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When do you put languages on your CV?

 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
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Chung
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Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 25 of 86
10 April 2012 at 10:49pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
Or to ask the longer version: at which level do you think it is relevant to put your languages on your CV?


I do it when I feel confident enough to use it on the spot for an interview. In my case, I only feel this way with English and French. Because of the common lack of familiarity with the CEFR, FSI/ILR and other related benchmarks where I live, I resort to listing the ability in most of my languages in vaguer terms, and where applicable my education explains somewhat how I got to know some languages. It's not a huge problem, and I list my Eastern European languages with "basic" qualifiers, thus reducing the urge for others to test my ability if I would have listed them in a way suggesting high and immediate applicability for the job. However even listing them at low levels has made for interesting digressions. I was once interviewed by a manager who turned out to be Slovak and we conducted a bit of the interview in Slovak.

From the other side of the desk, I'm generally neutral about people's language abilities since I've never interviewed someone who knows a language that was not related to one's background (e.g. it's not surprising for me to see a candidate who knows at least some Japanese because he previously taught in Japan or another who is fluent in Spanish because she was on an exchange program in Chile). I did once discount a candidate when I got the cover letter listing multilingualism by virtue of knowing Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian in addition to English. That kind of thing is funny in private or outside work, but when it comes to making a good first impression for a job, it's never washed with me given how it earnestly preys on outsiders' ignorance, and can offend their intelligence.

Edited by Chung on 10 April 2012 at 10:50pm

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vermillon
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United Kingdom
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Studies: Japanese, German

 
 Message 26 of 86
10 April 2012 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
How often do you apply for a job in China? :-)


Not everyday, but I've applied a few times, and even successfully! I've had the chance to live in Shanghai and Beijing, and would love to spend some more time there! :)
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mezzofanti
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Australia
mezzoguild.com
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 Message 27 of 86
12 April 2012 at 2:50pm | IP Logged 
Some employers like to have people with basic conversational skills in several languages (hotel/tourism jobs for example). No need for them to be advanced.

If you're in business or a technical field, I wouldn't bother putting an A2 language on your CV however.
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Cavesa
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Czech Republic
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 Message 28 of 86
13 April 2012 at 10:11am | IP Logged 
I may be a bit naive, since my experience with jobs has been limited so far(I'm a
student, having a second part-time job now), but I would never put there a language in
which I do not have an official certificate. Of course, there could be exceptions, such
as applying for a job right after coming back from a year abroad. The other question is,
when to spend money for an exam. I think B1 or B2 is already good enough.

Do really so many employers take languages as unneeded and worthless information? I was
always told that putting there one more language than necessary can show diligence, will
to work on further education etc. But it may be very different in states with a small
official language, such as Czech, and those with a huge one, such as English.
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Ogrim
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France
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 Message 29 of 86
13 April 2012 at 12:08pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
I may be a bit naive, since my experience with jobs has been limited so far(I'm a
student, having a second part-time job now), but I would never put there a language in
which I do not have an official certificate. Of course, there could be exceptions, such
as applying for a job right after coming back from a year abroad. The other question is,
when to spend money for an exam. I think B1 or B2 is already good enough.

Do really so many employers take languages as unneeded and worthless information? I was
always told that putting there one more language than necessary can show diligence, will
to work on further education etc. But it may be very different in states with a small
official language, such as Czech, and those with a huge one, such as English.


I don't have a single official certificate for any of the languages I speak. However, I do not hesitate to put on my CV those languages I can use in a professional context.

Whether employers value languages or not may depend on whether speaking other languages can be an added value in the job. I would guess a hotel manager in a major capital will see languages as a great advantage, whilst the same is probably not true in the corner shop of a small village.

I work for an international organisation, so here multilingualism is simply a must.
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jeff_lindqvist
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Moderator
SwedenRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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 Message 30 of 86
13 April 2012 at 4:49pm | IP Logged 
English is useful in just about any job involving "contact with people" (any kind of store for example) but I don't know how often I really see it as a requirement in the ads. I think any employer just assumes that everyone has passable English. Therefore I also think it's quite rare to see English on the CV in Sweden, unless it has some point (or is specifically required).

If one has studied languages (or anything else) at the university, I see no point in hiding that information (imagine a translator who has also studied some engineering, economy and psychology; or a historian who has also studied Latin and Greek - of course it would be beneficial to put that on the CV).
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maydayayday
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United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, German, Italian, SpanishB2, FrenchB2
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian), Russian, Swedish, Turkish, Polish, Persian, Vietnamese
Studies: Urdu

 
 Message 31 of 86
13 April 2012 at 5:54pm | IP Logged 
Well I didn't put my language skills/interests on my CV for an IT job with a huge Japanese company and until I walked into the interview I didnt think it would be relevant. They weren't specified on the job description either!

As it turns out I was to be interviewed by the HR person, the Director of Finance and the Director of Engineering at the end of the interview, both Directors were of course Japanese.

At the end point of the interview the British person asked me about my other interests so I said: "I speak a little Japanese." I didnt mention I was familiar with any others despite having finished the goverment courses in Arabic and Russian.

I then gave a sample of what I could do which to be honest was not a lot; A1/2 speaking and listening.

The engineer then asked me in Japanese how many characters I could read ~ 300/400 but slowly and hiragana/katakana quite well. He smiled.

Four weeks later I was in charge of a factory build and sorting the 'administrative' issues of the transient Japanese workforce who didn't speak much English at all.
We had the design centre and suppliers in Italy, the engineering centre in Germany and a raft of agreements with Polish, Spanish and other suppliers.

So my advice is note that you have an interest in languages in any case but if you have some higher level skills, or better a certificate, or the job might benefit - get it all in there!

edit for redundant words






Edited by maydayayday on 13 April 2012 at 7:09pm

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Serpent
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 32 of 86
13 April 2012 at 6:35pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
I would never put there a language in which I do not have an official certificate.
TBH I think of my Finnish certificate as proof that I've not only got C1 in it, but that I'm also not lying about my other languages. I mean why would someone who's taught herself Finnish lie about her Spanish? :DD

Edited by Serpent on 13 April 2012 at 6:48pm



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