Job/Internship Search

Did you know?

Humanities majors are in the top 10 degrees in demand among employers, with foreign language and literature ranking fourth.

National Humanities Alliance, 2018

What Foreign Languages Mean for U.S. Employers. "Making Languages Our Business, ACTFL 2019
ACTFL Making Languages Our Business, 2019.

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Employers want to hire you (language learners)!

1. Wisconsin employers recognize the value of multilingual workforce talent to (Wisconsin Language Roadmap, 2018):

    • Promote international exports and expansion
    • Gain a competitive advantage
    • Access global and domestic markets
    • Build strong partnerships through personal relationships
    • Provide services to local communities
  • Sustaining and increasing Wisconsin’s economic competitiveness into the future will require a broader range of Wisconsin businesses to expand internationally.

2. There is a language skill gap across industries. US employers have a growing demand for multilingual employees.

  • 40% of business executives reported a failure to reach their international potential due to language barriers.
  • Spanish, Chinese and Japanese see the highest demand among U.S. employers.
  • Nine out of 10 U.S. employers report a reliance on U.S.-based employees with language skills other than English.
  • One-third (32%) of employers report a high dependency on language skills other than English.

A majority of employers report that their need for foreign languages has increased over the past five years and project that it will continue to grow.

  • Foreign language skills impact employers’ bottom line. Nearly one in four U.S. employers surveyed acknowledged losing or being unable to pursue a business opportunity over the singular lack of foreign language skills.

3. Employers highly value future readiness skills developed through language study.

  • Wisconsin business leaders voice a demand for multilingual and culturally agile employees.
  • Employers are looking to recruit grads who can work effectively in diverse teams and demonstrate creativity, critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Top four essential career readiness competencies rated by employers include:
    • Critical Thinking/ Problem Solving
    • Teamwork/Collaboration
    • Professionalism/Work Ethic
    • Oral/Written Communication

*These are the top attributes employers seek on a candidate’s resume. Employers have witnessed a trend that grads are not fully proficient in these skills upon entering the workforce

Making Languages Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among U.S. Employers, 2019
NACE Job Outlook 2019
National Humanities Alliance, 2018
Wisconsin Language Roadmap Initiative 2018-2019

Talking about language proficiency and study abroad in a resume or an interview

Language Proficiency

  1. Reflect: Use NCSSFL-ACTFL “Can Do Statements” to think about what you are able to do in the language.
    *These are also a helpful tool to set goals for furthering your proficiency.
  2. Self-Assess: Determine which proficiency benchmark applies most accurately to you. Highlight language that stands out
  3. Practice: Draft talking points representative of your language skills to publish in your resume and lean on during an interview. Consider seeing a career advisor for feedback and additional practice.

Study Abroad

  1. Reflect: Use Study Abroad Skills Inventory to think about how the experience plays a role in your career development.
  2. Ask Yourself: What would be most relevant and important for employers to know given the position I’m interviewing or applying for? Jot down notes based on the job description and values on organization/company’s website.
  3. Practice: Draft talking points that highlight your experiences and skills developed during study abroad to publish in your resume and lean on during an interview. Consider seeing a career advisor for feedback and additional practice.

Building Your Network

Connect with alumni in different industries around the world. These individuals have offered to serve as mentors to graduating Badgers and fellow alumni.

Follow the UW-Madison page and utilize the alumni tab to get connected to those in your industry.

Gap-Year Opportunities


Fulbright U.S. Student Program (Teaching English/Research)

Service Corps
Programs provide specialized training and compensation covers cost of living with a typical commitment of 1-2 years.

AmeriCorps NCCC
AmeriCorps State and National
AmeriCorps VISTA
Green Corps




Job & Internship Search Resources

General Resume & Interview Tips

Feeling like you could use some additional help navigating these resources?
Make an appointment with Career Advisor, Kaitlin Koehler