How to List Foreign Language Skills on Your Resume

Being able to speak more than one language opens up many opportunities for you when looking for a new job. However, it only becomes a major advantage if you make the right decisions when listing your foreign language skills on your resume. How can you do this effectively?

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Create a Language Skills Section

Employers love to see job applicants who can speak more than one language, as they are more versatile and useful to them in a range of situations. This is why you don’t want these vital skills to be lost among the rest of your abilities. The fact that you have learnt a new language also shows that you are capable of picking up new skills and are keen to learn.

Even if they are short of time, college students can combine learning a language with their other studies, getting a student discount for 1-1 lessons to make it cheaper. This boosts their resume and their chances of getting the type of career they want after graduating. It can also be used to prepare for academic tests if the student has chosen a language as one of their subjects.

Creating a language skills section on your resume then gives this area the importance that it deserves. This is especially true if you are applying for a role where speaking a foreign language is relevant, but even if that doesn’t seem to be the case it still makes sense to make your skills stand out.

This extra section usually comes after the education and skills sections on a resume, meaning that it is pretty high up on the page but doesn’t go ahead of any of the core information that employers look for. If the person looking at it is interested in these skills, then they won’t miss them.

Of course, speaking a foreign language gives you additional benefits that many employers will be aware of. For instance, research has revealed that learning a language makes us more analytical and also changes the way we make decisions. So, a potential employer might pay attention to this section of your resume even if the role doesn’t require those skills.

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List the Proficiency and Experience You Have

Simply stating that you can speak an additional language isn’t giving enough information for the employer to decide whether you are the right candidate for them. You also need to explain how proficient you are and what kind of experience you have using it.

There is a big difference between having studied a language a few years ago at school and having lived in a country where it is spoken on a daily basis. If you have worked using your second language this is an even more important point to highlight, as they will expect you to have picked up some business phrases and be comfortable speaking in formal situations.

You should avoid listing the number of years that you have spoken the language, since this doesn’t tell the reader much information. It is possible to speak a second language very little but over a long period of time and still be at the beginner level, while someone who is fully immersed in the culture could reach conversational level quite quickly.

If you have more than one language to list, start with the one you are most proficient in. Use terms such as native, fluent, conversational, intermediate, and beginner to make it clear what they can expect from you in each one. You should also note any regional variations, as this might be of interest to the person doing the recruiting.

By following these simple tips, you will ensure that your language skills stand out on your resume and get the attention that they deserve.

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