The English application: Curriculum vitae

Curriculum vitae: Knowledge and skills

Special knowledge and skills

Include your language skills in this section. It is not enough to list simply ‘English’ or ‘Spanish’ as the potential employer cannot assess how well you speak these languages. Do not leave out information regarding whether you are a native speaker or whether your skills are at a beginner or advanced level. If your skills in a given language differ in speech and writing, mention this separately.

If you are applying for a job abroad, a language certificate could prove helpful. The best-recognized language certificates for English in companies and universities are:

IELTS - International English Language Testing System

In the US, more than 1,700 companies recognize this language certificate as evidence of your language skills. The IELTS certificate proves your listening and reading comprehension as well as your written and oral communication skills.

TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL is also recognized worldwide by universities and companies. It demonstrates the level of your skills in reading, listening, speaking and writing.

If you have passed a language certificate (TOEFL, IELTS) with good scores, specify this in your CV:

English: reading and writing (intermediate), oral (advanced); TOEFL (iBT) score: 100/120

Specify your skill level even if you do not possess a language certificate. For an application in the UK, you can follow the Common European Framework for Languages. Examine levels A, B and C and assess your language skills accordingly. The languages section in a CV for a job in the UK may resemble the following:

Spanish: Beginner
French: Elementary
Italian: Intermediate
English: Upper intermediate
Swedish: Advanced
Dutch: Fluent
Greek: Business fluent
German: Mother Tongue

You can also add the phrase: ‘in written and spoken’.

This category can also list your computer skills and any other skills that you consider relevant for the job—e.g. research skills. In addition, state how well you can handle common computer programs like Word, Excel, LaTeX or InDesign. Is your knowledge level basic or are you a professional? Detailed information enables the reader to form a good assessment of your skills, which makes you an interesting applicant.

Short and sweet

Only the most important skills that are crucial for the job should be mentioned:
  • Language skills: language skills
      (Always specify your written and spoken language levels.)
  • Computer skills
  • Drivers license, if relevant

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