Learning a Foreign Language for Executive Assistants

Yönetici Asistanları İçin Yabancı Dil Öğrenimi

Defining the job description of an executive assistant as supporting the organization, office management and the executive supervisor would be both impossible and a very limited expression, just like trying to fit the ocean in a cup. The touchstone of executive assistants, who spend every moment trying to solve a different problem, is communicating correctly. That’s why, anyone who wants to build a career in this field has to be competent in the field of communication.

However, while having an “Office Management and Secretariat” associate degree from universities, or having an “Office Management Certificate” from an educational academy is optional in the job adverts for executive assistant on career websites, “knowing a foreign language” is mandatory. This is because knowing a foreign language is the backbone of communicating with the world. This being the case, whether you are an executive assistant candidate or a competent executive assistant who wants to have a meteoric rise, you have to make foreign language not only part of your CV, but also your life.

So, how you should proceed when learning a language? Which steps you should take, and in which order you should take them?

Before anything else, you should see this as one of the problems you solve every day. Just know that you can do it and don’t overexaggerate it. Start working by planning, as you always do:

First of all, you should set your goals properly. You should begin to work by identifying your purpose while learning a language and you should make a special programme for yourself. You should follow different methods for speaking fluently, giving practical answers and learning a language completely. Proceeding with a plan that fits your needs will allow you to achieve success in a short time.

1) Which language should I begin to learn?

I can practically hear you all saying “English”. However, the first language that a person who wants to learn a foreign language needs to perfect is their mother tongue, which in our case is Turkish.

A person who knows the rules and usages of Turkish completely will learn other languages in a short time.

According to statistics, however, Chinese and Indian have the most speakers, and English is the most spoken language worldwide. This is because a large part of the population of China and India knows English. Academic and economic basics develop around this language. Therefore, an executive assistant definitely needs to know English.

2) In which sector do I want to take part?

It is impossible to know all the words of a language; however, people communicate in most sectoral correspondence and conversation with approximately 100-200 terms. It is impossible to understand the subject and transfer it without knowing the meaning of these terms. That’s why you should learn the technical jargon regarding the field of the corporation you intend to be a part of it. Using these words in the right place and in the right context will make you stand out during your job interview.

3) How is the corporate language of the corporation?

Every corporation has a “corporate language” that it uses in internal communication; it reflects the character of the corporation. In order to be familiar with it, you need to review corporate publications and translations of the corporate website in different languages.

4) Choice of educational institution

There is no need to seek an adventure for this. You can learn a foreign language in a way that suits your purposes by prioritizing educational institutions which prepare you for accreditation exams, are experienced and reputable and have gained a seat in the sector. Moreover, you can develop your vocabulary and practise with native speakers via paid/free applications. If you don’t have the opportunity to live in the country of the target culture, these kinds of practices will help you.

5) Read, write and speak

Do activities such as watching subbed series/movies, animating a seminar in a different language by yourself and utilizing memory games, crosswords and radio theatres. Follow the news from foreign sources. Also, while writing in a language that you are still learning, make use of automatic correction programmes. By doing so, you can learn specific phrases and you can get into the habit of writing the words correctly.

To sum up, whether it is a multinational or domestic corporation, all companies need to have a competent executive assistant. Being the backbone of corporations, this position is based on humanitarian values independent of technological developments, and it is irreplaceable. That’s why it is independent of time. As long as intercultural communication and globalization develop, knowing a foreign language will be the greatest competency of an executive assistant.

Senem Kobya

CEO, Dijital Tercüme

Senem Kobya
EPMA World
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