A while back I was reading an article about how a young lady practicing medicine had racked up over $1 million in student loans. She was earning over $130,000 annually, however, she could not qualify for a home loan. Of course this is an extreme case but there are many people going back to college, getting more into debt, to earn an advanced degree. Why? They figure that having an advanced degree will give them more job opportunities.
I recognize that there are some professions and careers that require advanced degrees or certifications. Nevertheless, when you take a closer look at most of the professions that are in demand you will see that an advanced degree is not required. In all actuality, experience, not an advanced degree, is what most hiring managers are looking for. So you have to ask yourself is getting an advanced degree really worth the time or effort.
There is one thing that you should consider above earning an advanced degree. As opposed to earning another degree you should think about learning another language. Why? Think about this for a second. If you were fluent in Spanish and your profession is accounting, then your job opportunities are not just limited to the United States. You can work in Europe, South and Central America in addition to being able to work in the US. By just learning one language, you have literally opened up a world of opportunity.
In addition to that, think about how much more valuable you would be to a firm if you were bilingual or, better yet, multilingual. To give you an example, I have a cousin who works in a hotel in Panama who happens to be fluent in English and Spanish.
Anyway, there was a hotel guest, a business owner from the United States, who was trying to communicate with a potential customer. The problem was that the hotel guest did not speak Spanish and the potential customer did not speak English. So the manager at the hotel asked my cousin to interpret the conversation. The guest was very happy that there was a person that was at the hotel that could help him. Considering that the majority of the hotel’s customers are English speakers and the majority of the hotel staff are Spanish speakers, my cousin is a valuable asset to the hotel.
If you work for a multinational company with offices all over the world and you are multilingual, then your career has the potential to grow in a way that you may have never thought was possible. If your company’s sales are heavily dependent on international customers, then your value to that company may have increased depending on the language. Also consider the fact that your company’s international clients may see you as a potential employee since you can speak their language. Now, as a result of you being multilingual, you have unlimited options and massive leverage.
Now let’s think about it from the perspective of an entrepreneur or small business owner. If you are bilingual or multilingual, then your customer base expands. If you have more customers, then you have more sales. In addition to that, you will also be able to create products and services for different markets. The more markets or customer groups that you can serve translates into more sales. Imagine if you had an information product that you were offering in English and you are able offer that same product in Spanish or Chinese.
As you can clearly see learning another language may be more beneficial to you than earning an advanced degree. Furthermore, the cost of learning another language may cost you significantly less. Even if you were to decide to earn an advanced degree you should still consider learning another language. Think about how that would look to a hiring manager when they see that you are multilingual and you have an advanced degree.
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