Bilingual? Defining Language Proficiency on a Resume

Language skills are always in demand. Speaking multiple languages can make you more competitive in today’s employment market. Knowing how to define your language proficiency is crucial so you can include it on your resume. Here are the levels of being bilingual or multilingual and how to put them on your resume.

Beginner Skills

Beginners in a language can speak or read a few words and phrases but don’t always understand native speakers. Beginners may have learned the language in high school or college courses and never intended to become immersed. You shouldn’t include your skills on your resume if they’re basic.


You can engage in a simple conversation with a native speaker if you have conversational language skills. You can say a few things about yourself and ask questions. People who have conversational skills don’t generally have reading and writing skills in the language. A few jobs can benefit from conversational language skills, so include them but be transparent about your level of knowledge.


When you’re proficient in another language, you understand conversations and can read and write extensively. You aren’t at the same level as someone fluent or a native speaker. If you fall into this category, use examples to showcase your skills on your resume rather than stating you’re proficient.


Fluent speakers have near-native communication skills in a second language. You can speak clearly, you don’t often pause to think of the words or phrases, and you can fully comprehend writing. You can include fluent language skills on your resume if you regularly carry on a whole conversation with a native speaker.

Native Speaker

There are some cases where being a native speaker of another language can also benefit your career. If you’re fluent in English as a second language, you can emphasize your skills in both languages. This can be a huge advantage for some customer service positions where you will frequently interact in your native language but need to translate or communicate with your management team.

Do you want to use your bilingual skills in your next job? Contact CornerStone Staffing to learn more.

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