HomeBlogResume WritingLevels of Language Proficiency on a Resume (+Examples)

Levels of Language Proficiency on a Resume (+Examples)


Mastering a international language is without doubt one of the greatest issues that may occur to you in life. That’s, till you need to listing these language abilities in your resume. As a result of what could appear to be a simple difficulty at first can shortly develop into fairly difficult. 

In actual fact, it’s sufficient to make one’s head spin. In my case, it regarded a bit like this:

“What are the degrees of language proficiency? Wow! Why are there so many language proficiency scales? And what the heck is ACTFL, ILR and CEFR? Okay, clearly I can’t describe my language abilities in phrases. I’m going to make use of a star ranking as an alternative! What do you imply that ATS can’t learn it? I quit.”

Anyway, in the event you’re searching for a easy reply, you will discover it within the subsequent a part of this text. Finally, you don’t have to grasp each nerdy element about language proficiency scales to supply a rock solid resume.

However in the event you’re keen to dig deeper, put together for a very exhaustive reply that may clarify all of the abbreviations talked about above! 🤓

This information contains:

  • Attainable ranges of language proficiency;
  • listing language abilities on resume;
  • put bilingual on resume; 
  • LinkedIn language ranges;
  • Examples of language abilities on resume.

How to list language skills on resume

listing language abilities on a resume

  1. Create a separate subsection in your language abilities beneath your resume’s skills section.
  2. Organize them by relevancy. Begin with the language that’s most related for the job you need. Don’t embody any languages through which you’re not proficient, or any languages that you just’re solely starting to be taught. 
  3. Comply with a single language proficiency scale. Checklist all languages utilizing one of many language proficiency scales described beneath (CEFR, ILR, or ACTFL). Decide the one {that a} potential employer is most accustomed to and keep on with it.
  4. Use phrases, not charts. Use phrases to explain your ranges of language proficiency, not charts or icons. It will assist your resume get rating extra factors with ATSs (applicant monitoring methods that enormous corporations use to scan candidates).
  5. Embody certifications. Should you took an examination and obtained a language certificates, embody it within the certifications part of your resume. It provides a stronger backing 

By following these easy steps you make sure that the language abilities in your resume don’t go unnoticed (they’ve bought their very own subsection), your strongest talent will get the eye it deserves (it sits on the high), and also you don’t confuse the employer by arising with your personal unfamiliar names for the degrees of language proficiency. 

What are the degrees of language proficiency?

Welcome to essentially the most complicated a part of this text! Why complicated, you ask? As a result of there are a number of language proficiency scales (in fact there are). What’s extra, every of them makes use of completely different letters and numbers to explain the identical factor.

Luckily, you solely must learn about three of them: IRL, ACTFL, and CEFR. 

Additionally, if all of this sounds intimidating, don’t fear an excessive amount of. Keep in mind, your primary precedence is to create a resume that clearly communicates your means to make use of a number of languages professionally. So long as you achieve that, all the pieces’s going to be all proper, all proper, all proper.

Okay, then. Let’s check out these completely different ranges of language fluency.

Levels of language proficiency on a resume

1. ILR (Interagency Language Roundtable)

The Interagency Language Roundtable scale is the usual grading scale for language proficiency developed by the US’ federal-level service. 

Due to that, it’s mostly used within the USA, or extra particularly, when making use of for US authorities jobs. 

And that’s in all probability all the pieces that must be stated about this scale. The remaining you must be capable to perceive from the useful comparability desk above.

The ILR scale grades individuals’s language abilities on a scale of 0–5 (5 being Native). Along with that, it makes use of 0+, 1+, 2+, and 4+ to handle these conditions when an individual’s language proficiency exceeds one talent stage however doesn’t meet the factors for the subsequent stage but. 

The ILR scale corresponds to the language ranges used on LinkedIn.

2. ACTFL (American Council on the Instructing of Overseas Languages)

The ACTFL scale was developed from the ILR scale nevertheless it’s extra granular with 11 grades of language proficiency as an alternative of 6. In accordance with the ACTFL website, it’s “meant for use for world evaluation in tutorial and office settings.”

In comparison with the ILR, it may be so much simpler to grasp even for individuals who couldn’t care much less about language proficiency grades. Which of the next is less complicated to decipher? “French: 4+ (ILR)” or “French: Superior Excessive (ACTFL)”.

3. CEFR (Frequent European Framework of Reference for Languages)

In Europe, we use the CEFR. This language proficiency scale shouldn’t be derived from both of the American scales talked about above, which is why it may be tougher to transform grades from one into the opposite (that’s formally). 

This scale is universally understood in Europe and nearly each European employer will know precisely what you imply by, for instance, B2 Spanish. 

4. LinkedIn language abilities ranges

LinkedIn makes use of the ILR language proficiency scale however as an alternative of utilizing numbers, they got here up with their very own wording for the person ranks. Due to that, it’s possible you’ll need to decide your IRL language talent stage earlier than including it to LinkedIn. 

Which language proficiency scale do you have to use in your resume?

All the time use the one which your future employer is most accustomed to. However how are you aware which one is it? 

As often, begin with the job commercial and search for the phrases they use to explain the required stage of language proficiency. Use the identical phrases to explain your language abilities in your resume (supplied your abilities are on that stage).

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appropriately assess your stage of language fluency? 

Should you don’t know your actual language abilities ranges, don’t guess. Both you’ll overestimate your skills (which might result in many uncomfortable conditions sooner or later) otherwise you’ll underestimate your self (which can sabotage your effort to indicate your self in the absolute best gentle in your resume). 

What are your choices then? 

  1. Acquire an official language certificates. This usually takes lots of work and preparation however it may be price it. It provides you a technique to again your claims about your language abilities ranges and may make a stronger impression on the employer. However, typically it’s merely an overkill. What’s extra, it might probably get fairly costly, particularly in the event you communicate a number of languages and need to get hold of an official certificates for every.
  2. Self-assess your language talent stage. Typically, self-assessment ought to suffice, so long as you don’t strive overestimate your skills and comply with official pointers to grade your self. 

The official IRL website provides self evaluation PDFs for speaking, reading, and listening.

The Council of Europe website offers official CEFR self evaluation charts in most European languages. 

The ACTFL web site allows you to obtain the entire textual content of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. It’s from 2012 however these items solely get up to date ever 10 years. Should you’re searching for a much less exhaustive model, this downloadable poster ought to provide you with all the data you want.

Language skills resume example

put bilingual on a resume?

What does it imply to be bilingual? By essentially the most primary definition, a bilingual individual is somebody who speaks two languages. 

However to be able to be thought-about bilingual, you’re often anticipated to communicate each languages rather well along with having error-free grammar and excellent pronunciation. Most individuals are capable of obtain such stage of language proficiency solely by being born into linguistically combined households or receiving formal schooling overseas. 

Don’t be afraid to explain your language abilities as close to native.

However there are additionally individuals who have been learning a second language for many years. Their command of language usually surpasses that of many born audio system. What about them?

If that’s your case, don’t be afraid to explain your language talent as “close to native“. You received’t be mendacity and it’ll aid you get by means of numerous applicant monitoring methods.

However don’t simply point out it within the language abilities subsection of your resume. The aggressive benefit of being bilingual is so large that you could be need to point out it proper at the start of your resume — in your resume summary (or resume goal) part. 


Christy’s phrase of recommendation

The commonest internationally-understood format is to listing the language and total proficiency stage. For instance: German (native), English (fluent). Generally, I like to recommend writing the extent in phrases quite than a particular scale (e.g. B1 is thought in Europe, however not within the US). Concerning graphs or icons, ATS can wrestle to interpret these, and a few graphs could be perceived negatively, so generally it’s higher to make use of a typical format.

Christy Morgan, Resident HR Skilled

Examples of language abilities on resume

As they are saying, one instance is commonly price a thousand explanations! Due to that, let me provide you with a few examples you should utilize as an inspiration for the language abilities part by yourself resume. 

ILR language abilities resume instance 1

  • American English — Degree 4+ (ILR)
  • Chilean Spanish — Degree 3+ (ILR)
  • Russian — Degree 3 (ILR)
  • Ukrainian — Degree 5 (ILR)

ILR language abilities resume instance 2 / LinkedIn language abilities

  • English — Full Skilled Proficiency (ILR 4+)
  • French — Native (ILR 5)

ACTFL language abilities resume instance

  • American English — Distinguished (ACTFL) 
  • Spanish — Full Skilled Proficiency (ACTFL)
  • Japanese — Superior Excessive (ACTFL)

CEFR language abilities resume instance

  • English — C2
  • German — B2
  • Czech — Native

(Opposite to the earlier ones, within the final instance we didn’t specify the language framework in parentheses. CEFR is so prevalent in Europe that you just not often have to do this.)


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