November 6


How to Put Your English Level And Your English Course on Your CV/Resume?

By Gordon Gaffney

November 6, 2021

How to Put Your English Level And Your English Course on Your CV/Resume?

People tend to exaggerate their achievements in this situation, so how do you put your English level and your English course on your CV/Resume?

Exaggerating what you've done in your life can be a bad idea and can "backfire" on a candidate in an interview, meaning it will have a negative effect rather than an expected positive effect.

There is vocabulary section at the end of this article explaining terms such as “to backfire”

Interview in English

How to Put Your English Level And Your English Course on Your CV/Resume?

Currently, many companies in Brazil conduct their interviews in English and having an accurate assessment of the candidates' level in English can be very important. Sometimes these companies hire a native English speaker, usually an English teacher, to "to sit in/participate" in the interview.

This person will be there primarily to listen and observe, and will likely not speak at the meeting or interview unless asked to do so. However, their opinion can be important.

When I lived in Brazil, I met a native English teacher from New Zealand who was hired to do this in São Paulo.

He said his job was just to assess the candidate's English level and confirm that their information on their CV/resume was correct and then to inform the company's Brazilian staff, who were actively conducting the interview by asking the questions.

He said that when the candidates saw him, he noticed that some of them thought "Oh no, a gringo!".

It became clear (or “turned out”) that the correct level of English of the candidates was far below what they had on their CV/resume. This was bad for the candidates, reflecting poorly on them during the interview process.

So be careful what level of English you put on your CV/resume.

If you are worried about making mistakes in English then our eBook "Eliminate the 63 Most Common Mistakes Portuguese Speakers Make in English" will help you.

Available in English and Portuguese it is only €6.99 and you can read more about it here. 

You might also be interested in our video course on sale on Udemy for €29.99/69.99R$ "Eliminate the Mistakes that Portuguese Speakers Make in English". 4 hours of video exclusively for people that speak Portuguese. You can read more about it and watch free videos here.

How to put your level of English on your CV/resume: Fluent?

 For example, many students put “fluent” on their CV/Resume. What's interesting is that “fluent” does not appear in CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which is the internationally recognised standard for validating language skills.

Employers are often not aware of CEFR and, especially in countries where English is natively spoken, there is a lack of knowledge about how to learn a foreign language.

This is because there may be a lack of motivation, as English is considered the international language. You can find out more of why this happens by clicking here.

I would say that being “fluent” means that you can express yourself very well and when listening that don't need people repeating what they're saying, however your grammar may not be 100% perfect.

CEFR was originally used for European languages, including English, but is now accepted worldwide. CEFR levels are as follows:



Basic user


Independent user


Proficient user 

But the following titles are more common for students and teachers:









Upper Intermediate





If you are unsure of your level, your English teacher should be able to tell you, and there are also some tests to accurately assess your grade.

As I've already mentioned, native English speakers probably won't know what “A1/A2/B1” means, but if you write or “put down/put” “Intermediate” or “Upper Intermediate”, they will understand. 

How to put your English course on your CV/resume

In its simplest form, you can enter the name of the institution, name of the course, dates and duration of the course, and qualification obtained if any.

For example:

Oct 2018 - May 2019, DCU, Advanced English, 24 weeks

How to put your level of English on your CV/resume: English tests

English IELTS, TOEFL and TOEIC tests

How to Put Your English Level And Your English Course on Your CV/Resume?

The two exams my students and I are most familiar with are IELTS and TOEFL, and these tests are most commonly used to test a student's English level for academic purposes.

The score/result on these exams is used if you wish to study abroad and English is the first language in that country, such as the USA, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Australia etc.

However, many other countries where English is not the native language conduct some of their university courses in English. I have a friend who studied "Business and International Relations" in the Netherlands and the entire course was conducted in English.

You can read about the difference between the TOEFL and IELTS exams by clicking here, and if you want to take the exams, I recommend that you read my guide to IELTS by clicking here, and my guide to TOEFL here.

I have also written reviews of specialised materials, including books and software you will need for the exams, the IELTS material is here and the TOEFL material is here.

There is also the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) which is not as popular as IELTS or TOEFL and I have not yet prepared students for this test, but you can read more about it by clicking in here soon.


Cambridge English Tests

Cambridge English (also known as “ESOL”) is a department at the University of Cambridge.

Its English Proficiency (CPE), Advanced (CAE), First (FCE), Preliminary (PET) and Key (KET) exams are recognised around the world by many employers, universities and government institutions as proof of English ability.

The Cambridge FCE First Certificate of English is a very good test recognised around the world.

If you are a younger student, this may be the only exam you have available, and it is usually necessary for working in English-speaking countries.

When I was living in Dublin, I shared a house with a guy from Spain who studied English for the Cambridge First Certificate because many office jobs in Dublin at that time required the candidate to have at least this certificate.

If you didn't have this certificate, maybe your options would be restricted to roles unrelated to "customer facing roles/customer service", perhaps working as a cleaner or as a KP "Kitchen Porter". 

How to put your English course on your CV/Resume: private lessons

If you are currently studying English at a school or with a private tutor, then you can put this on your CV/resume. You can read more about my private lessons by clicking here.

In this case, you can put “ongoing/continuous” on your CV/resume.

Private Classes - Ongoing

This shows that you are trying to improve your skills and shows the motivation and desire for personal development that many employers would like to see in a candidate. 

How to put your level of English on your CV/resume: living abroad

If you have ever spent time abroad in an English-speaking country, you can also include this on your CV. Of course, the longer you stay somewhere, the better, and you can also talk about that in the interview.

In the section “Hobbies and Pastimes” you can say that you like to travel: “Travel” or “travel to English speaking countries”, or “have lived in Ireland for 6 months/lived in Ireland for 6 months” etc. 

How to indicate your level of English on your CV/resume: “English Meetings” 

How to Put Your English Level And Your English Course on Your CV/Resume?

“English Meetings” are becoming more and more popular in Brazil and around the world, although unfortunately they usually only happen in bigger cities. The best place to find out about these events is on or on Facebook.

The idea is to “meet for a drink, eat, and meet people”, all in English. Again, for the “Hobbies and Pastimes” section of your resume, you can say that you enjoy attending these meetings.

 You can read a little more about these meetings and how to improve your English conversation by clicking here.

I am writing this article in October 2021 with the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.

I have had some students complete the Duolingo English test instead of the traditional IELTS / TOEFL / TOEIC exams before being accepted into a third level course, educational level in Ireland covering higher education at universities and colleges.

 You can read this link, in English, or this link, in Portuguese.

The required score/grade depends on the course you are applying for, but the test is free and can be taken as many times as you like. This makes it attractive to employers and candidates. 

How to put your English level and your English course on your CV/Resume?: Vocabulary

To backfire

An action that has a negative effect rather than the expected positive effect. In Portuguese the expression “o tiro saiu pela culatra”.

To sit in on

Attend something like a job interview or meeting. It means you will be there mainly to listen and observe. You will likely not speak at the meeting or interview unless asked to do so. However, your opinion can be important.

To turn out

A story that ended differently than expected.

Customer facing roles 

Jobs where you deal directly with the public e.g. customer service, this could be in person, like a cafe or restaurant, or maybe just over the phone or by email.



To put down

Write information, usually on some kind of form or document.

In here, you will learn how to learn English easily and practically, completely from scratch. If you want to become more secure, know the important basic phrases in English.

Or learn English for Masters and how to write formal emails in English in a article coming soon.

In here, you can read about how to learn English with movies or learn how to make a study routine to learn English in here.

You can comment or ask a question below!

Gordon Gaffney

About the author

Gordon is The Irish English Teacher, creator of this blog and many products to help all students learning English as a second language, but with a focus on Portuguese speakers.