Resumes & Cover Letters

When to Add Bilingual Skills to a Resume (Includes Template and Example)

February 22, 2021

The ability to speak more than one language can help position people as strong candidates for job openings. Highlighting any bilingual skills within your resume can help employers understand how those skills could be useful within their own organization. Reviewing sample resumes and understanding the many places you could put bilingual skills on your resume can help you highlight your own language skills for potential employers.

In this article, we discuss when you should add bilingual skills to your resume, the steps you should take to highlight language skills within your resume and we offer a resume template and example to show you where you can put bilingual skills on your resume.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume

When to add bilingual skills to a resume

It's generally a good idea to make potential employers aware that you're bilingual. This can help you stand out from other candidates, highlight your level of cultural awareness, potentially expand your opportunities within the community and emphasize skills that are relevant to the business.

However, you should be cautious when listing other languages in the skills section of your resume if you're applying for a position that requires fluency in another language. When you do list any bilingual skills, be clear about your skill level so the potential employer understands your ability level. You should also keep in mind that some companies may want candidates to be fluent in writing but that verbal skills may not be necessary.

If you aren't at least at the intermediate skill level with a second language, which means you can carry on basic conversations in different situations, it's typically recommended that you leave your language skills off the resume entirely. You may want to take a language proficiency test to help you determine your skill level.

Related: The Best Job Skills to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to add bilingual skills to a resume

Here are the basic steps you should take to add bilingual skills to your resume.

1. Determine whether the job requires them

The first step you should take is to determine whether the position you're applying for requires skills in a second language. Whether the position calls for bilingual candidates ultimately determines where you place your bilingual skills on your resume. You should also take note of the specific type of skill that the employer is looking for. For example, they may only need someone who can speak a second language and may not require you to be able to write in another language.

2. Add language skills to the summary or objective statement

There are several different places you could highlight your bilingual skills on your resume. If the position calls for language skills, you may want to include them in your resume summary or objective at the top of your resume. Because this is essentially an introduction, it's a good place to first mention being bilingual.

3. Highlight experiences from your formal education

The education section of your resume is another place you could highlight your skills with another language, especially if you have a second major or a minor in another language. Another way you could show strong language skills is to mention any study abroad experiences where you had the opportunity to speak the language on a regular basis.

As you would with your primary university, you would list the name of the school overseas along with the location and dates you attended. If you participated in any student clubs or extracurricular activities in college where you practiced another language, you may want to include these as well.

4. Adjust your work experience to show bilingual skills

Describe your work experiences, highlighting your key achievements within each bullet. To emphasize your proficiency with a second language, you may want to add the word "bilingual" to the beginning of your job title, if appropriate. You could also mention specific opportunities that you had to use your language skills within each position.

5. Choose how to describe your skills

The next step is to determine how you should describe your skills to potential employers. For example, are you fluent in another language or are you proficient? If you would describe your proficiency level with a second language as basic, it's not recommended that you include it on your resume.

If you can engage in basic conversations, you should include it in your resume as either intermediate or upper-intermediate. If you are skilled with the language, you may want to describe your skills as advanced proficient, fluent or native. If you aren't sure what your current skill level is, you may want to take a language proficiency test.

Read more: How to Include Language Skills on Your Resume (With Examples)

6. Add how you used your language skills

If relevant, try to enhance your resume by adding specific ways you used your language skills. This can help to give potential employers a better understanding of your abilities. For example, you could include how you used them in a volunteering position or how you offered support to a customer service team speaking to non-English-speaking customers, even though you worked in another role.

Resume template highlighting bilingual skills

Use this resume template that highlights language skills to create a bilingual resume for yourself:

[Name]

[Address]

[Phone number]

[Email]

[Employer], [title]

[Date] - Present

  • [Specific responsibility - try to reference bilingual abilities in at least one work experience]
  • [Specific responsibility]
  • [Specific responsibility]

[Employer], [title]

[Date] - [date]

  • [Specific responsibility]
  • [Specific responsibility]
  • [Specific responsibility]

Education

[Degree program]

[College]

[Date] - [date]

[Reference language coursework if applicable]

Skills

[List of skills, including language skills and proficiency level]

Resume example showing bilingual skills

Here's an example of a resume that highlights bilingual skills:

Adam Myers

1332 Main Street, Nashville, TN 32512

888-333-2222

adam.myers@email.com

Labels Online, Head of Customer Service

October 2019 - Present

  • Answer and return phone customer calls
  • Enter data into the CMS in both English and Spanish
  • Act as a translator for Spanish-speaking customers when necessary

E-Commerce Travel, Customer Service Representative

May 2015 - September 2019

  • Placed calls to Spanish-speaking customers for the non-bilingual staff members
  • Translated travel documents from Spanish to English
  • Performed data entry in addition to basic administrative tasks

Education

Bachelor of Science in Communication

Minor in Spanish

University of Nashville

2011-2015

Skills

Microsoft Office Suite

Hubspot Certified

Bilingual - Fluent in English and Spanish

Related

View More 

FAQ: What Can I Do When My Resume Has a Typo? (With Tips)

Learn about what typos in a resume are, if typos matter on a resume, a few actions to take if you notice typos on your own resume and tips to help you prevent future typos.

How To Write an Entry-Level Software Developer Resume

Learn about how to write a resume for a software developer with no experience and view a template, example and tips to help you create your own resume.