5 Benefits of Being Bilingual in the Charity Sector

3 minute read

With the charity sector looking to recruit some of the most talented candidates, it’s a good idea to bolster up your CV as much as possible. It’s important to demonstrate any skills that this industry values. Have you volunteered? Can you network? Are you bilingual?

We’ve outlined five ways that bilingual will make you a more attractive candidate, boosting your chances of landing a job in the not-for-profit sector.


1. It will make you stand out

Going into this line of work requires a bit of forward thinking. If you’ve come from the corporate world, your CV may not stand up to someone who has spent time volunteering, travelling and networking with people and locals “on the ground”. Having a career break on your CV isn’t seen as taboo, unlike in some other sectors.

Charities are after CVs that are dynamic with notable achievements, and being bilingual is definitely one that will help you stand out. It shows you have the right qualities to fit this industry – someone who has patience and determination to learn a new language and culture. If you’ve studied abroad that’s even better as it illustrates you would thrive in a local setting.

5 Benefits of Being Bilingual in the Charity Sector

2. Networking may come naturally to you

Use your CV to show the hiring manager or recruiter that language learning isn’t just a classroom experience for you. Rather, an opportunity to meet interesting people, different cultures and a way to find out more about the world and those that inhabit it.

Any past volunteering experience and language connection you make with other people further bolsters your CV to show a natural networking ability. Working for a charity isn’t just about field work but also about fundraising and bringing attention to the cause. Being able to communicate with a range of people – whether abroad, at a global conference or in the field – is an important skill to have.


3. Communicate on the ground…

If you’re joining a charity to work abroad in schools, hospitals or shelters, then it’s obvious you’re going to need to speak the language. Even if you’re there in a supportive role it’s useful to have knowledge of the language to make communication easier for yourself and your colleagues. It’s also important to make the people you are helping feel understood, this way you can ensure you’re helping in the best way possible.

Even once you’re back at head office, having first-hand experience of what your charity does will help you deliver support, campaign for funds or implement policies. Don’t let the language barrier hold you back from experiencing life in the field.

5 Benefits of Being Bilingual in the Charity Sector

4. …and in your home country

Being bilingual can also be useful for charities based in your hometown. With more cities becoming a melting pot of cultures, many people are escaping war, genocide and economic stagnation. It’s common for a language barrier to make assimilation difficult. Having the ability to communicate with people in their own language is a hugely beneficial skill to have.


5. Experience sometimes trumps education

Just like any company, there are roles that value experience and then there are roles that require in-depth technical skills. Some roles within the charity sector do value experience over education – that isn’t to say a minimum level of education isn’t needed. It just means experience in the field and having a knack for picking up languages does make you an appealing candidate to hire.



Don’t be afraid to take that career break and spend time giving back to the community or travel abroad to learn a new language. These are valuable and sought-after skills within the not-for-profit sector. Need to brush up on your English skills for your new non-profit career? Why not study an English language course abroad?

Sarah Gluckman

Sarah Gluckman is the Content Producer at Kaplan International English. Kaplan offers students the opportunity to live and learn English in 38 cities around the world.

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