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Hottest Job Skill In Biotech
12/2/2013 5:22:30 PM
December 5, 2013
Check out this sought-after skill employers are looking for in candidates.
By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com
Mental flexibility, technical communication, efficient collaboration and scientific aptitude—biotechnology employers look for evidence of these traits and more when reviewing the resume or curriculum vitae of a prospective employee. However, a less obvious attribute has recently claimed a place at the top of hiring managers’ desired characteristic lists. The ability to speak a second language is now among the hottest job skills in the biotech industry.
CNNMoney recently reported that the Department of Labor expects an increase of 42 percent in the field of interpretation between 2010 and 2010—making interpreters one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations. It’s easy to see why such robust expansion is possible. According to the Census Bureau’s latest calculations, 58 percent of U.S. residents over the age of five speak a language other than English at home. In 2011, this included Spanish (37.6 million), Chinese (2.9 million), Tagalog (1.6 million), Vietnamese (1.4 million), French (1.3 million), German (1.1 million) and Korean (1.1 million).
Fortunately, you don’t have to change careers to benefit from foreign language fluency. Consider the following reasons bilingualism may help you land your next biotechnology position.
1. Bilingual candidates may be smarter than those who speak a single language.
Recent studies have shown that bilingualism has a profound effect on the human brain. Not only does it delay the onset of dementia in old age, but it also improves cognitive skills not related to language. Analysis of collective evidence suggests fluency in a second language enhances the brain’s executive function—the system that directs planning, problem solving and other mentally demanding tasks. Superiority in these areas is obviously an advantage when seeking a research associate, scientist, senior scientist or other biotech position.
2. Bilingual candidates are more transferable.
Biotechnology is an increasingly global industry. As employers expand their businesses overseas, they will need more bilingual employees—including managers, engineers and quality assurance professionals — who speak languages such as Chinese, Taiwanese and Bengali. An employer planning an expansion may favor bilingual employees over the monolingual, as their fluency will be valuable when training and communicating with workers at the new location.
Foreign biotech employers are also interested in American professionals who are fluent in their native language. The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently reported in its online journal that China’s government and universities are increasingly interested in persuading foreign science academics and researchers to build their careers there.
3. Bilingual candidates increase safety.
Jobs within labs and research facilities as well as manufacturing and production lines generally require some training in safety procedures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instructs employers to deliver that training in a language their workers can understand. If a biotech company employs workers with limited English skills, they need bilingual management professionals to deliver the training and monitor the safety compliance of those individuals.
If you’re bilingual, take the time to highlight this increasingly valuable skill within your resume or curriculum vitae. Bilingual means you can speak, read and write a second language fluently. If your skills are a bit rusty, or you only had a year or two of instruction in high school, consider a continuing education language course at your local community college to refresh or further develop proficiency.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.
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