Sorry, but we need to fill you in on something. Writing “Spanish: Fluent in reading, writing and speaking” on your resume doesn’t work much with recruiters anymore. (Same goes for Italian or French, of course.) To get hired in today’s world, you need to be specific. So when it comes to your CV, there are things you need to explain. Read on to learn how to properly showcase your language skills on a CV.
How to Showcase Your Language Skills on a CV
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Take Note: Enhancing Terms VS Insignificant Terms
Tip Number One: You’re better off forgetting the evergreen formulas: “fluent”, “average” or “reading, writing, speaking”. While they’re often used, they’re vague, and they no longer mean anything to job recruiters. Compared to your competition, who’ve also used the “Spanish: Fluent in reading, writing and speaking” formula, your foreign language skills are nothing special.
One of the fundamental principles of a CV is summarization. We can agree on this point. However, this principle doesn’t work that well with foreign languages. To characterize your foreign language skills on a CV, the goal is to describe your competencies to a T. Even more so when your language skills have a direct link with the target job. Instead of “Spanish: Spoken”, go for a pinpoint description such as “Spanish: Mastery over everyday and technical conversations”. Another good one to use is “ability to lead meetings”, “mastery of subject vocabulary”, “communications by email”, etc.
A little tip: Don’t forget to include how often you use this foreign language along with your skills description. Include phrases like, “daily usage“, “weekly usage“, “weekend usage“, “monthly usage“.
First Things First: What is your actual level?
To highlight your language skills on a CV, you first need to quantify them.
Awesome, you can follow along with Pan’s Labyrinth when the subtitles are in English. But what if a native Spanish speaker asks you a question on the street? Suddenly, your comprehension level diminishes. So what should you say on your CV?
Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to that. But in the end, your best bet is honesty. Try to describe your particular competencies, while neither underestimating nor overselling yourself. To quantify your level, you need to evaluate yourself compared to the competition, or to your friends and family for example.
Maybe you should make the investment to earn a foreign language certificate. For non-native English speakers, you can do this for English by taking the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communications), a standardized certification for English. The great thing about the TOEIC, or any other foreign language certificate, is having it on your resume validates your professional skills with the language, proving you’ve surpassed the useful, necessary material. And if you need a hand getting ready for the exam, MosaLingua is here to help with our MosaLingua Learn TOEIC Vocabulary application, which allows you to memorize the vocabulary required to pass the exam in record time! Of course, there are certificates equivalent to the TOEIC for other languages, such as Italian.
Another little tip: Don’t forget to indicate your score along with the date you achieved this result on your CV.
Illustrate your remarks, prove your level
When describing your language skills on a CV, it’s best to use technical wording. Under the “Professional Experiences” category, it’s important to detail how this level was useful for your past experiences.
Beyond your language level, the recruiter will actually look for something that describes in which context/s this language level is useful to them. Have you already had the opportunity of working on a project folder in a foreign language? Have you already worked in a multicultural team? If this is the case, don’t hesitate to include it on your CV. We can’t repeat it enough: Do not be afraid of those words.
Travels: Are they worth anything?
A trip is an asset, that much is certain. But how do you highlight it on your CV? It’s always difficult bringing up trips on a CV. Even if, above all, you focus on the personal development aspects or the mastering of a foreign language abroad, the job recruiter may be plagued with thoughts of you partying it up on a beach on the other side of the world. How then should you present your experience abroad from a professional — and solely professional — point of view?
After your tip or experience overseas, you should write down all the qualities you think you’ve developed over the past few months. Through each of these personal qualities, you can certainly exemplify an advantage to your professional outline. Examples: The ability to adapt to a new culture can translate into the ability to adapt to a new business culture or a new team and a knack for open-mindedness and challenges. The recruiter can easily transpose these qualities into their professional environment.
Any experience can be good to highlight on your CV — whether it was a key job in a multinational environment or a long-term trip on a totally foreign continent. In all, don’t be afraid to teeter the odds towards your side. Describe every linguistic quality that you have in your corner.
Do you need Spanish for work? Then our application for Spanish in the business world is just for you!
Learn about the MosaLingua Business Spanish app, available for your iPhone, iPad, iTouch and Android smartphone/tablet. This app contains numerous categories with useful phrases and vocabulary for working in Spanish (writing your CV, preparing for an interview, leading a meeting, conversing over the phone), and it’s very useful for those who need to quickly memorize specialized Spanish vocabulary for their field of work.
We hope you found this article on how to showcase your language skills on a CV useful! If you did, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!
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