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How To Define Language Proficiency On Resume

How To Include Language Skills On Your Resume

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This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach.

Possessing proficiency in multiple languages can open a range of professional opportunities. When applying for jobs, listing your language skills on your resume can help make your resume more noticeable to an employer. The position you apply for may require knowledge of a certain language or it may be a nice benefit for the employer you possess these skills. In this article, we explain what resume language skills are and how to effectively highlight your language skills on your resume.

Why Does Your Language Proficiency Matter

You might be wondering why you should even bother paying to take a time-consuming exam just to learn that youre at a medium superior level of Spanish. Why cant you just say Im pretty decent at Spanish and call it a day? There are a couple of reasons this wouldnt really be sufficient.

First, employers and schools often require a quantifiable measure of your language abilities. Being sort of fluent is fairly worthless on a résumé or application. Having a universal way to talk about your language proficiency can help you stand out in a crowded field of job candidates or school applicants.

Second, if you havent been learning a language for a while, a test can help you figure out where to jump back into learning. If you took Spanish throughout high school, for example, you might not need to start from scratch. A language proficiency exam will let you resume learning without having to go through hello and how are you again.

Third, taking an exam is actually a great motivator for you to ratchet up your language learning. If you have to set aside time to study for a language proficiency test, you wont be able to put off practicing your language skills any longer. It offers a great opportunity for you to get motivated and take your new language to the next level.

How To Include A Language On A Resume

As business becomes globalised, possessing proficiency in multiple languages is a useful skill that can assist you in any industry. Employers are looking for candidates who can communicate across a variety of languages or cultures. Consider including your language expertise on your resume. In this article, we discuss why you may have languages on a resume, why language skills are important, what languages look good on a resume, proficiency scales and certifications and how to include these skills on your resume with five examples.

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Include Your Skills On Your Resume

Depending on the requirements for the role, there are typically two main locations where you might include a skills section: in the skills section or under additional credentials. If there are no language requirements included in the job listing, then it’s best to include your language skills within your skills section. If it is required or preferred for the job, it’s best to include it as a separate section, either under “additional credentials” or “other information”.

You may want to list your levels of proficiency in each area or you may want to define your proficiency in terms that indicate how useful it will be for the organization. For example, if you can speak, read, write and understand others, you may want to list yourself as fluent. If you can understand and converse with others but cannot read and write it well, you may want to refer to yourself as conversant.

Language Skills Section Example

Download Proficient Resume Examples for Free

Another good way to showcase your language skills is to set them off in a dedicated Language Skills section or table. This should be placed either directly after your summary of qualifications or at the end of the resume following the description of your education and training.

Foreign Language Competencies

  • English: Native
  • German: Professional Working Proficiency
  • Dutch: Professional Working Proficiency

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Don’t Include Languages You Aren’t Comfortable With Using In A Business Setting

If you dont speak the language comfortably in a business setting, then you should leave it off. As an example, you may speak casual German due to attending Oktoberfest a number of times, but being limited to knowing how to order sausage and beer wont help you when it comes to explaining sales figures to a German client.

Once youve determined whether or not to include your language skills, youll need to decide how to list them on your resume. Read on for some ideas.

Differences Between Language Proficiency Levels

When you’re listing your language skills on your resume, it’s important to include what level of proficiency you’re at to make sure you’re accurately representing your skills. Analyse your abilities in speaking, reading, listening comprehension to determine your level of proficiency. Here are descriptions of each proficiency level to help determine your skill level:

  • Beginner: The beginner level means you have just started to learn the language. You know some basic words and phrases, but may not construct grammatically accurate sentences, or carry on a conversation.

  • Intermediate: Claiming an intermediate level means that you can hold a basic conversation at a slower pace. You have a limited vocabulary, but understand the grammatical rules and have adequate reading abilities.

  • Proficient: If you’re proficient in a language, you can speak, read and write the language with minimal difficulty. You can hold a conversation with a native speaker, but may need some colloquialisms explained.

  • Fluent: A fluent language speaker can write, speak and read in a language with ease. They have full knowledge of the language, including colloquialisms.

  • Native: You are a native speaker of any languages that you grew up speaking.

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Key Takeaways: Language Skills On Resumes

When deciding to include language skills on your resume, the most important thing to consider is relevance.

Language skills can have a major influence on the recruiter calling you for an interview, but the same cannot be said when language skills arent relevant to your position.

Another aspect to keep in mind is your level of language skill. Recruiters will want to know to what degree youre skilled in languages you mention.

Any thoughts or remarks on resume language skills? What are the most distinguishable ways youre talking about language skills on your resume? Let us know in the comments below!

Understanding Your Levels Of Fluency And How To Include Them On A Resume

Using English language proficiency levels to plan instruction

There are thousands of languages throughout the world spoken by people of varying backgrounds. If you’ve learned another language or multiple languages throughout your lifetime, you may wonder how to assess your language skills and accurately list them on a resume.

In this article, we will define levels of fluency, how to include them on a resume and tips for listing language skills.

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Language Fluency Levels For Job Applications

When putting your foreign language experience on your resume or on your application, it is important to not overstate your skill. A key point is that it is better to be more conservative rather than less conservative. Some users even feel that you should only put your language skills on your resume if you are business proficient or higher.

Decide Which Section To Include Your Language Skills

The appropriate section to list your language skills depends on the number of languages you speak, your proficiency levels, and the role you want to get. If you’re fluent or have professional proficiency in more than one language, it helps to include this in your professional summary to make it more clear. If the role you’re applying for doesn’t list an extra language as a requirement, or you have intermediate to low proficiency levels, then you can include them more casually under the skill section. You can also list language skills under your education or certification section if applicable.

If proficiency in another language is crucial for the role, or you speak several languages with varying proficiency levels, you can add a separate section for your languages. This section can come after the core elements of your resume, including your education, work experience, and skills. You can have varying proficiency levels in a language for reading, speaking, and writing. In such instances, you can list the proficiency levels separately under the language section. This is important, as hiring managers can test your proficiency level through any metric, and including only one level can affect their expectations.

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Benefits Of Proficiency In Multiple Languages

Heres why you should consider learningor improving your understanding ofa language:

It expands your career options. Even if you are not fully bilingual or if the language is not a requirement, a working proficiency or higher in a language can provide an advantage over an otherwise comparable applicant.

You may have more opportunities for career growth. By knowing multiple languages, you make yourself available for projects, events or accounts that may not otherwise have been available.Communicating with clients may be smoother. When dealing with clients who are not fluent in your native language, having professional fluencyor betterin their preferred language substantially improves your ability to work with them.

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Why Employers Want To See Language Skills On Your Resume

Language Proficiency Section Resume

Employers and recruiters most often want to see language skills on a resume when the position being applied for specifically calls for fluency in another language. For example, companies that are located in an area where multiple languages are spoken or that work on a global scale will often look for employees with fluency in a certain language in addition to their native language.

Possessing the ability to speak another language provides you with an important skill and often sets you apart from candidates who cannot speak another language. Its important to note that knowing only a few words or phrases in another language is typically not enough to include the language on your resume as a skill.

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Enlist The Help Of A Template

Using a template as a guide can help you format your skills section and determine how to indicate your proficiency in skills. Templates often present the format employers prefer and are easy to follow. You may also draw inspiration by researching several templates and including different aspects you like from each.

Language Proficiency Levels Resume

Lets look at how to list language proficiency levels on your resume. They are typically listed at the bottom of your resume, under a category such as Skills or Additional Information. You should list your proficiency level in the shorthand terms shown above as phrased as. You can also include a slightly more detailed explanation of the level. For example, you might indicate your fluency level as Full Professional French Level 4 Can easily converse in French regarding either business or personal subjects, including technical discussions of corporate finance.

Below is an example of what it looks like to properly include language proficiency levels on your resume.

Investment Banking ResumeInvestment banking resume template. Learn how to write an investment banking resume with CFI’s free guide and resume template. The IB resume is unique. Its important to tailor your resume to the industry standard to avoid being immediately deleted

Investment Banking ResumeInvestment banking resume template. Learn how to write an investment banking resume with CFI’s free guide and resume template. The IB resume is unique. Its important to tailor your resume to the industry standard to avoid being immediately deleted.

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Should You Include Spoken Languages On Resume

You can list your language abilities under your skills, education, or as a separate section of your job, depending on the position and the number of languages you speak. Adding languages or languages that are not relevant for the position can save you a lot of space on your resume if you speak one additional language or one language that is not relevant.

Telling About Your General Language Proficiency

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You can describe your language skills as Basi, Conversational, Fluent, or Proficient.

Basic you can communicate on simple topics or know some phrases in this language.

Conversational you can communicate on everyday topics with minor grammar or vocabulary mistakes but you cant write in this language.

Fluent you have the ability to express any idea without hesitation, with good vocabulary and grammar people understand you easily. Both your spoken and written skills are good.

Proficient different from fluent in the way that you now understand the structure of the language and you can explain how this language works to other people. You also can use idiomatic language and understand local accents.

Now its your turn! Please answer these questions in the comments: How is your English? What is your level of English? What can you do in English?

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When To Add Language Skills To Your Cv:

In order to know how to mention your language skills on a resume, you must first learn when and why. The language skills section is in some cases mandatory to add to a resume. And in others, it serves only as an accessory section to complete the template of a cv and to which the recruiter does not pay any attention.

But it is always useful. Let us list the reasons and uses of the language skills section in a cv:

  • It is mentioned on the job description: having languages skills added to your resume, in this case, becomes as important as mentioning your technical skills and job experience.
  • The company operates in an international market: being multilingual will have a big added value to your profile.
  • Your potential workplace is culturally diverse: Speaking the native language of your potential co-workers is a great plus. It shows that you will fit in easier.
  • To show that you are a fast learner: It is proven that speaking more than one language increases your learning capacities and improves your memory. In addition to more cognitive benefits. You can use this information to showcase how fast and eager a learner you are.

Including Language In A Dedicated Skills Section

One of the easiest and most standout methods is to include the language in a skills bank with your other hard skills, as shown below.

If youre at the beginning stage of building your resume, see our article and how to use a skills section on your resume, or click here to look at resume templates for a variety of industries.

If the job listing includes proficiency in the language as a requirement, then putting the language at the top of your skills bank is a solid way to show your qualification.

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How To Describe Language Proficiency Levels On Resume

So, what are the different levels of language proficiency and how do you list a language level on a resume? To avoid misinterpretation of your language fluency levels shown on your resume, follow a standardized proficiency scale.

The language proficiency frameworks standardize the level scoring of every individual to minimize confusion with ambiguous terms like fluent or proficient. The levels may be assigned separately for different language skills such as listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Here are the three commonly applied language proficiency frameworks in CV or resume:

If You’re Applying To Multi

Cv Language Skill Levels

If the business or corporation that youre applying to is multinational – meaning they have business operations in more than one country – then you may wish to include your language proficiency.

The first factor to consider is whether the company operates in a country that speaks the language you are fluent in. As an example, if you speak or read Japanese and the company has a headquarters in Japan, then you should include your proficiency in it on your resume. If the company is not involved in a country that primarily speaks the language youre considering listing, leave it off.

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What Are Resume Language Skills

Language skills are the additional languages you are proficient in besides the language your resume is written in. If you are applying for a job in the U.S., your resume will most likely be in English, which will show your comprehension of American English. The language skills on your resume could include any other languages in which you have intermediate, advanced, proficient or native comprehension abilities.

How To List Proficiency Level

Listing a foreign language without proficiency level is too vague. If the language skill is important, provide a descriptor to define how well you can speak, read or write in the language. Use the U.S. Department of State’s language proficiency definitions to determine whether your proficiency is elementary, limited working, minimum professional, full professional or native/bilingual. The Common European Framework of Reference and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages also offer well established frameworks for referencing language proficiency.

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How To List Language Skills On Your Resume

One of the most valuable skills that job candidates can offer potential employers is strong fluency in a foreign language. If you have strong foreign language skills, including this fact on your resume will likely give you an advantage over most of your competition whenever the ability to speak another language is a prerequisite for the job.

Place Skills Under Skill Level Categories

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You can highlight your skill level by listing your skills in experience-based categories. This allows employers to identify the areas in which you excel and are still learning. For example, you may list your skills like this:

  • *Expert: office management software, coding, direct email marketing, leadership*

  • *Advanced: analytics tools, time management, ROI measurement, critical thinking, communication*

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