October 21, 2020 BestCompaniesUSA

How To List Languages on a Resume: 8 Tips To Showcase Your Linguistic Skills

This article from Terkel, a platform that connects brands with expert voices. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get your insights published.

If you are fortunate enough to have a strong fluency in another language, including this fact on your resume will likely give you an advantage over other candidates when applying for jobs. Showcasing this skill will be a huge asset when job searching! While 50% of the world’s population speaks more than one language, it is still extremely valuable to recruiters and it is sought after by most employers.

There are a number of ways you can feature your linguistic abilities on a resume to catch the eye of recruiters. Read on to learn the best eight ways to showcase these skills!

List It as a Skill

Knowing how to speak a second language is a huge accomplishment that you should be proud to tell employers. As a professional, having this skill makes you that much more valuable to a company and it should be listed on your resume exactly as that – a skill. Being bilingual is an amazing gift that allows companies to assist and serve a huge group of customers that otherwise may not have adequate resources to interact with your company.

Max Hansen, Y Scouts

Identify Your Language Level

Speaking multiple languages is definitely something to brag about and proudly list on a resume. To do this, make sure you list your level of proficiency. Are you fluent in another language or do you just understand the basics? Making this distinction is important for employers to know what kind of language skills you possess and how it could be used in your role.

Kayla Centeno, Markitors

Demonstrate How You Used It in a Past Position

If a job requires multi-language skills, then demonstrate how the language skill was utilized in a previous or current position. If it is not a requirement, you should still list the language in your summary of skills. Definitely make sure it is mentioned in your cover letter as well!

Sonja Talley, Principal HR Consultant

Start With the Language You’re Most Proficient At

I think languages are always a value-add to an employer. If you speak multiple languages, I would recommend making a language section on your resume. If you don’t have space, add it under skills or education. Always start with the language you’re most proficient at and make sure you indicate your level of fluency (i.e. are you fluent, proficient, intermediate, or a beginner). If you are a beginner, it’s probably not relevant to your resume.

Sydney Stern Miller, Tech Talent South

Include It in the Summary

Multilingualism is a great skill! If candidates have this, they can mention this skill in multiple places on their resume. It can be included in a summary or statement at the top. For example, “A bilingual sales professional seeking an engaging new opportunity with a large organization.” Multilingualism can also be included under a skills section on a resume. It should certainly be included under the description of any roles that utilized the language (such as, “Trilingual Sales Consultant for English, Spanish and French clients”).

Jessica Schocker, Recruitment Consultant

Transfer It Appropriately to the Cover Letter and Interview

If the job listing states it requires multiple languages, then make sure it is included in the cover letter and prominently featured on the resume. If it’s not a requirement for the job, but ultimately something the job seeker is proud of, the job seeker should think of the appropriate time to mention it in the interview. Perhaps in the “Tell Us About Yourself” portion. Speaking multiple languages is a big deal, and whether it’s essential for the job or not, it’s something to be proud of and may set the person apart from other candidates.

Eric Mochnacz, Red Clover

Keep the Specific Role in Mind

How central it is to the job you are applying for should determine its placement on your resume. Also, don’t forget a resume is a marketing tool. You are marketing your professional brand. So a resume should be written to target a specific role. If multilingual fluency is key to the job, lead with it. If it’s not, put this skill towards the end.

Steven Brown, DP Electric Inc

Don’t Call Them “Foreign” Languages

If you speak many languages, consider a heading on your resume that says Language Fluency, and then list the languages in which you are fluent. Don’t call them “foreign” languages, because they are not foreign to the people who speak them!

Colleen McManus, Senior Consultant