Applying for a job is never easy, but job hunting abroad is doubly nerve-wracking. To find work in a Spanish-speaking country, you'll need to do your homework. From your CV to the interview process to the general business culture, can you dazzle an interviewer en Español? Here are some tips and tricks to help your search.
In Spain, a resume is sometimes called a CV or a curriculum. In other Latin American countries, you may hear it referred to as the hoja de vida.
Make sure to use bullets (not paragraphs) if you need to describe a role in detail. Spanish-language CVs are generally limited to two A4 printed pages. They are made up of the following sections:
Personal Information (Datos Personales) – This section includes your name, address, email, phone number, and nationality. It's not uncommon to include age and gender, but leave it off if you don't feel comfortable. Traditionally you include a photo at the top of a CV, but it's becoming more accepted to have an "anonymous" CV too.
Profile (Perfil) – This section is one or two sentences that describe who you are and your professional objectives. It is sometimes written as Quien Soy (Who I Am).
Work Experience (Experiencia Profesional/Laboral) – You write this section in reverse chronological order. Just like an English-language CV, you'd include company names, locations, role titles, dates of employment, and a couple of bullets on describing job duties.
Education/Training (Formación Académica) – This section would list your education and any other training you've received. Professional certificates and courses you've taken should be listed here. If you are a recent graduate, you might switch the order and put this section before work experience.
Skills (Habilidades) – Here, you would list special skills, including IT skills. IT skills can also be called informática.
Languages (Idiomas) – List your language proficiencies in a separate section. If you can measure your langauge abilities by the European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), note the designated levels accordingly. Or you could just use the words: Inicial, Básico, Intermedio or Avanzado.
References (Referencias) – On your Spanish-language CV, it is customary to list a reference's name and contact information.
The Interview Process
Before you start applying, you should learn basic Spanish-speaking interview etiquette. It will vary from country to country, but some foundational tips apply no matter what. Here are the most important things to remember for your Spanish-language interview.
Don't be late (but your interviewer might be!). Arrive ten minutes early, but prepare to wait for up to 30 minutes. While start times can be somewhat relaxed in Spanish-speaking countries, it varies from organization to organization, so be punctual.
Don't expect a panel interview. It's much more typical to have a one-on-one interview. Your first round will probably be more of a screen, while your second round takes place with a hiring or HR manager.
Bring your resume and business cards with you. Even though it may feel like an antiquated tradition to you, some organizations in Spanish-speaking countries still operate in more traditional ways.
At first, listen. An interviewer may speak for up to 30 minutes about the company, the role, and his/her experience there. During this time, they will also be gauging how well you listen and pick up on social cues.
Don't be surprised if you're interrupted. The Spanish language is animated, and native speakers might feel totally at home interrupting each other or you in mid-sentence. Don't be disconcerted if this happens; it's just a social norm that shouldn't be taken personally.
At the end of the interview, it's appropriate to inquire how long it will take to hear back about your candidacy. Also, make sure you obtain the interviewer's contact information in order to write a thank you email.
Spanish plays a vital role in trade and commerce. And you don't even have to leave home - many American, British, and Canadian jobs require Spanish speakers in their workforce. And the US trades frequently with Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and others.
If you speak passable Spanish, you'll have a good chance of finding work in almost any industry. Here are some of the most common industries for Spanish-speaking jobs:
Many schools around the world have Hispanic students who want to learn English, and vice versa. In schools or programs that offer a bilingual education, your bilingualism is a unique asset.
Law and Compliance
From immigration to Know Your Customer banking regulations to GDPR compliance, knowing international law and Spanish makes you extremely employable across the world. Spanish-to-English interpreters are needed in courts across South America and Europe, and many legal firms seek bilingual employees in order to reach extended communities.
Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare companies are always in need of translators and interpreters. Healthcare is a major industry in the Spanish-speaking world; customers don't always speak the native language and bilingual employees can fill in the gaps. When communication can mean the difference between life and death, clinics and healthcare organizations place special import on finding bilingual staff.
Customer Service and Tourism
Whether you're helping tourists navigate an unfamiliar area or helping customers who need English interpretation, being bilingual can definitely help you find a job in this people-oriented sector. Bilingual workers manage a variety of customer needs for busy tour companies, museums, hotels, and restaurants.
Spanish is one of the official working languages of several public, private, and multilateral organizations. To start your Spanish-speaking job search, explore the following:
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Carribbean
- International Monetary Fund
- International Olympic Committee
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Spanish is one of the best languages to know if you want to move abroad. While each Spanish-speaking country has its own professional customs, knowing the language and having a correctly formatted CV will be the cornerstones of your job search.
No matter where you end up, undergoing the Spanish job application process can open up lucrative opportunities. Whether you stay abroad or return home in the future, your Spanish work experience will serve you far into your career.