Your language skills are a valuable asset in your job search.

Speaking more than one language can set you apart from other applicants and make you a great candidate.

Whether you're bilingual, multilingual, or are just applying in a country that's not your native tongue, there are ways to put language on resume to shine and get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.

Let's get started with this beginner's guide on how to write languages on resume!

Table of Content

What are The Language Skills on Resume?


If you speak more than one language, you can consider listing those languages in your resume.

Language skills are the additional languages you are proficient in besides your native language.

You may want to include these languages on your resume if they are relevant to the job you're applying for. For example, if you're applying for a job as an interpreter and already know more than one language, it would be helpful to list them on your resume.

Similarly, if your native language is Spanish, and you're applying for a job in America, it would be helpful if you list your English proficiency in the resume.

Also Read: How to write the key skills section of a resume in 2022?

Should You Put Languages on Resume?


Listing language skills on resume is a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

You should list your language proficiency in your resume if you fall into the following criteria:

  • If language proficiency is relevant for the job you are applying
  • The position has an international component, such as working with international clients or traveling abroad for business.
  • If you're applying to a position requiring interacting with customers or clients (such as retail)
  • If you're an inexperienced job seeker, then it's also a good idea to list your language skills.

A hiring manager may be impressed by your ability to learn new things quickly and adapt to new situations easily.

If the job doesn't require social interaction, then it's not necessary to list your language skills on your resume.

Also Read: How to add communication skills to resume in 2022?

How To Put Languages on Resume?


If you're applying for a job that requires fluency in a foreign language, it can be difficult to know how best to show off your skills.

The language skills are challenging to showcase to the employer since there is no way to assess your language skill.

However, there are universally accepted ways to showcase language proficiency in a resume.

Scale of Resume Language Skills


Here is a basic scale to describe your resume language skill:

  • Elementary: Elementary proficiency shows that you can understand the language but can't converse effectively.

  • Intermediate: This level of proficiency shows that you can make basic conversation in the language but have limited knowledge of grammar & vocabulary.

  • Conversational: This level of proficiency shows that you can converse effectively with other people with little to no grammatical error; however, you struggle to keep up with a conversation with native speakers

  • Professional: It shows that you have a high level of proficiency in that language but may not have the vast vocabulary as a native speaker. You also have the skill to read and write in the language comfortably.

  • Native: Native proficiency shows that the language is your mother tongue. And you have the full ability in the language in reading, speaking, and writing.

Additional Ways to Showcase Your Language on resume


In addition to the language proficiency scale mentioned above, some standardized tests can be used to assess a foreign language level. These include:

1. ILR (International Language Testing System)


It is a test that measures all four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). It ranges from 0-5, with 0 being no ability and 5 being native-like fluency. It has been used by many companies and organizations in their recruitment processes to assess language proficiency.

2. CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)


It is a framework developed by UNESCO that describes six language proficiency levels. It's commonly used in Europe but not as widely used outside Europe. CEFR can describe both spoken and written communication skills in any language, including English as an additional language (EAL). It ranges from A1 (Beginner) to C2 (Master).

3. ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)


This proficiency framework describes six levels of proficiency based on how well you can use your target language in real-life situations. The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines were explicitly developed with teachers, so they may not be suitable for all learners or job seekers. It ranges from ACTFL Novice Low to ACTFL Advanced High Plus.

Example of Proficiency Chart


Proficiency Level ILR CEFR ACTFL
No proficiency 0 Novice Low, Novice Mid
Elementary 0+, 1, 1+ A1, A2 Intermediate Mid, Novice High, Intermediate Low
Conversational 2, 2+ B1, B2 Intermediate High, Advanced Low
Professional 3, 3+ C1 Advanced High
Fluent 4, 4+ C2 Superior
Native 5 Distinguished

Also Read: How to add active listening skills on resume in 2022?

Where to Include Languages on Resume?


Placing the language skills in your resume is as important as any other aspect of writing the resume.

There are four places to add your language skills to your resume.

1. Add Language in Skill Section


The most common way to write about your language skills is to list them at the bottom of your key skills section.

This is the most straightforward way of including this information as it doesn't take up extra space.

The downside of this method is that recruiters may miss this information if you have many different skills listed together.

Here's an example:

Language in Skill Section

2. Add Language in Separate Section


Another option is writing about your language skills in a separate Language section.

This allows you to format the information in a more organized way and makes it easier for employers to scan through relevant language information rather than looking through each bullet point individually.

The downside is that it takes up extra space, and also, if you have only one foreign language proficiency, the language section may look empty if you add one or two languages to it.

Here's an example:

Language in Separate Language Section

3. Add Language in Education Section


If you studied a foreign language in school, it's OK to include this information in the education section of your resume. Just make sure that it doesn't take up too much space, or it could look like a filler.

Here's an example:

language in Education Section

4. Add Language in Resume Summary Section


If you have to use a language in your day-to-day work, you should mention that in the summary section of your resume.

This immediately gives the hiring manager an idea about your language proficiency.

Key Takeaways


Here are some tips on how to put languages on resume:

  • First, assess your language proficiency based on the instruction given in the blog
  • You can use any language framework such as ILR, CEFR, or ACTFL to assess your proficiency
  • Include your language skill in either of these sections: Skills section, Language Section, Summary section, Education section

If you plan to create a professional resume and add your language to it, use the Hiration's AI-powered Resume Builder to craft one.

Also, write to us at support@hiration.com if you have any questions.