Describing your level of fluency on a resume

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Describing your level of fluency on a resume

Postby beautifulspam » 25 Jul 2008, 09:50

I'm sure this is a problem many of us have come up against after returning to where we came from.

We have achieved a certain level of fluency in Chinese. We are not native or near-native speakers, but we easily engage in fairly complex conversations and may even be able to read novels, but very slowly and with a dictionary.

When you're applying for jobs, how do you describe your level of Chinese? Many Americans don't really understand foreign language acquisition and tend to see things in black and white terms. If you say you are "fluent" they think you speak like a native. If you say you are "conversational" they will assume that you can just barely order rice at the corner store.

Actually, this isn't a uniquely American problem. One of the forms used by NTNU forces you to describe your Chinese proficiency as either "none," "beginner," or "fluent." Shades of grey, please?

So what's a good, honest way to describe intermediate fluency without exaggerating or selling yourself short?
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Postby TNT » 25 Jul 2008, 10:32

If its sufficient to win an argument then your language ability is good
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Re: Describing your level of fluency on a resume

Postby Mother Theresa » 25 Jul 2008, 11:12

beautifulspam wrote:So what's a good, honest way to describe intermediate fluency without exaggerating or selling yourself short?


Why not "Intermediate"?

Actually, I just applied for a position yesterday as "Deputy General Counsel, Greater China" for a large US company. The pay is outstanding, but they require "Excellent Mandarin skills," which I definitely lack. After 9 years here and several aborted efforts at schooling, I'm merely able to order breakfast, direct the taxi driver, respond that "yes, I do like the fruit in Taiwan," and engage in extremely limited conversation about the weather, my child, and a few other subjects. Nonetheless this opportunity was too good to pass up so I applied anyway and confessed that my Mandarin skills are "basic conversational." In truth that might be a stretch, or maybe not, I don't know. Say whatever seems right. If they're really interested in you and Mandarin abilities are an important part of the job, they should test you orally anyway.
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Postby the chief » 25 Jul 2008, 11:22

I always say "rudimentary spoken".
Kind of leaves the back door open.
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Postby irishstu » 25 Jul 2008, 11:23

the chief wrote:I always say "rudimentary spoken".
Kind of leaves the back door open.
Oh, and MT?
Those guys called me for a reference on you.
I told them you were full of shit.
Sorry, pal.


Always a good idea to keep the back door open why applying for a job.
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Postby alidarbac » 25 Jul 2008, 11:31

If only someone could invent some sort of test that could evaluate your level of fluency...

I think I would call it something like the Chinese Proficiency Test or maybe 漢語水平考試 in Chinese.
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Postby Mother Theresa » 25 Jul 2008, 11:35

irishstu wrote:Always a good idea to keep the back door open when applying for a job.


Sorry iris, I don't go for that casting couch stuff when it comes to jobs. Some of us still have standards.
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Postby irishstu » 25 Jul 2008, 11:41

Mother Theresa wrote:
irishstu wrote:Always a good idea to keep the back door open when applying for a job.


Sorry iris, I don't go for that casting couch stuff when it comes to jobs. Some of us still have standards.


Yes, that was the joke. Congratulations.
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Postby Mother Theresa » 25 Jul 2008, 11:48

irishstu wrote:
Mother Theresa wrote:
irishstu wrote:Always a good idea to keep the back door open when applying for a job.


Sorry iris, I don't go for that casting couch stuff when it comes to jobs. Some of us still have standards.


Yes, that was the joke. Congratulations.


Does that mean I get the job?
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Postby irishstu » 25 Jul 2008, 11:53

Mother Theresa wrote:
irishstu wrote:
Mother Theresa wrote:
irishstu wrote:Always a good idea to keep the back door open when applying for a job.


Sorry iris, I don't go for that casting couch stuff when it comes to jobs. Some of us still have standards.


Yes, that was the joke. Congratulations.


Does that mean I get the job?


No. You didn't keep your back door open.
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