Category Archives: Career

Careers for second language speakers

While English is the most popular business medium spoken the world over or the second language of choice (known as a lingua franca), being proficient in only one language can have a limiting effect on your career.  Being fluent in a second language could serve you and your work well in a number of career paths, such as these:

Second language teacher

Teaching foreign languages abroad is something great to do while you’re young and just starting out your career.   A teaching degree or even a post graduate diploma combined with being fluent in French or Spanish could open many doors as a second language teacher in countries such as Canada and the US respectively.

Au pair

Working as an au pair is another great way to travel the world or live abroad for a few years. While there are certainly many opportunities to take advantage of as an English-speaking au pair, many clients are not willing to even consider an au pair’s application unless the applicant is fluent in their native tongue.

Cruise ships

Cruise ship careers have really taken off in the last few years. This is an amazing opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures.  There are possibilities to work on the ships for years and even relocating to a new country.  This cultural experience will only be more enriched by learning the languages of the places you may visit or relocate to.

Interpreter / Translator

Interpreting has become a really lucrative career to pursue. Whether or not you do it full time or part time, you stand to make a lot of money for your work.  Mandarin translation might not seem like a great career path; however you may change your view once you realize that clients are willing to fork out up to 80 dollars per hour for this valuable skill.  Many companies also pay translators per word to translate documents.  Translating from English to a foreign language such as Danish or Arabic may get you up to 19 cents per word.

Writer

The challenge with writing has always been getting your work read by as many people as possible. This is not as easy as it sounds as the majority of all content written today uses the English medium. Amazingly English does not have the most speakers, let alone the most readers in the world. There are approximately 1 billion Mandarin speakers and readers in the world.  Learning to write in Mandarin would immediately open your writing to a huge market that you may never have reached had you only written in English.

Aside from the amazing career opportunities that learning an additional language have, learning a second language will also make your traveling experience easier.  Learning the language of a country such as France is seen as a sign of respect. While French people have a reputation of being somewhat abrasive, they are more than accommodating if you are able to converse with them in their native tongue.

How to get started as a consultant

There’s a nice sounding ring to being a consultant, isn’t there? The idea that readily comes to mind is that you get paid a big bundle of money to be an expert with a sought-after opinion. But what does a consultant really do, and how do you become one?

What does a consultant do?

A consultant will have a particular niche that they know very well. Well enough in order to be paid by a business simply for advice. For example, control room consultants would need to know the field of security very well. They’d be well-versed with the technology, policies, and trends of security. They’d know how to integrate this with buildings, as well as what different businesses or institutions would require in a specific security strategy.

A consultant needs to be able assess a situation and make informed decisions that get results.

Where do you start?

You generally don’t just graduate from school and become a consultant. Stepping into a consultancy role generally isn’t the first step on your career ladder. It’s a job title you can take on when you have the knowledge and experience to qualify you to tell a business what’s what.

Even if you’ve paid your dues and consider yourself ready to consult, it can be tricky getting started.

You need a network. Now, what does that involve?

References

Never underestimate the power of having a few good references behind your name. As a consultant, having good words spoken on your behalf from a trustworthy source is particularly important. When you consult, you aren’t just drawing from the qualifications on your degree. You’re drawing from experience, which gives you the hard-earned knowledge that justifies what you have to say. And a potential employee will want to get a closer look at that experience from your references. Especially when you’re first starting out as a consultant and still establishing your reputation.

A client base

Once you’re sure you have good references to draw from, it’s time to get a client base. Referrals are a good way to get new clients as a consultant. You just need to start out somewhere to get your first clients, who will be able to go on to refer you to others. Seeing as how you should have experience and references already, it stands to reason that you already know some people in the industry. And those people know more people. Fish around and see if anyone you know knows of someone who could make use of your services.

Also, learn the essentials of establishing yourself as an industry expert through the web. This may entail having a professional website, doing some content marketing, and diligently using social media. The calls will eventually come.

Finally, remember that when you’re starting out, it might be good to keep your rates low. It’s for this reason that people often begin doing part-time consulting in their spare time, while still holding on to the security of their old job. Once you get the swing of things, have a more steady supply of work and have happy clients, you can start charging more and enjoy all the benefits that come with calling yourself a consultant.

4 Really Good Reasons to Go Back to School

It can be daunting going back to school while you’re already in the working world. There are many things to consider: the costs of studying, the time and effort it takes, how to juggle school, work and family, and whether you have a good enough reason to go back to school.

As to that last consideration, here are some legitimate reasons why going back is definitely something to consider:

You need it for that promotion

Do you have your eye on a particular promotion, but need an additional qualification to bag it? Then studying is definitely for you. Perhaps, however, you would study further not for a particular promotion, but just to make you more eligible to be considered for a promotion in the future. Either way, before you enrol, sit down with your boss to discuss whether getting the qualification will indeed help you in getting promoted. It’s good to have an honest discussion about your future options. You might even find that your employee would be willing to help finance your studies.

You’ve reached the glass ceiling

If you’ve reached the glass ceiling at your job and know that you’ll have to look elsewhere to broaden your horizons, then it’s the right time to study further.

However, first ask yourself if you’ve gotten the hang of your job. Is there still a lot more you can learn just by showing up to work every day? Especially if your studies would still be in line with your current job, it’s worth it to learn everything you can on the job first. It’s basically like an education you’re being paid for, so why pay to go back to school and spend that extra time and energy studying? First concentrate on learning the ropes at work before you start looking elsewhere to get schooled.

You want to change careers

Sometimes people go back and study to be able to go further in their current line of careers. But sometimes they study further because they want to change careers. If you are planning on changing career directions, the earlier you do this the better. However, we find nowadays that people are diving into wholly new careers much later on in their lives as well. Are you a high-powered executive who has secretly always had the dream to be a journalist? Or do you daydream of getting your law diploma and being a paralegal like Rachel Zane from Suits? Remember, it’s never too late to go for your dreams.

You feel your skillset is lacking

You like your current career path, you’re doing well, but something’s missing. It’s not that you want to qualify for a specific promotion, but you know that upping your skillset could really make your career take off. This is particularly relevant if you’re self-employed – or want to be. Having a general business qualification, for instance, can really give you the confidence and the know-how to take your business further.

There are many legitimately good reasons to go back to studying. Whether you want to go further in your current profession, or you want to be able to hop across professions to land your dream job, studying further is the way to do it.

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Career

You’re unhappy with the way your career is going and you want to fix it. You want to fast-track it, help it along and stand out from the crowd. But how to do it? There are many strategies, in fact, that you can apply right now. It’s not even necessary to get up from your desk.

Adjust your attitude

Complaining, criticizing and being lazy do you no favours. This is not the type of employee or colleague people want around. Come promotion time, you’re likely to be passed over in favour of someone with a positive attitude. Actively work on bettering your attitude by adjusting your thoughts and looking for the good things about your job.

Review your annual review

It’s easy to forget about your annual or quarterly review once it’s done, but dust it off from time to time to check how you’re doing. There might be problem areas that were highlighted that you forgot about or even opportunities that could be seized. It’ll improve your performance at work, making it more likely that your next review will be a stellar one.

Get organised

A desk that resembles a landfill site does not make for a productive day, because you spend a lot of time searching for misplaced files and documents. To get more productive, get an in-out tray and divide your work accordingly. Trash anything that you don’t need and file the rest. Do the same for your computer’s desktop and your documents folder.

Spend 30 minutes reading

The first thing you should do every morning is read – a blog post, a newsletter, an article; any piece of information that’s relevant to your industry that’ll help keep your knowledge current. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that you stay relevant and have information of value at hand during conversations. If you feel that you need more, look at short courses presented by business schools.

Get noticed

Sitting in your corner, not speaking up and not contributing, is not the way to get noticed. Speak up during meetings, propose a solution to a workplace problem and volunteer to help out. If you really want to make an impression on your manager, ask for more responsibility, then take it on and perform!

Need more quick ideas? Send a mail to someone you connected with at a conference, dress for the job you want, polish your online resume or have a chat to someone that you admire for inspiration.