Job Search Strategies for Bilingual Professionals

By: AJE Recruiting Specialist

Job Search Strategies for Bilingual Professionals

Since Spanish has become a pervasive second language in America, it’s only natural that corporations are increasingly eager to recruit bilingual workers. The Hispanic population in the United States has grown by 43 percent in the last decade, surpassing 50 million and accounting for about 1 out of 6 Americans. The population explosion is creating a tremendous demand for bilingual workers.

While the need for these professionals is widespread, there are geographical pockets where opportunities are skyrocketing. The demand for bilingual employees is most pronounced in the South and West, where the concentration of non-English speaking residents is high.

Before the bilingual professional begins their job search, they’ll need to research which industries are promoting the most openings relevant to their skills. The top industries for bilingual candidates include healthcare, financial services, sales and marketing, social services and public service, according to the Department of Labor. Other occupations whose demand for bilingual speakers is increasing include education, counseling, and social services. The Federal government and state governments are also a good resource. They are always hiring bilingual workers. It makes sense that government employees should represent the people they service every day.

Once an ideal job title and region have been defined, the legwork begins. Local job fairs are one of the most valuable resources for bilingual professionals, since often the candidate can be hired on the spot. Check newspapers, bulletin boards, and local Hispanic organizations for job fair dates. Always dress professionally and bring several copies of your resume, which most certainly should emphasize your bilingual skills.

Aside from in-person networking, the Internet can be a goldmine for the bilingual worker. Niche job search sites specifically for Spanish-English speaking professionals abound, along with resume and interview tips. For example, America’s Job Exchange has a career portal specifically for Hispanic professionals that showcase opportunities where bilingual or multilingual skills are preferred.

In some cases, bilingual professionals have a distinct advantage over their English-speaking counterparts. Not only will these workers climb to the top in a pile of resumes, but they’ll also be able to command a higher salary. According to salary reports, some companies are willing to pay big for this top-tier skill. When negotiating salary, it is not uncommon for the bilingual worker to get 5-20 percent more than the position’s base rate.

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