How to describe your language level on your CV in English

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How to describe your language level on your CV in English

When writing your CV in English it is important to remember that recruiters today look for people who can speak multiple languages. The most researched language today is of course English, but any other second or third language will be a huge advantage for your CV.

Why is English important?

English the most spoken language is the world today and it is used by businesses governments and individuals in every country. Companies use English for B2B communication, sales and marketing. Research  and development centres around the world use English on everyday basis and over 80% of all the content on the internet is also written in English.

To put it short, speaking English gives you access to information, publications and conferences all over the world.

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How to describe your language level?

There is a large number of language certificates for most languages spoken today. The variety of language certificates lead to misconceptions in terms of the actual language level of the candidate. This is why the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) was born.

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages  (CEFRL)

CEFRL was created in order to simplify language level evaluation throughout various languages. It divides language users into three categories: A for basic users, B for independent users and C for proficient users.

Those categories are then divided into  subcategories 1 & 2 where A1 is a beginner and C2 is a proficient, fluent speaker.

As a result on your CV you should indicate your language level as “English – B1” or “Spanish – B2”

Read more about language levels in this article

Language certificates


There is a number of certificates confirming your skills in English. In this article we will have a look at the most popular ones.


TOEIC stands out for Test of English for International Communication. It is a standardised test available all around the world. It assesses your English level on a scale from 0 to 990. Typically business schools and foreign universities require a minimum level of 800 TOEIC points, which is roughly equivalent to a B1 CEFRL level. 

If you took a TOEIC you can put your TOEIC score on your CV in the following format:  TOEIC 880 point (2019). 

Remember that TOEIC scores are only valid for two years, this is why you have to specify the year you took your TOEIC. After the two-year period you will have to take the exam again for a valid score.


TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language and is required by most foreign universities as confirmation of your English level. It assesses your English level on a scale from 0 to 120 (with 30 points for each of the four categories: reading, listening, reading and writing). To check the minimum level of TOEFL required by the school or university you want to study at contact your school or university and ask for the list of partner schools and TOEFL levels. 

Just as with TOEIC, TOEFL is only valid for two years, so make sure to specify the year you took your test on your CV.


International English Language Testing System will assess your English level on a scale from 1 to 9. It mostly focuses on academic English and as such is perfect for master and PhD students. For most school abroad you will need a minimum IELTS score of 5,5 but always check with your school the list of partner universities and their IELTS requirement list.

Other languages


There is a number of language certificates in Spanish to choose from. If you have one of them, make sure to write it on your CV. Some examples include: Certificado de las Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas, DELE or LanguageCert.


To prove your German language skills you may present one of the following: Goethe-Zertifikat B2, Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe I and II or Avant Stamp Pro GERMAN.


Your Italian language skill can be confirmed with Accademia Italiana di Lingua, Diploma Avanzato di Lingua Italiana DALI C1, C2, and others.

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2020-02-20T13:57:47+00:00February 21st, 2020|Business English vocabulary, how to, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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