Dont Inflate Your Proficiency Level On Your Resume
Along the same lines, dont inflate your proficiency level. For one thing, you can easily be caught if the hiring manager is themselves fluent in the language and you are attempting to claim that you are. Additionally, keep in mind that it takes time and considerable effort to learn a language for most people, so you shouldnt expect that you can become fluent rapidly if you are required to.
What Language Framework To Use
Thats why the second aspect you should consider is to define, what language framework you plan to use. The easiest way to prove your language level in Europe is to include the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages framework. In line with the guidelines, youll get a certification from A1 to C2 examining listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities. If you are not sure about your level, you can complete an online test, which will evaluate your knowledge and will give you your respective language proficiency level. For example, here you can assess your level of English. Dont forget, these frameworks are always territorial. If you apply to the US for example, you need to consider a different language framework, called ILR. By listing up your language skills in the following structure, you should be good to go!
The Company Calls For Candidates With Your Specific Language Skills
If the company for which you’re applying specifically calls for candidates with your specific language skills, you absolutely want to include those skills on your resume. In this case, not including those skills will almost certainly hurt your chances or getting the job. Share your level of proficiency and be prepared to be questioned about it during the interview process.
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Globally Understood Descriptions Of Language Proficiency
The following terms are commonly used in English job applications to describe language proficiency, starting with the highest level of proficiency. These terms are understood in all English-speaking countries across the world:
|Commonly used descriptions for language proficiency:|
|excellent command / highly proficient in spoken and written English|
|very good command|
|good command / good working knowledge|
|basic communication skills / working knowledge|
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.
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Describe Your Skills With An Accepted Proficiency Standard
What does basic Portugese skills actually mean? Something slightly different to everyone, thats what! It could describe a few weeks of Duolingo, a few terms of classroom practice, or the ability to have simple conversations with ease. One of the biggest problems in writing language skills on your resume is this unfortunate room for miscommunication. The best advice to ensure realistic expectations is to not just list languages you know somewhat, but to measure your language skills with an accepted standard of proficiency. Here are a few to choose from:
Try to write your language proficiency in the framework which your employer uses already, if you can find it. If you are applying to a university, you might find this information on their language departments website. Otherwise, it is fine to choose any relevant framework CEFR for a European company and ILR or ACTFL for an American one or even the one that your existing language qualifications were measured by. Just remember to use the same standard to describe your language skills throughout your CV.
Not sure how to translate your existing language skills between the CEFR and the ACTFL? Heres a handy comparison chart.
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!
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Working Experience Using Language Base
One more benefit of pointing out language skills is mentioning how youve used them, giving recruiters and employers a better idea of your abilities and professionalism. It could be everything starting from volunteering in a foreign-speaking camp to daily written bilingual translation. Even if the position were not related to the new job, mentioning language fluency levels would be a plus and considered a strong point.
The Common European Framework Of Reference For Languages
The Council of Europe has introduced the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to provide a comprehensive and transparent system for describing levels of language proficiency and for the easy comparison of language qualifications. The CEFR is now widely used as a standard by educational establishments, language testing systems and publishers of language-learning materials throughout Europe.
The system describes what a learner should be able to do in listening, speaking, reading and writing at six levels of language proficiency as follows:
A more detailed version of the CEFR is available from the Council of Europe website.
The CEFR enables you to give differentiated descriptions of your individual language skills. You can say, for example, that your level of proficiency in writing English is B2, whereas your spoken English is C1. The CEFR also helps you to give a very detailed description of your language skills if you are applying for a job for which languages are a key aspect of the job.
Remember, however, that companies outside Europe will not be familiar with the CEFR, so, for most English job applications, it’s still probably safest to use the “old” descriptions. A comparison of the commonly used descriptions for language proficiency and the CEFR is approximately as follows:
|Commonly used descriptions for language proficiency||CEFR description|
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Working Experience Using The Language
Employers interested in a language want to know what you can do with it. This is particularly true if the job requires using a certain language regularly in the workplace. Language learned in the classroom back in college and not practiced in a real context or for the past five years is probably not what the employer is looking for. To give the employer a better idea about your language knowledge, include what you have done using the language in previous jobs or related experiences. Include volunteer experience where the language was used, even if the position is not related to the new job but the language skills are.
Should I Put Languages On My Resume
The number one consideration on whether to include a resume language skills section is relevancy. Is the language a job requirement? Is the ability to speak the language of value to the company?
If the language is relevant to the position youre applying for it should definitely be included, and highlighted. If not, it should be included though it shouldnt be given too much prominence.
When writing a resume, space is precious, every part should help to sell yourself to the company. If you doubt whether something is relevant, the chances are it isnt.
English is the most important international language to speak. Most recruiters and employers expect their employees to be able to hold a conversation in English.
However, the fact that your resume is in English will highlight this. In the US, it can also be highly valuable to speak Spanish. If youre writing a student resume, extra languages look good, and will help you to fill the space.
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How To List Language Levels On Your Resume
If you know another language, you should always include it on your resume as it indicates to a recruiter that you’ve invested in yourself. It can also qualify you for a multitude of positions that require someone bilingual or multi-lingual.
The key to including language successfully on your resume is ensuring you are using the right terminology to indicate an accurate level of proficiency. In this article, we discuss what the language levels are, how you can find your own and how you should list language levels on your resume. We also include a template and example of what language levels should look like on a resume.
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Where To Put Language Skills On A Resume
A well-written resume should be tailored for each job application. The skills should match the job description, and each skill should be given prominence according to how important it is for the position. Resume language skills are no different.
With this in mind, you need to choose a place for putting languages on a resume. The most common choice is to feature them in your skills section. If you only speak one or two languages, and it isnt directly important to the job, this is the most logical choice.
Unless you are applying for a job in IT, you can also put your computer skills in the same section under a general core competencies heading.
Another option, if you have a language qualification, is to list it under your education section.
If youre applying for a job for which language skills are highly important, such as a translator or hospitality worker, you should choose a resume format which highlights them.
You should have a specific languages section which gives more detailed information on your ability. It could be a subsection of your skills, or a separate section, whichever fits better.
You can also mention it in your personal details section if you have one, and if its a must-have skill for the vacancy, you can plug it in your resume objective.
You should also include a separate languages section if you speak enough languages to warrant doing so.
Examples Of Language Skills On Resume
As they say, one example is often worth a thousand explanations! Because of that, let me give you a couple of examples you can use as an inspiration for the language skills section on your own resume.
ILR language skills resume example 1
- American English Level 4+
- Chilean Spanish Level 3+
- Russian Level 3
ILR language skills resume example 2 / LinkedIn language skills
- English Full Professional Proficiency
- French Native
ACTFL language skills resume example
- American English Distinguished
- Spanish Full Professional Proficiency
- Japanese Advanced High
Languages On Your Resume As A Career Tool
How valuable are language skills on your resume?
As our world connects more and more every day, communicating with one another is becoming a higher priority. If youre already ahead of the game with fluency in a second or third language and it’s relevant to the position, this is a competitive advantage and you should consider including languages on your resume in the most effective way possible.
Consider this: Since February 2020, when the global pandemic began, FlexJob listings for remote jobs requiring bilingual workers have jumped 30%, according to TechRepublic.
Being able to call attention to your language skills on your resume may just get you the opportunity youve been looking for.
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Avoid Using Fancy Graphics
It was noted earlier, but list your proficiency in text format rather than choosing to include a graphic. Graphics like the one below are unnecessary in that they dont add to the understanding of the recruiter, and they take up valuable resume space. Plus, they aren’t readable by an Applicant Tracking System.
In general, dont submit your resume without proofreading it or running it through a spell checker and grammar checker to ensure you havent made any linguistic errors. If you want to do so while getting some pointers on the overall impact of your resume, you can use our free-to-try AI-powered tool, Score My Resume.
Proficiency Assessments And Tools
The American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages has developed language proficiency guidelines, and you can learn more about them through this link.
The Virginia Commonwealth University, in association with Patricia Cummins and Lulú De Panbehchi, produced the Global Language Portfolio. This program includes free self assessment tools for foreign language ability.
- Global Language Portfolio: Reading
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Resume Language Skills Bringing It All Together
Here are the four key takeaway points that weve covered in this article:
Including language skills on a resume is a simple and effective way to make yourself stand out from the competition and to land a job offer.
Language skills are not unidimensional they are composed of four basic subcategories: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
To avoid misrepresenting your language skill levels, its essential to give yourself an honest self-assessment and supplement that with the results of multiple online language skill assessment exams.
There are several circumstances in which it can be extremely beneficial to include language skill levels on a resume. But before you insert this information in your next job application, make sure that you clearly understand the needs of the particular organization, department, and role youre applying to. This will allow you to know exactly what information you should include, which will, in turn, make it much more likely that youll catch a hiring managers eye.
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Do Not Lie On Your Resume About Your Language Ability
Dont include language skills in a resume if you dont have them! If the required language is important for the job youre applying for, the interview or at least part of it is likely to be in that language. It could be incredibly awkward and embarrassing!
Even if you were to get away with it at the interview stage, you would be expected to be able to speak the language when you start the job. Once they discover that you cant and that you lied on your resume, you could be sacked.
Secondly, if it is not an important element for the job, it wont help your resume to stand out so it wouldnt be of any help to you. Dont lie on your resume!
If you have limited experience it can be tempting to lie. Dont. Knowing how to write an entry-level resume will help you to highlight your strengths and get to the interview stage.
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Why Is It Important To Add Language Skills In Cv
As a job seeker, you want to inform potential employers about your level of language proficiency for several important reasons:
- Your language skills are needed in the job
- You want to make yourself a more desirable candidate
- You want to show that youre a quick learner
- Your knowledge can be an asset to the companys future growth
When you add language skill levels on CV, their relevancy must be evident to the recruiter. Your goal is to show that you can add value to the company as a future bilingual or multilingual employee. These are good skills to have on a resume because they show you hold the ability to communicate more effectively in contexts when other people would find obstacles – according to Charles Vallena, CEO for Cuppabean. In business terms, this means better contacts and relations and thus better opportunities in a globalized world.
How To Put Bilingual On A Resume
What does it mean to be bilingual? By the most basic definition, a bilingual person is someone who speaks two languages.
But in order to be considered bilingual, youre usually expected to speak both languages really well in addition to having error-free grammar and perfect pronunciation. Most people are able to achieve such level of language proficiency only by being born into linguistically mixed families or receiving formal education abroad.
Dont be afraid to describe your language skills as near native.
But there are also people who have been studying a second language for decades. Their command of language often surpasses that of many born speakers. What about them?
If thats your case, dont be afraid to describe your language skill as near native. You wont be lying and it will help you get through various applicant tracking systems.
But dont just mention it in the language skills subsection of your resume. The competitive advantage of being bilingual is so big that you may want to mention it right at the beginning of your resume in your resume summary section.
Christys word of advice
The most common internationally-understood format is to list the language and overall proficiency level. For example: German , English . In general, I recommend writing the level in words rather than a specific scale . Regarding graphs or icons, ATS can struggle to interpret these, and some graphs can be perceived negatively, so in general its better to use a common format.
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How To Describe Language Skills In Resume
This article breaks down how to list computer skills in a resume using real resume examples. Employers assume that by writing a resume in a particular language you are proficient in it.
Resume Templates Language Proficiency Levels Resume Templates Resume Skills Resume Skills Section Basic Language Skills