersonal skills. Let your résumé reflect what you know and can do!

Cultural Competencies of Foreign Language Majors

• cross-cultural communication
• understanding of cultural differences
• knowledge of culturally specific behavior, customs, and values
• language competence for speaking, writing, reading and listening
• understanding of target culture, history, literature, music, and folklore
• appreciation of diversity
• sensitivity to cultural issues
• awareness of differences in cultural perspectives
• global experience
• ability to adjust to new environments
• ability to interact effectively with peoples of different backgrounds

Analytical Skills of Foreign Language Majors

• critical thinking
• analyzing and comparing cultures
• creating and clarifying ideas
• gathering and analyzing information
• defining and analyzing complex problems
• weighing values and assessing needs
• ability to conduct research

Communication Skills of Foreign Language Majors

• clear and concise writing
• understanding of audience needs
• ability to persuade / influence
• effective use of language
• listen and clarify well
• oral presentation and public speaking

Practical / Organizational Skills of Foreign Language Majors

• oral and written comprehension
• following oral and written instructions
• attention to detail and good observation skills
• ability to instruct / motivate
• computer skills
• generating innovative ideas and solutions
• identifying resources
• evaluating / assessing processes and products
• ability to work cooperatively and to coordinate work with others
• flexibility in learning and thinking
• ability to take risks
• overcoming obstacles and barriers
• independent thinking

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