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My first CV - your feedback is welcome
Thread poster: Renate Reinartz
Renate Reinartz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:27
English to German
May 8, 2007

Finally I spend some time to compile a CV. It was quite hard for me to select the datas which may be of interest because I'm not a typical freelancer. At least I neither studied languages, nor translation, nor do I have done freelance work in this biz yet.

And to make it perfect, I'm used to this old-fashioned German cv (Tabellarischer Lebenslauf), which is very different.

I'm still unsure if it is ok, not to mention dob; and if this Tool Skills section is ok.

So please take a look and let me know, if something is confusing, missing; or any other suggestion, critic you may have. Thank you.

http://www.proz.com/profile_resources/620174_r46405c2ce0d1b.pdf


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alessandra bocco  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:27
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Too many details May 8, 2007

Hi Renate!
I'm rather new as a freelancer, so my experience is not so wide, but if you want to work as a translator I find your CV too technical. You put many details about your previuos and actual job that are probably of no interest for translation agencies or other language professionals. Something shorter may do as well...


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Deschant
Local time: 13:27
A prospect not a CV May 8, 2007

Dear Renate,

In my opinion, in terms of applying to translation agencies and companies as a freelance translator, sometimes it is better to send them a "prospect" of our services rather than a CV. Most translation agencies receive thousand of CVs and, if they have to read through 5 pages to find out which are your fields of specialization or even your working pairs, chances are that they won't do it.

For example, from your CV it is not immediately clear which are your working pairs. Are you offering English > German only, or maybe also French > German, or German > English?

I am also quite new as a freelancer, but I have experienced that most agencies really appreciate freelancers being brief and precise...


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:27
German to English
+ ...
suggestions May 8, 2007

Hi Renate,

I just had a brief look at your CV. You're on the right track! Here are some general suggestions:

1) Unless you have a PhD or similar, I feel 4 pages is too long. You risk TLDR reactions (too long, didn't read). If you can, get it down to 1 page, 2 pages max with the main info on page 1. The order is fine as far as I'm concerned (recent work first, then education, which is not as important in this case).

2) I think you should definitely consolidate the initial information. Maybe put your name at the very top centered, then half of your contact underneath at the left, the other half directly adjacent at the right.

3) Have I understood that you did not complete a university degree? No problem, just wanted to make sure it is not an omission. The only red flag might be that it looks like you studied for 9 years at a Fachhochschule but didn't end up with a degree. Many American colleagues in fact leave out specific dates to avoid age discrimination. Usually this works because they can just say "B.A. in YYY, XXX University." I don't know how you could work this in but it might be worth thinking about.

4) As a potential employer, I need to know what it is you do as one of my first impressions. From your CV, it is not clear. If you don't have any degrees that make it obvious, I might put centered right underneath your name "Translator, Localizer, E-Learning Expert" or similar, then maybe "DE (native), English, French." Sort of like a tagline.

5) I wonder if you could consolidate your work experience. For instance, instead of an individual line for each website and what exactly you did, you could say "Authoring, translation, correspondence, .... for the websites aaa.com, bbb.de, ccc.be". This provides accurate information, saves space, yet would pique my curiosity as a potential employer.

6) The skills look fine. I'm not sure what you mean by SDLX and Trados in parentheses (or any of the other software in parentheses). What does that mean? You have experience in them but don't own them?

7) Minor things: I would say "a Unix app", and "app" sounds a bit informal to me (application?). Don't know exactly what a "Euro IT specialist" is but it sounds fabulous so I would emphasize that earlier in the document (like in your "tagline".)

Don't be discouraged. I know how hard it is to write a CV in a foreign language, make all those degrees sound general yet meaningful enough, etc. Good luck!


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Renate Reinartz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:27
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
4 pages to long :-( May 8, 2007

emoreda wrote:
In my opinion, in terms of applying to translation agencies and companies as a freelance translator, sometimes it is better to send them a "prospect" of our services rather than a CV. Most translation agencies receive thousand of CVs and, if they have to read through 5 pages to find out which are your fields of specialization or even your working pairs, chances are that they won't do it.


Dear Allessandra, Dear Emorada,

Thank you for your suggestions. It seems four pages is really a bit long. I thought I go a bit more into details in the CV because I'm already come to the point at my Profile. But readers of the CV won't have necessarily read my ProZ profile.

For example, from your CV it is not immediately clear which are your working pairs. Are you offering English > German only, or maybe also French > German, or German > English?


Grmpf, I had working pair in it; and delete it afterwards because I thought it is obvious that I only translate into my native language.

I am also quite new as a freelancer, but I have experienced that most agencies really appreciate freelancers being brief and precise...


It will be like everywhere in biz. Nobody wants to waste time. And four pages are quite long, even if I was optimistic to convince them with the first page.


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Deschant
Local time: 13:27
Reply May 8, 2007

Renate Reinartz wrote:
Grmpf, I had working pair in it; and delete it afterwards because I thought it is obvious that I only translate into my native language.


Well, my point was that working out your pairs is not really difficult looking at your knowledge of languages and your experience (you're only working in English > German, right?), but surely the human resources guy of a translation agency will appreciate your pairs being clearly stated in your CV. It takes only about 20 seconds to work them out, but some agencies don't seem to have 20 seconds for that (if you know what I mean).

And, yes, most agencies work with natives of the target language only; I also do support the native language principle, but not everybody is of this opinion... there have been lots of discussions on that here at ProZ on that matter, so stating clearly that you only translate into your mother tongue will do no harm.

I understand your point of convincing them with your first page. To this regard, it will be incredibly useful if you could list your areas of expertise in your first page (just over 3-4 lines, before going into detail in the next pages). What the agencies want to know about you is your contact details, your working pairs and your areas of expertise; if you catch their interest with those, they will keep on reading.


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Renate Reinartz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:27
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the detailed feedback! May 8, 2007

Michele Johnson wrote:
I just had a brief look at your CV. You're on the right track! Here are some general suggestions:


Hi Michele,

thank you very much for your detailed suggestions!

1) Unless you have a PhD or similar, I feel 4 pages is too long. You risk TLDR reactions (too long, didn't read). If you can, get it down to 1 page, 2 pages max with the main info on page 1. The order is fine as far as I'm concerned (recent work first, then education, which is not as important in this case).


Do you think it is not so important because I don't have a corresponding education?

2) I think you should definitely consolidate the initial information. Maybe put your name at the very top centered, then half of your contact underneath at the left, the other half directly adjacent at the right.


I wanted to follow the suggestion of Michael's CV article to include full address for convenient copy&paste. But you are right, it is way to spacy now, especially if I have to reduce it to 2 pages.

3) Have I understood that you did not complete a university degree?


Gotcha! I have everything but one class, even my thesis.

...The only red flag might be that it looks like you studied for 9 years at a Fachhochschule but didn't end up with a degree.


Ok, I spend one year at university, one year I spent for the other course, but it is true: I spent seven years at Fachhochschule without degree.

Many American colleagues in fact leave out specific dates to avoid age discrimination. Usually this works because they can just say "B.A. in YYY, XXX University." I don't know how you could work this in but it might be worth thinking about.


That is a good idea. Anyway it is a shame that studying without degree seems be worth nothing. In IT it is not so uncommon to start from university into self-employment without certificate. These seems to be different here. And I had the concern not to mention it at all. I will give it a second thought.
In German I would say: Studied Economics at University of Applied Sciences. When I don't add the degree, it is obvious that I don't have one. If I can avoid the dates, it is not so negative.

4) As a potential employer, I need to know what it is you do as one of my first impressions. From your CV, it is not clear. If you don't have any degrees that make it obvious, I might put centered right underneath your name "Translator, Localizer, E-Learning Expert" or similar, then maybe "DE (native), English, French." Sort of like a tagline.


That is a good point. I was afraid it breaks the usual structure of the CV.

5) I wonder if you could consolidate your work experience. For instance, instead of an individual line for each website and what exactly you did, you could say "Authoring, translation, correspondence, .... for the websites aaa.com, bbb.de, ccc.be". This provides accurate information, saves space, yet would pique my curiosity as a potential employer.


I will do this.

6) The skills look fine. I'm not sure what you mean by SDLX and Trados in parentheses (or any of the other software in parentheses). What does that mean? You have experience in them but don't own them?


Yes, I know them but so far I haven't used them for a whole localization project. Anyway, I would. This is one of the reasons I go freelance, to work actively with products in real life I typically would not use. I think this is the best way to figure out the advantages and disadvantages of a software tool.

7) Minor things: I would say "a Unix app", and "app" sounds a bit informal to me (application?). Don't know exactly what a "Euro IT specialist" is but it sounds fabulous so I would emphasize that earlier in the document (like in your "tagline".)


This sounds much better than it is. It was 9 months full-time school plus 3 months project. Ok, I learned software development there, but naturally the education at Fachhochschule was better.

Don't be discouraged. I know how hard it is to write a CV in a foreign language, make all those degrees sound general yet meaningful enough, etc. Good luck!


I'm not. Thank you for the valuable input.


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too long, probably too detailed too May 9, 2007

Hello Renate,

I feel I have a similar "problem" with my CV, and from the previous comments I also discovered a couple of points of improvement for mine.

A story: the reader point of view:
--------------------------------------------


Years ago I worked in an IT company and took part in the recruitment of students for in-company practices, graphical designers and programmers.

After I left, the first time I did it for myself, I wanted to hire a programmer. I posted a short but detailed advertisement describing 4 must-have conditions. As a result, in 10 days I received 900 CVs!!!! Around 600 did not accomplish 2 of 4 conditions. Very few had a reasonable profile, less than that included a cover letter with SOME sense and free of writing horrors, and only a dozen were really interesting. I spent a dreadful week to go through the pile !!!

After repeating this, now I know that around a half CVs can be discarded without opening (just reading the cover letter). Most of the rest are discarded after a fast reading, trying to locate just basic points like relevant training or alternate experience, or a consistent career path without gaps.

After this, there's a(n incredibly) small group of CVs which are "worth reading".


Therefore, my suggestions:
----------------------------------


- AYEEE: A 4-page CV frightens anyone hiring an employee. Therefore, I agree with all consolidation / summarizing suggestions. I DO have a Ph.D., and this does not fill up 4 pages without killing the reader, either.

I would add this, just in case cutting something still hurts you...

- When rewriting it, keep in mind that, as a freelance, you are (just) a PROVIDER, so that your CV is more a "corporate yourself" brochure than a CV to apply for a permanent position. (I said your case, it's ours, really)

- Dear lady, you finished your studies 15 years ago. It's about time you forget that, because you have more relevant experience after that, and more relevant to your job as a freelance (!). Therefore, I would cut out everything that is not strictly relevant to what you studied. Look: I also worked as a lab helper during my studies, but this does not impress anyone looking for an EN->ES translator for an installation manual.

- As far as jobs are concerned, I would never provide such detail in what you did for every employer, including customer names and project content details. I would center on the sort of tasks (i.e. "Software and web localization from xx to yyy") and a short list of customers, or web sites, or industry sector, if they are really worth showing. Just a description of what the company does and which has been YOUR ROLE in there is quite enough.

- Regarding the previous point, keep in mind that providing such detailed project descriptions you could be breaking confidentiality agreements between your hirer and their customers (!). Many hirers do not appreciate this so much.

I hope it helps!!!!

Ruth @ MW

[Edited at 2007-05-09 09:28]


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ReginaS  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:27
English to German
Europass CV May 9, 2007

The following website offers a CV form in all EU languages for download:
http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/europass/home/hornav/Downloads/EuropassCV/CVTemplate/navigate.action

Regards, Regina


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