How to Include Language Skills on Your Resume

resume language skilll

Language and communication skills are extremely valuable on your resume. In fact, language
skills may be transferable across virtually any career field such as medical interpreting.

Today, we’ll examine how to leverage communication skills – including the understanding of additional languages – on your resume.

Check here For more information on how to include language skills on your resume.

Written and Verbal Communication

If you’re reading this article, your resume is likely written in English. Since your employer will
assume your fluency in English, you don’t have to list this in your Languages section.
However, you should highlight your communication skills. Include them in your Skills list. Show
how you have used communication skills – and the good results you’ve achieved – within your
bulleted job descriptions. You might even be able to list communication-related accolades under Awards and Honors, or you might have written publications.

You can prove the mettle of your communication skills by the phraseology you use on your
resume. Eastern New Mexico University recommends the following phrases:

      • “Excellent written and verbal communication skills.”
      • “Confident, articulate, and professional speaking abilities and experience.”
      • “Empathic listener and persuasive speaker.”
      •  “Writing, creative or factual.”
      •  “Speaking in public, to groups, or via electronic media.”
      •  “Excellent presentation and negotiation skills.”

Bilingual and Multilingual Skills

Knowing a second language or multiple languages can open doors in the business world. Why?
In the global economy, many types of businesses carry on trade with companies in other
countries. Rather than hiring an outside translator or interpreter, it is always beneficial to have
one on your team.

Even businesses that operate only on a local level can benefit from multilingual employees. If a
percentage of customers speak a language other than English, it can boost business to have an
employee who is culturally sensitive and who can communicate with them efficiently. Hospitals government agencies, and other service providers may hire interpreters to facilitate

You can also link your language skills to multicultural and diversity skills. In fact, this understanding of the culture associated with the language is one of the major draws. Again citing ENMU, you might use phrases such as:

    • “Culturally sensitive and internationally traveled leader.”
    • “Proven adaptability to differing cultural and business environments.”
    • “Ability to talk and conduct business in [X number of] languages.”

When should you include foreign language skills on your resume? Consider the following

    • Little experience. If your resume looks thin, adding a language section can take up
      some of that empty space. It also shows that you are a good learner.
    • Public-facing jobs. From retail clerks to dedicated hospital interpreters, having
      language skills can help you communicate with more customers in a meaningful way.
    • Competitive jobs. If competition for a position is fierce, your language skills may be
      enough to help you outweigh other applicants.
    •  If required. Obviously, if language skills are required in the job listing, you should be
      able to display them on your resume.
    • Remote jobs in other countries. Sometimes, companies abroad look for native-born
      speakers to communicate with a certain demographic in a familiar voice. You may need
      to know the primary language where the company is based. Or, they may simply be
      interested in your American voice as a native English speaker!

You may also consider a brief, one or two-word description of your proficiency or level of
understanding in the language. In this way, you won’t be caught off guard. For example, if your
abilities are elementary or if you can speak the language but not read it (or vice versa), you
would not want to come across as totally proficient. But even an elementary understanding of
several languages can be highly valuable, depending on the job.
The following are standard ways of describing language proficiency:

    • Native/Bilingual – your first and preferred language.
    • Fluent/Full Professional – not your first language, but you can read, write, and speak it
      with no difficulty or hesitation
    •  Proficient/Professional Working – you can read, write, and speak the language.
    •  Intermediate/Limited Working – you speak the language with some difficulty. You can
      hold a conversation but speak slowly. You may need to look up a number of words when
    •  Beginner/Elementary – you know words and phrases but you may not be able to hold a
      conversation. Your grammar may be incorrect.

How should language skills appear on your resume? You can list each language you speak in
the “Languages” section, followed by your proficiency in that language. You can also mention how you have used this skill in your job descriptions. If you majored in language studies in college, this will appear in your Education section.

Programming Languages

Typically when we talk about languages, we’re talking about spoken languages, not
programming languages like JavaScript or Python. However, if you work in the technology
sector and programming languages are essential to what you do, you might consider using the
Languages section to list them.

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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