Highlighting Your Bilingual CV Skills This Year

Bilingual skills are a great addition to your CV and hiring managers are often looking for them. Here’s our tips on how to feature them effectively.



Table of Contents

  1. Bilingual CV
  2. What Is a Bilingual CV?
  3. How To List Your Bilingual Skills on Your CV?
  4. Tips for Getting a Recruiter To Take Your Bilingual Skills Seriously
  5. FAQ: Bilingual CV

Bilingual CV

If you have language proficiency in a foreign language, you should indicate this on your cover letter or CV. Hiring managers are often looking for people with bilingual skills, and it can be a great addition to your professional CV. However, you need to know how to effectively discuss the fact that you’re a bilingual candidate and how it can be effective for your job search. Here’s how to create a bilingual CV that will impress your potential employers.

What Is a Bilingual CV?

A bilingual CV is a CV for someone who speaks more than one language. Although the name may make it seem like you should write your CV in two languages, you should write the CV in English, then list your bilingual skills on it. A bilingual CV is just the same as any other CV, but it includes a different language listed in your skillset.

How To List Your Bilingual Skills on Your CV?

When listing bilingual skills on a CV, there are a few things you should think about.

First of all, you should typically list bilingual skills in the skills section. When you only have one second language, including this near the top of your skills section allows a recruiter to see that you can use this skill alongside customer service skills and communication skills.

However, if you speak more than two languages, you might want to create a “Languages” section of your CV where you can include all of your language skills. That way, you can include a number of different languages, all at different skill levels. For example, you might list, “Spanish — Native Speaker; Arabic — Conversational” to indicate your different skills.

It’s also a good idea to show off professional experience and achievements that have used your language skills. Your experience section should include some reference to the fact that you know a secondary language. This is especially true because certain job titles might need more language expertise than others. A bilingual customer service representative may be more in-demand than a bilingual data entry expert, for example.

You should also discuss work experiences that benefitted from you using these skills. When you write your CV job descriptions, you can include some CV examples regarding your additional language skills. Even just a bullet point like, “Go-to team member when a Spanish-speaking customer needed help” indicates that not only do you speak Spanish conversationally, but you were good enough for coworkers to  automatically choose you to help with Spanish speakers.

Lastly, mention the fact that you’re bilingual as early as possible. Including something like “Spanish-speaking call center operator” in your CV summary clues the hiring manager into the fact that you speak another language. Plus, it helps tie your work experience in with this skill.

Tips for Getting a Recruiter To Take Your Bilingual Skills Seriously

Recruiters aren’t going to just accept anything that you put on a CV. Sure, you can put that you’re good at multitasking, but how does a recruiter actually know? Here are a few CV writing tips for proving your bilingual skills:

  • Take an official certification test
  • Use a proficiency phrasing for each
  • Indicate where you learned the language (i.e., if you learned in a class or if you learned from living in an area)

One of the best ways to ensure that a recruiter believes in your skill is to take an official certification test, but this is typically only suggested if you’re going to use these skills in an official capacity. If you just want to showcase that you’ll be able to help with customers who speak multiple languages, it’s best to use a proficiency phrasing indicating how well you speak each language.

FAQ: Bilingual CV

Q: Is there ever a good reason to submit a CV in a language other than English in the UK?

Most CVs in the UK should only be submitted in English. However, if you’re applying to a company that presents its services exclusively in another language, or the job listing was itself in another language, you can write your CV in that language for your application. This indicates that the prominent language of the location is that language, so writing your CV in it can help you showcase your skills and communicate more effectively.

Q: Does it count as “bilingual” if I learned additional languages from my parents?

Yes. Even if you’ve never had formal training, but you know the language, you can include it on your CV. Just be truthful about your proficiency level. If the secondary language is not the main language you spoke at home, or it’s been many years since you used it commonly, you might only be considered conversational rather than fluent.

Q: Do I need to put my nationality on my bilingual CV?

No. Nationality is a protected characteristic, which means it’s best not to include that information on your CV. No one needs to know if you don’t speak English as a native language. They just need to know your proficiency in different languages. Include only your language information, not any information about where you were born or raised.


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