Can you speak some foreign languages?

Good resume should reflect what you are good at. If languages belong to your strengths, how to describe it on a resume could interest you. There are various official classifications of language skills, used in different parts of the world. We will present these in this article to help you decide how to present it.

Before we come to the classifications, it is crucial to realize that you should always include your language skills in the resume. Even if the job has nothing to do with foreign languages, the knowledge of it gives you some edge over the competitors, or at least shows the employer that you are an educated and internationally focused person.


Different ways how to present your skills in languages area

Probably the best way of describing your skills in using foreign languages is to use the CEF classification for it. CEF consists of six levels of language skills. A1, A2, … – C2. While A1 is a beginner (someone who’s just starting to learn the language or remember something from the old times) and C2 is a proficiency level (someone who can write, listen to, talk about practically anything). C2 is close to native speaker. You can read more about CEF classification here.
Using the classification, you can evaluate all of the skills associated with using foreign language, like writing, listening, reading, etc. Have a look at an example taken from resume of one of our clients:


Self-assessment Understanding Speaking Writing
European level Listening Reading Spoken interaction Spoken production
English C1 Proficient user C2 Proficient user C1 Proficient user C1 Proficient user C1 Proficient user
German B1 Independent user B2 Independent user B1 Independent user B1 Independent user B1 Independent user
Polish A2 Basic user A2 Basic user A2 Basic user A1 Basic user A1 Basic use



Four level language skills classification

The more simple way of presenting resume language skills is to use classical four level classification. The four levels are beginner, intermediate, advance and fluent. However, the disadvantage of such a classification is that the individual levels are not described anywhere, and therefor by advance level of German, various people can imagine various knowledge. Honestly, this way of classification is preferred mostly by people that do not speak foreign language very well, but feel like advanced will look good on their resume.


If you are not sure, describe your language skills with a sentence


Third way of classifying your ability to speak a foreign language in the resume is a descriptive method. Thought it might sound silly, it’s the best way to ensure the employer gets the realistic perspective how good do you speak/write. How does such a descriptive method looks like?
Example: Language skills – English. I can write and speak English fluently, without interruptions. Am also very good in reading a listening. I have no problems with various dialect. My understanding of spoken English is particularly good.

So that’s it. Your knowledge of certain language can be presented in various manners on your resume. Just always ensure to use the method the employer will understand and the one that will present your skills in a realistic manner. It makes no sense to write that you’re fluent in Spanish, travel for interview and get rejected just because you in fact do not speak Spanish as well as it may seem for someone from your resume. Think about it.

You might be interested in some other, similar topics, like resume skills or resume format, or other articles on the website.