Should I study in Spain before applying for jobs ?
As during the last 2 weeks, I will answer here to some blog readers’ questions I have received after my post “10 key Tips & Ressources to find a job in Spain”.
Is it necessary to complete some kind of Spanish degree or training to land a job here ? What choices are available ?
First of all, speaking Spanish fluently is a must have to land a job in Spain in a large firm. Of course, some “expat focused” jobs are available if you want to get a job in Spain and do not speak Spanish, but you will be limited to jobs in bars, shops or language teaching. These jobs are great if it’s your #1 objective, and in this case, your best option is just to come to Spain as soon as possible and get one of this kind of jobs ! But if you’re looking for a job which is not “expat-focused”, in 99 % of cases you will need Spanish, because if you don’t speak it, someone else will and will get the job instead of you. If you need more details, here’s the post I wrote on my method to get fluent in Spanish in 6 months.
If you already do speak Spanish, then one Spanish degree which is very useful is the DELE – “Diplomas de Español como Idioma Extranjero”, an official proof of your level in Spanish. You can prepare and take the DELE exam anywhere in the world, in large cities where there is an official center of examination. Here’s the complete list of DELE examination centers.
Depending on the demands of the position you are targeting, these are the levels you might need:
- at least the B2 level (“Vantage”), for instance if you don’t need to really write well in Spanish but just need to exchange with customers and colleagues,
- the C1 level (“Effective Operational Proficiency”) when you need to write well and produce professional deliverables in Spanish,
- the C2 level (“Mastery”) if you are in areas related to translation.
An erasmus exchange, or even a Language degree for a foreign country, may not be a sufficient nor standard proof for many local companies or multinational companies. Better combine these erasmus experience or language degree you have with the DELE as a confirmation. In the end, the two best options to prove your language skills on your resume are either the relevant DELE, or former work experience in Spain.
This said, studying in a good university in Spain is a great way to prove to all recruiters you are top-level candidate, since you came here and comply with the criteria other local candidates had to comply with. Going to one of the best universities, for a master’s degree, MBA or just exchange, can be the winning combination with your superior expat language skills and differentiation from your original studies and country ! There are many options in Madrid, the most famous being the IE, a world top 20 MBA. Several GuiriGuide authors and their relatives completed the IE MBA in fact ! Other good options are erasmus exchange in top private universities, such as ICADE or CUNEF, or good public universities, knowing you will have to get some good grades to be able to enter in the most demanding companies ! You can also study remotely via the UNED or UOC, and complete a specialized degree in Spanish and which will be very valuable too.
In the end, the key is to make it easy and transparent for a recruiter to understand your resume, to make it “Spanish”, and then demonstrate you have additional and differentiating skills which will enable you to land the job when competing against local candidates. Show your resume to Spanish people working in the company you’re targeting, ask them how could you make your resume easy to understand for a Spanish recruiter, and ask them directly how could you differentiate.
“Should you study in Spain before applying for jobs here?” To sum it all up, it is the best way to make your resume “Spanish”, and will help you go through the first HR filter, since it reassures many employers. I would especially recommend to take the DELE in any case, and starting from your home country a degree via the UOC or the UNED is a great idea. Your final decision will depend greatly on the time you have and the kind of job you are looking for.
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