“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Renowned psycholinguist Frank Smith couldn’t have explained better why knowledge of multiple languages can benefit you in life. Language skills improve cognitive functioning making your brains work harder to stay in shape. Speaking and writing in several tongues give you an advantage over others who know only one language. When you highlight these skills in a resume, your qualifications stand out if you know more than one language.
One or Two? More Is Better
The brain has an incredible capacity to absorb knowledge. Effectively, when you learn a language, you enhance your brain’s ability to recognize, process and communicate in different language systems. Being a linguist also builds up your multitasking skills by developing the ability to switch between different language systems. A University of Pennsylvania study suggests that these ‘juggling skills’ make people great at multitasking. Professor Kroll of Penn State says, “Bilinguals simply acquire specific types of expertise that help them attend to critical tasks and ignore irrelevant information.”
If you happen to get on a bus in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, you’ll be amazed at the flawless way people of all ages switch from one language to another. Everyone starts learning 3 languages when they are 6 six years old – Luxembourgish, French, and German. English is taught in high school. However, at home, they may be speaking Italian or Portuguese with their family as there are many foreigners in Luxembourg. Upon finishing high school, every student speaks a minimum of 4 languages. They master these languages and have no problem switching from one tongue to another. They can work practically anywhere in Europe with few issues.
The memory skills are also improved when learning several tongues. Multilingualism makes people less prone to getting Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies confirm that learning and speaking several languages delay the onset of dementia. Moreover, people who speak and write in more than one language have good decision-making skills and are perceptive of their environments. These abilities give you an edge over other people and speak volumes for you when emphasizing your impressive language skills on your CV.
How to Demonstrate Your Language Abilities in Your Resume
A resume summarizes your qualifications and skills demonstrating what you can do. If you are adept at several languages, you can make this skill stand out by explaining your proficiency in a manner that is understandable. There are several ways of doing this. You can categorize your language ability as basic, intermediate or advanced. There is also a better way to classify your language proficiency if you are in Europe and that is by adopting the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages that divides learners into three broad categories: basic user, independent user, and proficient user. Each category is further broken down into 2 levels – A1/A2 for basic, B1/B2 for independent and C1/C2 for proficient users. Your language skills are assessed in three areas: reading, writing and speaking. Otherwise, you can also just break down your proficiency by explaining the number of years you have spent studying the language. What is imperative to do is to explain as much as possible how good you are in certain languages and demonstrate your skills.
Polyglots have good communication skills, are smart and great at multitasking. They have a competitive edge over others who do not have the same skills. This gives linguists a shot at landing a job where all other things equal, they have the advantage of speaking several languages.
— Written by Jane Sandwood, Contributor at Mondly