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When do you put languages on your CV?

 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
86 messages over 11 pages: 13 4 5 6 7 ... 2 ... 10 11 Next >>
geoffw
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 Message 9 of 86
10 April 2012 at 12:54am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
I've interviewed programmers in the US, which is probably very different from, say,
interviewing managers or sales people in Norway.

But in general, there's a handy rule of thumb: If you can explain how a language skill
(or anything else) would help your employer make more money, feel free to tell them. :-)
In some retail jobs, even a 200-word vocabulary and some basic grammar might be useful.
Just be clear about what you can and cannot do.

Of course, a prospective employer may hire an external consultant to interview in your
foreign language(s). I suspect that many people around here would smile and think, "Hey,
free practice!"


When I was interviewing looking for a job about 6 years back, talking to literally over a hundred different interviewers, after some thought and advice for several places, I had put "fluent in German" on my resume. Looking back, I would maybe say I was B1+ or so, though I had never heard of the CEFR at the time and I was woefully out of practice, but certainly could make "fluent" small talk and read non-technical writing. I would have been more circumspect with a European employer, but for the US, I thought my level should suffice for the most common business applications of the language in my field (which involve passive skills only).

I was somewhat concerned what would happen if someone insisted on conducting the ENTIRE interview in German, though, since I knew my vocabulary did not at the time cover my (new, at the time) technical area of specialty at all. Eventually, it happened: one of the interviewers asked if we could speak in German, at least for a bit. Naturally, I agreed, though not without some trepidation. Within a few sentences, the interviewer switched back to English--he clearly was not himself very comfortable in the language and had verified that I spoke much better than he could.

No, I didn't get that job, but I doubt my German skills had anything to do with it...
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Serpent
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 Message 10 of 86
10 April 2012 at 1:03am | IP Logged 
s0fist wrote:
On a side note, I'm not sure putting a CEFR level is wise, unless you are sure that your employers and the HR staff are familiar with the fact that C is good and A bad -- a notion that might be counterintuitive in many respects.
It's getting quite well-known in Europe at least.
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hrhenry
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 Message 11 of 86
10 April 2012 at 3:48am | IP Logged 
Back before I started translating full time, I worked for many years in IT as a systems administrator.

I hadn't put anything language-related on my resume, because I really didn't think it had anything to do with the job(s) I had been working at or was applying for. The last IT job I had, towards the end of the interview, the manager said "Tell me something about yourself that you think would surprise me." I told him that I was part-time translator. He was so intrigued by that. I honestly think that was the real reason I was hired, even though it had nothing to do with the job.

At one point after I was hired, I had to find a solution to a problem we were having with a compute cluster for one of our departments. I spent days searching online and was finding nothing to help. I finally found the website of an Italian administrator that had come up against a similar problem and was able to work out a solution from his postings. I got a decent bonus for "creatively" finding a solution because of it (this was before Google Translate or Altavista's Babelfish was available.) And after that, every time I was tasked with other problems, if I wasn't coming up with a solution as fast as they wanted, the question from above was always "What other languages did you search for?"

Granted, European bosses are probably less likely impressed than American bosses would be by multiple languages, but I would put it on your CV in any case. It could just be the thing that tips your interview to your favor.

R.
==

Edited by hrhenry on 10 April 2012 at 3:55am

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Heather McNamar
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 Message 12 of 86
10 April 2012 at 3:36pm | IP Logged 
I apologize for sounding ignorant, but what's a curriculum vitae? I know roughly what it means in Latin,
but I don't know what it refers to. A little education, please?
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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 13 of 86
10 April 2012 at 3:46pm | IP Logged 
It probably has a different name in American. It is a document which specifies your formal education, work experience and other skills. Here, when you apply for a job you present two documents. Your CV - which is the same for all your jobs, and a letter of application, where you higlight why you want this particular job, and why you are perfect for it.
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Heather McNamar
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 Message 14 of 86
10 April 2012 at 4:14pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
It probably has a different name in American. It is a document which specifies your formal education, work experience and other skills. Here, when you apply for a job you present two documents. Your CV - which is the same for all your jobs, and a letter of application, where you higlight why you want this particular job, and why you are perfect for it.


Ah, I see what you mean. I think we would call that a resume here in America, but I like the term "curriculum vitae" better. Thank you very much.
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iguanamon
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 Message 15 of 86
10 April 2012 at 4:23pm | IP Logged 
Don't worry, @Heather McNamar, when I first moved to England, I'd never heard of the term "CV". In the UK and Commonwealth English the common usage is "CV" refering to "Curriculum Vitae", a Latin term. In US English, a French term is used "Resumé". Ironic that in the English-speaking world we use two distinct foreign borrowings. I wonder why we don't have a commonly accepted, genuinely English, term for this?

In response to @Solfrid Cristin, I haven't had to send out a resumé or a CV in two decades. I'm self-employed. If I were hiring, I'd hire you in a heartbeat! Whomever has a chance to employ you should jump at the opportunity. Good luck!

Edited by iguanamon on 12 April 2012 at 3:11pm

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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 16 of 86
10 April 2012 at 4:27pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
If I were were, I'd hire you in a heartbeat! Whomever has a chance to employ you should jump at the opportunity. Good luck!


Thank you for the vote of confidence, you just made my day :-) I am not actively seeking any jobs right now, though, I just try to keep my CV up to date. The last time I suddenly saw a job I wanted, I was really struggling to get all the papers together, since I hadn't applied for a job in almost two decades either.


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