How to Highlight Language Abilities in Your Resume

Do you speak more than one language? If so, you should include those skills on your resume — they could help you stand out in your career and distinguish yourself as a star candidate among many others. Read on to find out how to list language skills on your resume effectively.

How Does Bilingualism Help Professionally?

A second language can give you many advantages at work. You’re more likely to be hired for different jobs because you have a skill that sets you apart. That’s especially true for positions that require you to speak with diverse audiences. You’ll also be a more productive and efficient worker. A bilingual person can absorb and process information better than someone who only knows one language.

You may have further insight into specific cultures due to your bilingualism. If you plan to work for a foreign business, your skills will help you connect with customers in a more meaningful way. That ability makes you unique amongst other candidates. The same idea applies if you want to move to another country to find a job. It’s a major bonus for companies to find workers who can communicate effectively.

Why You Should Add Language Abilities to Your Resume

You shouldn’t hide any skills that may help your case. A second or third language will help you stand apart from other candidates. In many cases, you don’t even need to be fluent to show your abilities. If you can only read, write or speak another language, you can still include that fact. Indicating that you have those different talents will be beneficial for your job search no matter how much you know.

However, you shouldn’t write that you know a few words in Spanish. That’s something many people can say. But if you’re proficient, you should mention your expertise. As a result, you can get a leg up against the competition for various professional roles, especially high-level ones like government professions.

How to List Language Skills on Your Resume

There are a few ways to include your language skills on your resume. You should have a section that talks specifically about your skills. From top to bottom, you can organize your curriculum vitae (CV) so it lays out your education history, work history and various abilities. The last area should include everything from soft skills like teamwork to hard skills like data management. Your languages should exist there, too.

List every language you know thoroughly. If you live in an English-speaking country, you don’t have to add English because it’s likely everyone’s first language. After you list each language, you should state your fluency. Can you read, write and speak German, or can you only read it? Make those distinctions so your potential employers can understand your abilities.

You can indicate your proficiency levels through the Interagency Language Roundtable’s Language Proficiency Scale. This test will help you determine which skill level you have for a particular language. Be sure to designate how you’ve rated yourself so recruiters will understand it. In any case, you can use this example to guide you:

  • Japanese:Proficient (ILR Level 4)
  • French:Fluent (ILR Level 5)
  • Italian:Intermediate (ILR Level 2)

You don’t have to take on the ILR rating at the end, but that’s how you could format it if you do. Feel free to create a subsection in the “Skills” section of your resume that specifically references your language talents. That said, you can always group them with your other skills if you only know one or two languages.

These Tips Will Help You Shine as a Bilingual Person

If you know more than one language, you should highlight that fact on your resume. This way, you’ll stand out in the job hunt. Use these tips to learn how to list language skills on your resume.