Writing a resume may seem quite a simple task and many people think that they can manage the task on their own. Especially when it concerns particular sections, like language skills.
However, it may greatly harm you if you don’t know how to write the section professionally. Language proficiency is an important piece of information in any resume because more and more companies enter global markets and knowing foreign languages becomes almost a must.
Before telling about your language skills, it is important to consider what to include and what not. In this article, we will give you the most complete and relevant information on how to work on the Language section of your resume to impress the hiring manager and to render your skills in the most accurate way.
Why and Where Put Languages On Resume?
It is impossible to pay proper attention to the Language section without understanding what makes it so important. Here are the main reasons why it is crucial to make hiring managers aware of your proficiency:
- To show your skills;
- To distinguish yourself from other candidates;
- To show how your skills interlink with the company;
- It was indicated in the vacancy;
- To show that you are aware of a particular culture;
- To show that you can expand opportunities and business of the company.
You should remember that resumes must be personalized and adjusted to every vacancy type. This means that if the vacancy doesn’t require any language skills, it is better to concentrate on other related skills to show that you can add value to the company.
Also, some of the companies require language skills in certain fields. For example, you must have fluent writing, while speaking is not necessary. Be attentive, when reading requirements in the vacancy and always write your resume anew instead of sending out the same version to a variety of companies. Hiring managers see such resumes at once and will never invite you for an interview.
The best way to show your knowledge and skills is to put them in the ‘skills’ paragraph. However, if you master several languages, it is better to create a separate ‘language’ section and to highlight your proficiency there.
This section is extremely important, when you write your first resume with no work experience.
Keep in mind that placing the ‘Skills’ or ‘Language’ section is also very important and here are the issues you need to keep in mind:
- If your language proficiency is related to the applying position or if it will benefit your employer, it is better to put these sections on the top of the resume;
- Put these sections lower (after Education and Work Experience) if language skills are more of a bonus;
- If languages skills are not relevant to the chosen position, it is better to mention it in the Experience or Education sections.
How to List Languages on a Resume
There is no single pattern of writing about your language skills. Everything depends on the type of your resume, the results you are willing to achieve and the position you want to get. However, there are a few common ways to show your level of proficiency and to give the hiring manager a chance to evaluate your skills.
Don’t forget that it is important to provide evidence of your knowledge and skills. These can be courses, international certificates or related work experience. The more examples you provide, the better. However, there is no need to go into details if language skills are not relevant to the job offer.
Here is the most common division for various levels of English proficiency:
- A1 for Beginner;
- A2 for Elementary;
- A2/B1 for Pre-intermediate;
- B1 for Intermediate;
- B2 for Upper-intermediate;
- C1 for Advanced;
- C2 for Proficient or Fluent;
If your level is Beginner, Elementary or Pre-intermediate we recommend not including them to your resume (unless it is required by the vacancy).
Besides, you can use the LinkedIn language scale, which becomes more and more popular these days:
- Elementary proficiency;
- Limited working proficiency;
- Professional working;
- Full professional;
- Bilingual or native.
It is up to you to decide which one to use, but you need to remember: if the company puts language proficiency as one of the main criteria, it is better to choose a more traditional scale not to confuse the hiring manager.
Main Mistakes to Avoid in Language Section
Wise men say that it is better to learn about someone else’s mistakes and we couldn’t agree more! Here are the most common mistakes to avoid, when writing the Language skills section.
Giving false information
There is absolutely no point in lying about your language proficiency because it will become obvious during a real interview when you won’t be able to answer questions. If the job vacancy requires you to master a certain language on a particular level and you don’t fit this requirement, you simply won’t be able to perform your job properly. Won’t it be a complete waste of time? Honesty is the best approach.
Being a monoglot
If you speak only one language, there is no point in listing it in your resume. Recruiters will understand that you are proficient in the language your CV is written in. It is pointless to state that you are proficient in English if you are living in an English speaking country and if your resume is completed in English. This will only take space on the resume and influence its length.
Updating your LinkedIn account
If you are writing about your language skills in the resume, it is important to update this information on LinkedIn. Nowadays recruiters check not only resumes but also LinkedIn pages of potential employees.
In addition, it is a great place to ask for recommendations or references from your colleagues or former employers.