Best Ways to Include Language Skills on Your Resume

We used to say, “I can’t work right now. I need inspiration”. But everybody of us knows that nothing happens if we just sit at the table and wait. Getting a success takes time, effort and resources. Writing resume correctly it’s one of the ways to get success in your career. You have to write your resume with a sense of purpose. Recent studies show recruiters spend 6.2 seconds reviewing a resume. Therefore, you must count every second and indicate only relevant information. A resume may include several sections according to the resume format you choose. However, to make it competitive and powerful skills based resume there should be no argument that language skills should be included. 

It seems easy to write your resume’s languages section, but it can make or break your entire application. Language skills levels is a valuable information to have on your resume, as more and more US companies enter the global marketplace and search for candidates who have language proficiency levels. Before listing language knowledge on a resume, you should think twice what to include and what not. 

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If you are still frustrated with how to list foreign languages on resume in a powerful and truthful way, keep reading the article where we’ll give you suggestions that keep your skills section of resume relevant and valid. Follow the tips below.

1. Start from WHY

It’s important to make potential employers aware of your linguistic proficiency for several reasons:

  • to show your knowledge
  • make you stand out from the crowd
  • show how your language skills relate to the company business
  • it was pointed out in a job announcement
  • you have a level of cultural awareness
  • ability to expand the reach and business opportunities of the company

Relevancy is very important when writing your resume. In situations where it’s not related, you might better consider additional skills to put on resume that will add value to you as a potential employee.

Relevancy is also counted when you point out the field of your language skills. Keep in mind, some companies demand fluency in writing but speaking skills are not necessary.

2. Continue with WHERE

It might surprise you but the best way to list skills on resume is to put it in the “Skills” section. In case, you are bilingual, though, it might be a good idea to highlight this and have a separate, independent section labeled “Languages”.

With this in mind, you need to understand where to put the section. Here you have three alternatives:

  • Include Skills or Languages section on the top of your resume, after the summary, if your language skills are related to the position you are applying or will benefit the employer.
  • Put this section lower on your resume, after your related Work Experience and Education sections, if the language is simply a bonus. 
  • In case the language is completely unrelated to the position, better mentioning it on Education or Experience section. 

3. HOW to list languages on resume

Once you’ve decided where to put your language skills, your next task is to determine how to describe them. Are you fluent speaker or proficient, are you at an intermediate level? What do those qualifiers even mean and how to indicate them?

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Some career experts recommend taking a language proficiency test to specify your current knowledge. We put it simply to you and outlined basic level guide below:

  • Beginner = A1 (Don’t include)
  • Elementary = A2 (Don’t include)
  • Pre-intermediate = A2/B1 (Don’t include)
  • Intermediate = B1
  • Upper-intermediate = B2
  • Advanced = C1
  • Proficient/ Fluent = C2  
  • Native

First three describe your basic proficiency level. It’s not recommended to include it in your resume, because it may not be relevant and even make an impression that you tried to hide your lack of experience with useless skills. 

Intermediate and upper-intermediate levels mean you have basic conversations in a variety of situations but still make your fair share of mistakes. 

Proficient vs fluent speaker is skilled enough in the use of a language but still uses the language less easily and at a less-advanced level than a native or fluent speaker.

Native speaker vs Fluent will have fluid speech and show mastery in the language in all areas include reading, writing, speaking languages skills. Simply it’s a native language speaker.

You may also use LinkedIn language scale:

  • Elementary proficiency (Don’t include)
  • Limited working proficiency
  • Professional working proficiency
  • Full professional proficiency
  • Native or bilingual proficiency

In addition, you may state where you studied them and for how long. 

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4. Working experience using language base

One more benefit of pointing out language skills is mentioning how you’ve 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.

5. Provide evidences

Many employers want inconclusive proof of your language abilities. Often, this takes the form of providing standardized exam grades, certificates and any other confirmation of language ability. Don’t hesitate to put it in a section “Awards and Certifications” at the end of your resume. Otherwise, you may be a creative and outstanding one and send a bilingual resume even if it’s not demanded but you see that it suits. 

One more thing. Remember, listing your skills is a good thing but the most important: be honest and do not list skills that you do not actually have. The worst thing you can do – lie on your resume.

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