Give yourself more credit: Literally! Interviews with language graduates
By Rayanne Menery Sammataro
If you have taken a language and you are a soon to be graduate, you will be spending the next few weeks working on your resume. My father, who was an executive recruiter and owned a job placement firm, constantly stressed to me that you must send out as many resumes per day as your age. He also stressed the importance of language skills on your resumes. He received hundreds of resumes daily and any candidate who had language skills had their resume immediately placed at the top of the pile. If you are not yet a graduate, it is not too late to also take a new language, or even better yet, declare a minor or a major in a language and give yourself an extra advantage during the job hunt.
As I have taught at Salem State University for almost 17 years now, I have had the privilege of staying close to many of my students. One of my first students was Stephanie Jackson (SSU, ’01). She is now a registered nurse at DaVita Hospital. She has many patients who speak Italian and is constantly asked to help interpret when she is working at the hospital. Another alumna from SSU, Kelly Jean Duggan (’11), is a flight attendant for American Airlines. She told me how much studying Italian has helped her daily on some of her international flights. She said in an interview
There are so many benefits of knowing other languages. The job market is fierce and having something unique on your resume is invaluable. Being able to speak to someone in their native language changes the dynamics of the situation.
She has also mentioned that although she was nervous at the beginning of studying Italian she added,
My favorite part about knowing another language is that you are no longer on the outside looking in. Touring a foreign country is one thing, but to be able to speak the language changes your experience. Having the ability to understand and to give back takes you off the bench and onto the field. I have been on the sideline, so I can say from experience that it is much better being in the game.
Another former student, Ryan Sova (’07), said to me
Studying foreign languages has opened up the world for me. My knowledge of Spanish helped me with my first teaching job as a paraprofessional in a 5th grade ELL class. I now teach 3rd grade at a Multicultural Primary School in China. I feel confident that whether I am in China, Italy or one of the many French and Spanish speaking countries that I can communicate with people. Learning languages has brought me to where I am today and I could not be any happier.
Recent Graduate Student, Josephine Margiotta (’10, ’15), said to me
Learning a language was always important to me because I knew that in the field of education I would be working with a diverse population of students. I chose to learn Italian because it was spoken in my home. I am happy with my choice of taking a language because it not only helped me to have the ability to communicate with families as needed, but also showed me just how challenging learning a language can be, so I had a similar understanding of English Language Learners in my classroom.
It is important to give yourself the credit on your resume, be confident during your job interviews and let the prospective future boss know your language ability. There are many jobs out there for language speakers especially in the medical, hospitality, tourism, security and teaching fields. If you have not yet taken a language, now is the time. Get in the game as Ms. Duggan said, and give yourself credit. To the Senior Class of 2016: good luck on your job search!