How to specify the level of English in the resume

Knowledge of English or any other foreign language is a big plus to your resume, because it increases your value as a specialist. But just ticking a box in the column “knowledge of a foreign language” is not enough – you need to provide evidence of your knowledge. How to do it correctly, we will tell in this article.

In some industries, due to the lack of specialists with knowledge of English, the employer is ready to take a candidate with insufficient experience, if at the same time he has a good level of language. To prove this, you will need an official certificate of language proficiency.

What are the certificates of English proficiency

The most prestigious and multifunctional certificates of the level of English are IELTS, TOEFL, BEC, TOEIC, FCE, CAE and CPE. They are valid both in Russia and abroad. Some of them are suitable not only for proof of knowledge of English when applying for a job, but also for studying abroad.

However, the certificates from the list above have disadvantages – they are not cheap (so it is important to prepare diligently and thoroughly so as not to waste money and time), and some of them are valid only for a couple of years.

Specify the certificate of english level in the resume

You have received a certificate of proficiency in a foreign language. Now you need to specify this information in your resume in a form understandable to the employer. We advise you to write according to the scheme:

Test name – number of points – language level corresponding to these scores

The last point is important to prescribe, because the employer may not be aware of the diversity of language tests.

Following this advice, the line in the resume Language skills will look like this:

English: IELTS 6,5 (Upper-Intermediate) — English: IELTS 6,5 (Upper Intermediate)

English: CPE 204 (Proficiency) — English: CPE 204 (Proficiency)

Adding a different language experience

If you went to study on exchange in another country or had an internship in an international company where you communicated in a foreign language, include this information in your resume as follows:

  • 5 years experience working with English-speaking clients — worked with English-speaking clients for 5 years
  • 1-year studying on Erasmus program in Spain

The fact that you did not just go to language courses, but used the language in real conditions, will impress the employer.

When not to write about a foreign language in a resume

In two cases, it is not necessary to indicate the knowledge of the language in the resume.

Beginner level: there is no point in writing that you are new to English and know the basic words. This is not enough to communicate in English in a business environment, so this line will only scare off potential employers.

Exceptions – if you are fond of foreign languages and learn them for yourself, then include this item in the “Hobbies” or “Personal interests” section. This will show that you are inquisitive and absorb information well.

Top Management: In an international company at a higher level, an advanced level of English among the requirements is a matter of course. Therefore, if you claim the appropriate position, then indicate english with an additional line too much.

When you’re writing your resume, it’s important to reflect your strengths and not be shy about talking about accomplishments. Just do not be disingenuous and do not lie about the level of English: at one of the stages of selection or already during the first working weeks, the truth will be revealed, and nothing good will come of it.


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