I am currently preparing documents for applying for a job within my own country of residence.

The job ad says that knowledge of a foreign language, Russian in this case, would be a plus. The problem is that I do not speak and am not able to understand Russian. Now, I was being told that some people who were hired in the past for the same position were also not able to speak it and even though that was clearly the minority, I was encouraged to apply. My girlfriend is fluent in the language and I strongly believe that I could pick it up over time, however.

My question is: Should I, in the cover letter, specifically mention that my significant other is fluent in Russian and that I would be willing to learn it? Or is it frowned upon to address this issue since personal matters like these usually do not find themselves in cover letters?

  • 5
    Instead of mentioning that you can learn you have a bit of time before the interview happens (if ever), why not spend that time to learn the language and then show what you've learned in X amount of time. Mar 14 '20 at 11:45
  • 6
    +1 for mentioning a language which is not a programming language. This is very rare on this site.
    – guest
    Mar 14 '20 at 12:42
  • 3
    If you get to an in-person interview, it would be worth mentioning that "My partner is Russian, so that would make it relatively easy for me to learn some conversational Russian." Don't mention that in the job application though, as Kilisi says in his answer below, it sounds overly eager.
    – sam
    Mar 15 '20 at 0:45

The job ad says that knowledge of a foreign language, Russian in this case, would be a plus.

You don't know Russian and you didn't mention your girlfriend being a language teacher, so if a bilingual speaker saw that they may have a bit of a laugh but it wouldn't do anything except make you look at best overeager to land the position.

Not necessarily negative, but a bit naive perhaps.

  • 1
    That makes a lot of sense, it would probably really make me appear a bit simple-minded. Thank you and thanks to all the commenters for your helpful thoughts!
    – Kuma
    Mar 15 '20 at 10:48

Not very ethical, but you could lie that you have a very basic understanding of Russian, then learn a few phrases, maybe even the cyrillian alphabet, from your girlfriend.

If you get to the interview phase, and they seem hesitant beacause your Russian language skills are lacking, you could mention that your girlfriend is speaking Russian. Because of that you are in the process of learning Russian anyway, therefore you will quickly improve.

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