How to mention your language skills on a resume?

In addition to the various cognitive and social benefits of being multilingual. Speaking or understanding more than just one language also increases your career opportunities and improves your chances of being hired. However, mentioning your language skills on a resume is sometimes confusing. How to mention your language skills on a resume? How to describe the language’s proficiency level on a cv? What is the limit to the number of languages a candidate can mention? Are some languages useless to mention? …etc.

It is reported also that employees who speak more than one language earn from 5% to 20% than their monolingual peers. Being multilingual is an underrated asset. That is why one should know how to write their language skills on a cv.

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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 (in the case of a multi-cultural and multi-nationality team) 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.

How to describe the level of proficiency levels of languages on your cv:

There are so many ways and terms to describe how well you master a language. That is why, on your resume, you must choose one vocabulary and stick to it.

Options of terms you can use to describe your language skills:

Option1:

The CEFR Levels (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is often used to describe in detail one’s proficiency level. There are 6 levels:

  • A1: Beginner
  • A2: Elementary
  • B1: Intermediate
  • B2: Upper-Intermediate
  • C1: Advanced
  • C2: Proficient.

Option2:

You can also describe your level in a certain language visually using already set resume templates. It is usually showcased through 5 numbers of dots or stars. The more there are, the better you master the language.

But even tho it is an aesthetically pleasing way to mention your language skills on a resume, professionals advise avoiding it and using actual words. It is described as a dumb trend and unprofessional.

Option3:

Here are extra terms you can use to demonstrate your language proficiency.

  • Native: It’s your mother tongue.
  • Fluent: You are very comfortable speaking the language. Almost as much as a native would.
  • Proficient: You have no difficulty with the language both in oral and written forms.
  • Basic: You can make and understand simple and basic phrases in the language. But not enough to carry a conversation.

How to list or include your language skills on a cv:

If you speak two or fewer languages, there is no use in adding a whole languages section. That would only crowd your resume. You can simply list the extra language among the other skills in the skills section with a word or two describing your mastery level.

Otherwise, add a languages section and start with the language you speak best at the top and end the list with the one you are least proficient in.

You can top this by mentioning special certificates and language diplomas. They will serve as proof and give you more credibility.

How to mention your language skills on your resume: A rewind.

  • Be smart about why you are adding what language to what purpose.
  • Use the right terms to describe your proficiency level.
  • Be brief and do not crowd your resume with extra sections.
  • Do not exaggerate or lie about how many languages you speak.
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