So you’re learning how to speak Chinese. Smart choice! There are plenty of fantastic reasons to learn Chinese, and you probably have some of your own in mind. One big reason to study Chinese for many learners is the fact that speaking Chinese can further your career.
Whether you can’t wait to learn business Chinese or have never really given much thought to what Chinese has to do with work, your language skills can be an asset for your career. Keep on reading, and in this article, we’ll look at how speaking Chinese can get your career moving, both now and in the future.
Benefits of Speaking Chinese When Applying to Jobs
When you’re applying to jobs, you want to put your best foot forward to prove your worth to potential employers. Speaking Chinese can get your application to the top of the pile and land you that critical interview.
You don’t even have to live in China for your career to benefit from this advantage, either. A quick search on Indeed from April 2021 shows that in the UK, there are over 1,200 hits for job leads mentioning Mandarin. A similar search on the American site shows just under 8,000. Hundreds of these jobs are remote, too.
Right now, the fashion and beauty industry is particularly eager to target the enormous Chinese demand for luxury goods. Names like Balenciaga and La Mer & Darphin are actively recruiting team members who speak Mandarin. Chinese speakers interested in this industry are given a leg up over their competition in ritzy cities like Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, the favorite shopping destinations of wealthy Chinese tourists.
Career Benefits of Speaking Chinese in China
Of course, if you’re actually moving to China to develop your career, you need to know Chinese. Getting a job in China will be a much more limited experience if you don’t speak Chinese, and, apart from enabling you to work and thrive in a Chinese-speaking work environment, Chinese skills will be invaluable for keeping yourself and your career moving forward.
So, Chinese isn’t your first language. If doing work in China and conducting business in Chinese have you worrying about how your work performance will be affected, you may not have anything to worry about. Working in a foreign language might actually make you a more analytical thinker than your native-speaker peers.
Additionally, both inside and outside the office, skills in Chinese allow you to effectively network and build guanxi with Chinese speakers. Guanxi (关系) is a Chinese concept that roughly translates to “relationships,” “connections,” or “networks,” and maintaining good guanxi—through proper etiquette and socializing—can be a crucial ingredient for creating business and professional success in your endeavors. If you’re a beginner, you can prepare for this by learning how to introduce yourself in Chinese with some easy Chinese vocabulary.
As you grow, the better your ability to speak Chinese is, the more adept you’ll be at successfully navigating Chinese social networks and business circles. This translates into more opportunities for cultivating good guanxi for your career, and in the end, this use of your Chinese skills can even end up being an investment in long-term success.
Indirect Career Benefits of Speaking Chinese
Even if you haven’t moved to China, and the job or position you’re eyeing doesn’t require you to know or speak Chinese, that doesn’t mean that your Chinese skills are suddenly irrelevant to your career prospects and employability. Learning Chinese confers a variety of transferable skills that you can apply to your work, and it also develops positive traits that others will recognize in you.
In fact, employers are well aware of the advantages of hiring someone who speaks more than one language. People who speak more than one language have been shown to be more understanding of others, more self-aware, better problem solvers, more focused, and more creative.
Even a basic knowledge of Chinese language demonstrates your interest in cultural awareness and communication skills. Mentioning your Chinese skills in your resume or in a conversation can convince someone that you possess these qualities and will make a great addition to their team.
Navigate Your Future with Chinese
No matter where you’re at in your professional life, speaking Chinese is a skill you can use to pursue the career development you desire, both inside and outside of China. From enhancing your job application to building good guanxi to showing your multilingual mettle, your Chinese skills give you numerous advantages when navigating the workforce. Put in the effort, and with Chinese, you’ll be able to steer your career towards your goals.
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