I don’t master the national language, is it a problem?

No it is not! However, you cannot expect to get the same job opportunities as you would get in your own country at the start if you do not master the language they speak.

bilingual roles

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking the language, going for a job where you will have to speak your own language might be the best option. Multinationals are always on the look-out for new talents able to speak foreign languages. Most of the positions are in sales, accountancy, finance and customer service. You will work for your country and in your own language.

Depending on the company, the language they use to communicate is the national language or English. If you already speak English, that will be an advantage for you as you won’t struggle to understand and make yourself understood. A basic level of the national language is nevertheless recommended to be at ease in the company and show the recruiter that despite the fact that you are not fluent, you are clearly making an effort to improve your level.

Do not see it as a step backward if you already have a first professional experience and your area of expertise is none of the ones mentioned above. The objective is to reach a good level of the national language to get the role you really want in a few months. Mastering another language will open you the doors to new career opportunities so grin and bear it and see it as a required stage to reach your goal.

Firstly, getting a job in a multinational will enable you to work in the country and this is the best way to learn the language. You’ll have to practice it on a daily basis and talking is what will make you improve your spoken language skills.

Secondly, going abroad will never be seen as a weakness on your CV, even if you have a position a bit below what you could get in your country. Employers will appreciate your courage and your will to broaden your horizons.

The key is not to stay too long in the role you got when you arrived if you do not wish to make a career in this sector. Once you have reached a good level in the local language, start looking for a career opportunity related to what you like. Most multinationals offer great opportunities to those who work well and show their abilities. Go to the HR department or talk with your manager about career progression possibilities. Even if there is no open position at the moment, they will keep you in mind if something comes up that suits your profile. The second option is to look for another job in another company. Take your time to find the right opportunity; you are not unemployed so you are not in a rush.

Here are a few tips to quickly become fluent:

  • Avoid staying with people from your country. This is the easy way out as you might feel a bit lost when you arrive but that will slow down your progress. You need to talk as much as you can and talking with foreign or local people in the local language is the best solution.
  • Watch TV and movies in the local language. Listening also plays a big part in learning a language. It is very good for vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • To finish, you can go to a course or a discussion group. Signing up for a class is not free of charge but you will have a teacher that will help you progress. Joining a discussion group is free. The purpose is to interact with other people. You will teach them your language and they will teach you theirs. It can be a good idea to meet new people.
  • Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to talk or to be judged. There is no need to be perfect!
newsletter (2)

Recruitment news, interviews, advice and career opportunities. Register now to receive your copy!