Why and How to Write About Your Language Skills on Your CV for an International Job Application

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Why and How to Write About Your Language Skills on Your CV for an International Job Application

Posted on 14 April 2022

Why and How to Write About Your Language Skills on Your CV for an International Job Application

Many of us learned English as a second language if not a third or fourth. Learning a new language and having basic communication skills is a challenge, improving it to a professional working proficiency is another challenge but it is worth it when you see how it can change your career for the better. If you are wondering why language skills are important for career development and how to write about your language skills on your CV to land an international job application, read on.

Is It Actually Worth Investing in Your Language Skills?

Probably you are questioning the benefits of learning a new language for your career rather than improving other technical skills. Why should I invest all that time in learning a language just for my career? Do language skills even worth having if I am good at what I do? Will having an additional language help me outshine the competition when it comes to the hiring decision? The answer is yes, language skill indeed comes with its rewards. We are an international recruitment start-up based in Barcelona with a team of 10 different nationalities speaking 15 languages at either a native or near-native level. We are recruiting hundreds of multilingual talents with language skills for their new international career journeys abroad. Frankly, alongside our professional skills, the reason we build a team together is our language skills and as recruiters, the first thing we check on a CV, of course depending on the position, is the language skills. Here are some career benefits of improving your language skills.

A new language opens doors in new places and helps your job search go global.

The world we are living in is a globalised one now. Even in a global pandemic time the professional migration slows down but never entirely stops. Companies are going international more than ever and they build their multinational teams with multilingual skills. Knowing more than one language will give you a chance to look at a larger scope of international career opportunities that extends beyond your home country. Especially with the rise in remote-working options, companies now are more likely to consider multilingual talents with professional skills regardless of the places they are based in. 

Knowing another language than your mother tongue also gives you a higher chance to understand and empathise with another culture. This will open the doors for you to join new markets within your industry. With your language skills, you can expand your knowledge of a new market by following the trends of the local industry and giving you a chance to join a team in a brand new business market for you. 

Speaking several languages increases your network and salary potential. 

A new language comes with a new world of possibilities. Emerging technologies, especially language translation tools bring us closer than before but nothing can replace a genuine and easy-going conversation with another. Speaking the same language with people, you will build deeper relationships and it applies to your international career network just the same. English is seen as a professional language but also reaching out to a German-speaking hiring manager in German would make a significant difference in the first impression. 

There are many recruitment agencies just like us that are specialised in the international recruitment of multilingual professionals. Even without the market knowledge, you can now deduce the conclusion of the high demand for talents with language skills. As said earlier, companies are building their teams specialised in different language markets with multilingual professionals and they either prioritise candidates with multilingual backgrounds or offer relatively higher salaries, signing bonuses or other benefits depending on the industry and the market.

Being multilingual helps you to improve your soft skills and chances of employability.

Many soft skills are in high demand for companies that are concerned about their company culture and communications. Recruiters and head hunters work with filters to find the best candidates for their positions but when it comes to selecting the right candidates they focus on soft skills. The non-technical skills are hidden between the lines in every section of your CV but your language skills themselves are enough to put many check marks on their demanded skill-set lists.

We already mentioned determination and consequently motivation and drive as positive personality traits of multilingual speakers. Besides, recruiters will also assume that someone who can speak more than one language at a good proficiency level would have other soft skills such as good communication, empathy, adaptability, willingness to learn and multi-tasking abilities. Believe us, these are some of the most important skills we look for in our candidates, especially for our customer service, technical support and sales positions.

Are you still questioning your next step into a new language or why you should improve your second language? We believe we have listed some solid reasons to encourage you on your language learning journey. So our answer to the question of “Does It Actually Worth Invest in Your Language Skills?” is a big YES! You will have countless options once you master a new language, understand new cultures and markets in a better way, meet new people and extend your network most importantly, life will be much easier especially if you are living abroad. Teaching or helping to master a language is not something we could help you with but if you are looking for a job where you can use your special power, in this case, your language skills, let us know. We might have the job you are looking for!

How to write about your language level on your CV to land your dream international job opportunity?

We often receive ‘facepalmable’ applications. If we had a euro every time we’ve received a non-German speaker CV for a native level position we would be Fortune 500 company now. As a recruitment company specialising in language jobs, we can not highlight enough the importance of understanding the language skills of an open position and demonstrating the necessary skills in your job application. This is why it's crucial to know how to mention languages on a resume before anything else.

Language skills are always impressive to employers, and they can give you a competitive edge over other candidates. A professional resume should include your language skills in the skills section. However, if your language skills are particularly strong, you can include them in a separate section on your professional resume. This will help to highlight your language skills and make them more noticeable to employers.​

Every language you can speak above B1 level should be on your CV

If you are applying for a job that requires language skills, it is crucial to include information about your abilities on your CV. You can do this by including a section on your CV that lists your skills in different languages. In this section, you should include your proficiency level in each language. If you are applying for a job in Europe, you should use a scale such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to rate your proficiency. According to CEFR, there are 6 levels of language proficiency starting from A1-A2 (beginners Levels), B1-B2 (intermediate levels) till C1-C2 (advanced levels). Make sure it’s clear which languages you can speak on a proficient or intermediate level when you describe your language skills.

Your native level language should be clearly stated on your CV

If you are a native speaker of a language, you should include your level of proficiency on your CV as a mother tongue. Never take it for granted that recruiters or ATS (Application Tracking Systems) will assume that for instance, Dutch would be your native language just because of your name, address or high school education. It should be stated by you which languages you speak on a native level and which you have learned later in proficient levels. However, if you are applying for a job that requires fluency in a certain language, it is always a good idea to mention this on your CV. The reason you should include your language skills is that it shows that you are a well-rounded candidate with a global perspective. Last but not least, on the question of which language is the best for your resume, as we always suggest, unless it's suggested otherwise no matter what your native-language skills are send your CV in English!

Never lie about your language skills on your CV

You should not lie about any skills on your CV, however, when it comes to language jobs lying about a language skill will be a massive waste of time for everyone including yourself. You should expect if not your recruiter someone else during your recruitment process to assess your language skills, especially the native-level language you claim that you speak and most often your English language skills if needed. Having a friend next to you helping you during a phone call can increase your chances of getting a second interview but never the job itself. Many language jobs include a written test and a video interview in later stages and most importantly actual performance when you finally get the job.

For the credibility of your skills, include language certificates if you have any

If you have any certification in your language skills, such as a degree or diploma, you should also mention this in this section. If you have any language-related work experience, you can include this in your CV as well. This could be a work experience, volunteering, or internships successfully done in the required language. If you are writing a cover letter for your job application, you can also use the chance to mention your accomplishments in the language field. Mentioning these certifications will erase any doubts that may be raised during the application process and CV screening.

Now it’s time to review and create a great resume for your next international job application by including your language skills next to your technical skills, professional experience and your soft skills. As a company hiring multilingual talents for language jobs, we are happy to help you land your dream job. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any help with your international job search!

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