How To Include a Language On a Resume (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 November 2022 | Published 2 August 2021

Updated 11 November 2022

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As the world becomes increasingly globalised, proficiency in multiple languages is a skill more valued than ever. In this article, we discuss the benefits of including multiple languages on a resume, how you can effectively do so and the proficiency scales you should use.

Why include multiple languages on a resume?

Being multilingual can be useful in the workplace, especially if you are hoping to be employed by a multinational company (MNC) with international clients.

Even if multilingualism isn't an explicit requirement for the job you're applying for, including it in your resume helps you stand out from other candidates.

Read more: 10 Best Skills To Include on a Resume

Why are language skills important?

Those who speak multiple languages are able to communicate with a wider range of people. Besides that, being fluent in many different languages is no easy feat and reflects one's desire to learn as well as a considerable amount of discipline and tenacity. All of these are soft skills that are very valuable in the workplace.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills (With Definition and Examples)

What languages would benefit you the most professionally?

Here are some useful languages you can consider learning:

  • Mandarin: China represents a massive and fast-growing economy, which many international organisations would love to tap into. The ability to communicate fluently in Mandarin would therefore make you attractive to companies hoping to expand into this market.

  • English: English is still the most widely spoken language in the world, so fluency in this language is essential for professional growth.

  • Spanish: Spanish is the 4th most widely spoken language in the world, and the official national language of 19 countries. As such, proficiency in Spanish can open more doors for professional development.

Differences between language proficiency levels

When listing extra languages on your resume, it's important to also include your proficiency level in each. Here are some standard levels of proficiency:

  • Beginner: If you've just started learning a language and aren't able to construct full sentences yet, you are considered a beginner.

  • Intermediate: Having intermediate proficiency in a language typically means that you have a limited vocabulary, understand basic grammatical structures and can converse at a slow pace.

  • Proficient: Being proficient in a language means you can read, write and converse with minimal difficulty, and can construct full sentences without grammatical errors.

  • Fluent: If you are fluent in a language, you speak it almost as well as a native speaker and without much of a discernible accent.

  • Native: Your native language is your first language and the one you grew up speaking.

Related: How To Develop Skill Sets in 9 Steps

How to include multiple languages on your resume

You can include extra languages you speak in a separate section for special skills, or weave them into the 'education' segment with your other educational qualifications.

List all the languages you speak in descending order of proficiency.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your Resume

Examples

Here are some examples of ways you can include special language skills in your resume:

1. In the personal statement

I am a creative marketing associate with a degree in Marketing from the National University of Singapore. I am fluent in English and Mandarin, with intermediate proficiency in French.

Related: How To Write a Compelling Personal Statement (With Tips and Examples)

2. In the special skills section

Skills

  • HTML

  • Java

  • Advanced Mathematics

  • Arabic - Fluent

Related: Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. As a separate section of its own

Language skills

  • English - Native

  • Mandarin - Proficient

  • French - Intermediate

4. Together with other certifications you may have

Certifications

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

  • CEFRL-certified B2 proficiency in French

Read more: How to Include Language Skills on Your Resume in 8 Steps


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