Language proficiency is becoming king in today’s modern job market. More and more companies are working with international clients or themselves are composed of people from all over the world. Companies are also looking to hire talent for customer support outside of the area where the language is usually spoken. Combine all that, and you get a situation where the need for immediate communication in a foreign language is paramount.
That’s why each one of us should take the opportunity to make ourselves more desirable by becoming more proficient, and that is why today we’ll be looking at how to get a higher CEFR score.
First, we have to see what the acronym actually means. The CEFR, meaning Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, is used to describe how proficient you are in a certain language. The CEFR was designed with European languages in mind - in spite of that it is becoming a standard framework all over the world.
To find out your CEFR level you would need to take a standardized test with the CEFR website recommending EF SET for English due to it being fully in line with CEFR, and it’s free.
There are two main reasons why CEFR should be important to you. It’s the standard and it is probably used by your future employer, these two alone should be enough to get you interested in how to get a higher CEFR score.
It’s becoming the main way to measure proficiency in a language. Not only that, but it is also a quick and efficient way to present your language knowledge. It has become standard practice and is used in most academic settings.
As far as a professional setting goes, businesses are a bit slower to adopt CEFR and see its importance, but it is slowly but surely becoming the norm there as well. If you’re aiming at a customer support role, a high CEFR score can help you expand the pool of possible positions and make you stand out from the rest of the applicants. You should also look to get a higher CEFR level if you applied for a job but didn’t quite qualify. An improved score might be just what the employer is looking for and it also shows the desire and willingness to hone your skills.
The way to a higher CEFR score is to first take the test. You need to see which area you are lacking in or in most need of improvement so that you know what to focus on.
After that, it depends on what type of learner you are. The beauty of being an older learner, as opposed to learning as a child, is that you know what works for you, and you can skip straight to more challenging concepts.
Some learners like to simply open grammar rules and pour over them to brush up on concepts or to learn something new that they may have missed or forgotten. Self-instruction is a great way to learn languages after childhood because you know where you’re lacking, especially after taking the first CEFR test, and you can focus on specific areas without losing too much time.
Others go back to old textbooks to get a bit more guidance and to get a broader overview. This approach works for people who may not know what specific area to focus on or don’t know how to improve specific skills.
Another great option is taking classes. Today there’s a huge variety of classes one can take, from paid classes in language schools to online classes via video, or you could take advantage of the modern computer age and use one of the many language learning apps out there. And at Transcom we take great interest in foreign language learning and have partnered with many language schools and learning platforms. These provide direct or semi-direct instruction that can really help steer you in the right direction.
Whichever one of these works for you as a learner, there’s one thing that everybody should do, and is a must when looking to acquire a higher level of language proficiency and a higher CEFR score: immersion. Every learner should immerse themselves in the language they’re learning as much as possible. The best thing about immersion is that it doesn’t have to be a conscious and active effort. You can simply change up your usual daily routine in small ways to give yourself that extra boost of immersion.
When reading the news try to look for sites in the language in question. This is especially easy when learning English because most non-English speaking countries have news for foreigners in English due to its status as a lingua franca. The next thing that you can do is to turn off subtitles when watching films or TV in the target language. The alternative to this is to at least set the subtitles to the target language. Doing this is possibly the best way to acquire new vocabulary, help with listening skills, and pronunciation because of the wide array of themes and topics.
The last, and most important piece of advice, use the language as much as possible. Using it helps you build confidence and allows you to be more fluent and fluid in your use. This means that any type of communication, from talking to a foreign friend to helping an irate customer with a complicated problem, becomes a piece of cake.
All of this should help you improve your foreign language skills in general but the last few bits of advice will help you with your communication skills. What point is there in knowing a language if you can’t communicate in it?