Listing languages on your resume

It is a good practice to include language skills on your resume, even if the position does not specifically request this. Speaking or writing in a foreign language can be an added value for an employer, and it can indicate intercultural competence. 

Even if you speak or understand only a little bit of English, German or Chinese, this is worth mentioning. It can also be a good idea to mention your native language(s), especially if you are applying internationally or if your country of origin cannot be inferred from your name.

How do I list languages on a resume?

Some people choose to list languages within their skills section. If you have 3 or more languages to write about, you should consider creating a separate section for them.

Additionally, simply listing each language is not enough. It’s highly recommended to indicate your level of speaking, reading, or writing for each language. If you have taken a formal examination that gave you a Common European Framework for Reference of Languages (CFER) score, you could include that. Alternatively, here’s an example of how you can do this:

English – Native
Spanish – Speaking (conversational), writing (proficient), reading (highly proficient)
Chinese – Speaking (fluent), writing (proficient), reading (proficient)
German – Speaking (basic), reading (basic)

Be honest

Obviously, it is really easy for an employer to verify your language skills. You absolutely do not want to falsely represent yourself in this area because you will come across as unreliable and immediately lose any chance at the position. If you are not sure what level your language skills are at, you can always take a language test or ask someone else to assess your level.


Vicky Blom

As a professional recruiter, I have over 10 years of experience helping candidates find work with businesses that match their skills, personalities and goals. Here on Resume Supply, I share some of the key things I have learned over my career to help job seekers with resumes, applications and interviews.