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Experienced translator needs advice about resume/cover letter
Thread poster: Francesca moletta

Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 13:24
English to Italian
+ ...
Feb 4, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I'd like to start a massive marketing/prospecting action in the next weeks (mainly US, UK and all English-speaking countries).

I would appreciate suggestions on how to improve my resume - downloadable from my profile page - and cover letter (basically what is mentioned in the "about me" field on my profile page).

I read many threads on this subject (especially on cover letters) and I understood cover letters must keep short. I realized the one I sent years ago was too long for EN speaking countries.

Again, I have this huge doubt about attaching or not my resume...

Thanks in advance.

[Edited at 2009-02-04 15:37 GMT]


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Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 13:24
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
anybody Feb 10, 2009

Anybody willing to help me?
I'd be glad to do the same for your profiles/resumes in Italian.
Bye, thanks


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Comments Feb 10, 2009

The first page looks messy and cluttered to me. I'd be inclined to shove most of your personal info, education and previous jobs to the last page - your first aim is to entice the reader into wanting to use you, you can tell him who you are later!

It might also be an idea to remove information on your rates.

I wonder if you're including too many specialist fields. If you really feel you can offer them all, then fine, but especially if you're targeting direct customers, you might be better off focussing your experience on what a specific client is likely to be looking for. At the moment I get the feeling you're trying to offer too much.


I don't claim that my resume is the gold standard (although I hope it creates the right impression!) but I'm happy to send it to you (it's not downloadable from the site) if you like, to give you an idea if nothing else.




[Edited at 2009-02-10 11:36 GMT]


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K Donnelly  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Suggestions Feb 10, 2009

Your CV is a bit long for an Anglo-Saxon audience. Remember that most people in charge of looking through CVs make decisions very quickly. So, it should be easy to read and have the most important information first.

My suggestions for changes:
Put you specializations (a brief list of the most important ones) on the first page.
Remove the "personal data" section
Remove the information about preparing for a doctorate admission exam
Remove the "other languages" section
Shorten the "stays abroad" section and put it towards the end
Take out the "rates" section - this should go in the cover letter
There is too much information in the "fields of expertise". Decide which fields you are most interested in receiving work for and emphasize them.

For your profile, you should include more information about the types of documents that you translate and your experience.

I hope this is helpful.
Good luck with the marketing campaign!
Karla


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Karla, but... Feb 10, 2009

K Donnelly wrote:

Your CV is a bit long for an Anglo-Saxon audience. Remember that most people in charge of looking through CVs make decisions very quickly. So, it should be easy to read and have the most important information first.



It depends whether you're looking to provide a CV or a resume. I have both - the CV is 2 pages long, the resume 6, and also includes two sample translations and some references. I drew up the latter on the advice of a speaker (owner of an agency) at a Proz conference a few years ago.

I tend to send the CV + resume to Italian clients (who seem to prefer a more "traditional" CV), and the resume only to all others. In any case, the front page of the resume contains my contact information and a bullet-point list of my specialist areas and qualifications.

[Edited at 2009-02-10 15:55 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
How about a single page résumé? Feb 10, 2009

Francesca Moletta wrote:
I'd like to start a massive marketing/prospecting action in the next weeks (mainly US, UK and all English-speaking countries). ... I would appreciate suggestions on how to improve my resume...


If you're a freelance translator and you're aiming at direct clients and/or agency clients, I suggest you create not a long curriculum vitae but a single page résumé and optionally also a single page Z-fold brochure of your services. The résumé is for e-mail, the brochure is for snail mail. Forget long CVs and résumés unless you're trying to find a permanent inhouse job.

Now for comments on your current résumé:

* It looks very confusing and scattered.
* If your target is clients, not employers, then information such as your rates and fields of experience should be on the first page, and your education and employment history should be on the second page.
* I'd say, reduce the length of your employment history and education.
* The multicoloured text is difficult to read. Black alone is good.
* Don't use clipart with words in it (such as "skype me"); if you want to use logos, use ones that are small and don't push the text around.

A lot has been said about photos in résumés, but my opinion is that your ProZ.com profile photo looks very professional and can't hurt your résumé unless the recipient is superstitious.

Just a thought: make your PDF text copyable. Then project managers can easily copy your details into their system. If I try to copy stuff from your résumé, I get this:

FFrraanncceessccaa MMoolleettttaa
TTeecchhnniiccaall TTrraannssllaattoorr,, PPrrooooffrreeaaddeerr
((IITTAALLIIAANN NNAATTIIVVEE SSPPEEAAKKEERR))

Some people say that you should not use tables in a résumé, but personally I would like to see some delimiters, especially if you're placing text in virtual "blocks" anyway.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Nitpicking Feb 10, 2009

Francesca Moletta wrote:
I would appreciate suggestions on how to improve my resume...


Okay, here goes:

Year and place of birth: 1976, Vicenza - Italy


Personally I find your use of comma and dash rather weird. I would have expected "1976, Vicenza in Italy" or similar. What do other ProZians say?

(first and second combination difference NOT applicable)


I have no idea what this means.

Since May 2003 - Current FULL TIME job:


Do not use capital letters in mid-sentence like that.

Customers: Translation Companies and Direct Clients from all over the world.


I'm concerned about your choice of capitalisation.

Master Degree


Perhaps a Master's Degree?

Final mark: Top mark with honours April 2001


I would suggest that you make better use of punctuation to delimit pieces of information. One solution here might be "Top mark with honours, April 2001" but even then, I don't see that "April 2001" can possibly be part of the description of your "Final mark". April 2001 is the date that you achieved that mark. Another solution may be "Top mark with honours (April 2001)".

Certificate of Business English issued by the Language Centre of Ireland of Dublin May 2001 - November 2001


I'm a big fan of commas and fullstops. I would have preferred "Certificate of Business English, issued by the Language Centre of Ireland. Dublin, May 2001 - November 2001." or similar.

MAIN STAYS ABROAD


I'm under the impression that the English term "main stay" has lost most of its original literal meaning.

Hull - United Kingdom: academic year 1996/97 Erasmus Project at the University of Hull


Again, this is a string of information without anything to separate the individual pieces of information or indicators that help sort them logically. Try "Hull, United Kingdom: Erasmus Project at the University of Hull, academic year of 1996/7".

Romanian: notions


Notions or nonsense? I suspect you mean that you understand very little of it.

I.T. HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE


Do you know of another type of hardware and software except for "IT" hardware and software?

Stationary PC and laptop PC


Where I'm from, the first one is called a "desktop PC", and the laptop usually don't get the letters "PC" appended because "PC" is often used for desktop computers.

Internet IR connection through mobile phone (when out of the office)


I have no idea what "IR" stands for. Perhaps "infrared"? Then why abbreviate it? And should it then not also be "Infrared internet connection" instead of "internet infrared connection"?

Translation: 0.08 € / target word


I'm under the impression that the currency symbol is written before the digits in most English speaking countries.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'm loathe to criticise as I'm not happy with my own CV at the moment, but ... Feb 10, 2009

I think the very last line of your CV, Francesca, sums up the problem:
"the list would be really too long".

I think it already is too long. You're trying to stick to the original meaning of the words behind "CV", but nobody has the time to read your life history.

What does the reader really need to know?
Who you are ie your name (once will do!), not DOB, POB etc
How to contact you - your contact details are fine as they are except the Skype thingy
What you do (your heading is fine, but needs the languages with it - they are what you do)
(BTW, what does "first and second combination difference NOT applicable" mean?)
Your MAIN specialisations, MAIN texts - a sample to whet the appetite not to give indigestion
Your experience - personally, I'd just give the No. years translating, project managing etc
Software you use (so they know what doc types to send), but webcam/printer etc? ADSL? IR?
Maybe the tariff - that's for you to decide, but remember you'll have to keep it up-to-date

What they don't really need, and don't have time to read, is what you did when for whom, and what you did that has no real bearing on your professional relationship with them. For example, they're only interested in your education if it proves a plus-value: one line for the Master's degree, one for the business French/English certificates should be enough, IMO.

You can probably get all the necessary details into one page - it's certainly best. If not, 2 pages is the absolute max, unless you are including sample translation texts.

There you are - that's the benefit of my 4-years' experience as the trainer for the French job centre's workshop preparing CV, letter and interview in English. All great theory - now who's going to help me put it into practice for my own CV?


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Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 13:24
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
so kind of you Feb 11, 2009

Dear Sheila, Samuel, Marie-Hélène and Karla,

thanks so much for your help! I'm now working on a project and looking forward to use your suggestions.

As concerns the (first and second combination difference NOT applicable) sentence I meant that I don't have a first and a second language combination. Both en>it and fr>it are at the same level.

How can I put it?

Thanks again, if I can help you in some way, please let me know.

Francesca


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