What are the levels of fluency for a language, and for each level how much are you expected to know in an interview setting?
language fluency levels for job applications
When putting your foreign language experience on your resume or on your application, it is important to not overstate your skill. A key point is that it is better to be more conservative rather than less conservative. Some users even feel that you should only put your language skills on your resume if you are business proficient or higher.
Which Level of Language Proficiency Am I?
If you are not sure how skilled you are at a language, one user shared a site that can help you test your proficiency in a respective foreign language - you can use this to determine your level of proficiency for the purposes of your resume.
You can also use the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale to figure out your proficiency. The ILR scale gives a complete description of language proficiency levels which is more transferable to resumes. We've listed the common equivalent next to the ILR ranking. Examine the rankings carefully. An exaggeration of language skills could put you in a bad situation. Do not list "Full Professional Proficiency" or "Fluent" next to any language, unless you can proceed in an interview in said language.
|ILR Level and equivalent||Level of Proficiency|
|Elementary Proficiency / Basic||Includes the only the basic functions of using the language.|
|Limitied Working Proficiency/ Conversational||Ability to communicate socially with limited professional application of the language.|
|Professional Working Proficiency / Business||Able to speak clearly in a structured manner. Good sense of the languages grammar. Broad Vocabulary.|
|Full Professional Proficiency / Fluent||Can participate in any conversation with experience. Fluent use of the language.|
How to Put Fluency on Resume?
You can check out how to list foreign language skills on your resume. Note that the applicant lists their language skills as basic in French and fluent in Mandarin.
Read more about this topic on two detailed WSO threads:
Want Your Resume Reviewed by a Pro?
Land more interviews with the most comprehensive resume review service in the world.