I’ve been told over and over again that I have a better chance of finding a job because I’m bilingual, but I‘ve been unemployed for six months. How can I find an employer that will value my ability to speak both English and Spanish? — Alfredo in Oklahoma City, OK
I’m sorry to hear you’re unemployed right now. Searching for a job is a daunting task and you may feel discouraged, but please stay hopeful. With the rapidly increasing Hispanic population, be assured that there are a variety of career fields that need Spanish speakers.
To get more focused in your search for an employer that will recognize your value, ask yourself these three questions:
1. What type of job are you pursuing?
People who are bilingual are sought after in careers such as nursing, teaching, customer service and translating that interact with diverse populations..If you’re searching for management and executive-level positions, your bilingual skills would be valuable to employers with large numbers of Spanish-speaking employees. Have you considered companies with business operations in Latin America or international companies?
2. Can you move?
Some cities have higher demands for bilingual employees than others. If you are able and willing to relocate, you may want to consider locations where emerging Hispanic communities are creating new markets for companies. For example, the number of Hispanics has doubled in nine non-traditionally Hispanic states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and South Dakota.
3. Is your résumé is a true reflection of you?
If you’re using your Spanish speaking ability as a key element in your job search, then it should come across in your résumé. Make sure you state your proficiency level, your ability and experience in writing each language you know, and whether you are also bicultural. If you’re bilingual English-Spanish, then explicitly state it — don’t just assume an employer will know you speak Spanish because you say “bilingual.” Assume your résumé will be the key factor in getting your foot in the door and securing the interview.
You may find these websites helpful in your search:
- Aldebaran Associates International has job postings throughout the U.S. and Latin America that require bilingual skills. Visit their Résumé Cafe for helpful tips.
- The National Society for Hispanic Professionals has information about bilingual job Fairs and other valuable information.
- Hispanic Jobs and LatPro are search engines that specialize in finding jobs for Hispanics.
- Hispanic Business’ Top 40 Companies lists 40 U.S. companies committed to hiring Hispanics.
If you need some face-to-face help getting connected with jobs where you can use your skills, remember that your local Goodwill and One-Stop Career Center offer free job search resources.