With the country’s immigrant population booming, the need for bilingual jobs continues to increase. But how do you single yourself out from the crowd and effectively market your bilingual skills? An average of 880,000 documented people immigrate to the United States each year, and corporations are struggling to meet the needs of a progressively multi-lingual population. Bilingual personnel are more valuable than ever; the flip side is that a large portion of the new consumers are also bilingual jobseekers. As a bilingual jobseeker you need a way to make your resume stand out.
There is no nationwide test to certify your bilingual status. Some states require certification for specific jobs (such as court translation), and some government jobs require a screening test after you are singled out as a promising candidate. Unfortunately, employers are just getting used to screening bilingual applicants and are often unaware that there is no standardized test. They will inevitably ask you about your official credentials. There are three ways to assure them that you are well qualified.
Translators associations, most notably the American Translator’s Association (or ATA) provide general certification testing for members. Although these tests are somewhat pricey (around $160), the ATA is a well regarded institution. Their website (http://www.atanet/ ) also provides links to other associations that offer language and industry specific certification.
If you can not currently afford the time or money to take the test, it is important to build up your professional references. Qualified but not experienced? There are plenty of web resources to help you. Bilingual forums like Dave’s ESL Cafe (http://www.eslcafe.com/ ) and Aquarius.net provide free advice, a chance to network, job ideas, warnings about scams, information about pay scale, and a better understanding of useful terminology.
In addition to providing language specific job listings and their own certification tests, job search sites like bilingualcareer.com (http://www.bilingualcareer.com/ ) also offer a wide variety of free resources, including guides to the best available resources, ideas for grooming your resume, information on the fastest growing industries, and customer service representatives who can answer your questions about appropriate pay scale, industry specific terminology, and accent reduction. Take the time to research each job you apply to, learn industry specific terminology in both required languages, explore your network of resources. There’s a world of opportunity out there.