Sending CVs to Agencies
Thread poster: Marco Antonio Fernández Lago

Marco Antonio Fernández Lago  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
English to Spanish
Oct 26, 2010

Hi,

Do you have any tips for sending CVs to agencies? Aare there in your experience, better times in the year to do this? Is it advisable to call them more than once?


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Starting a business Oct 26, 2010

CVs are irrelevant for freelance translators. I did not have one for over 10 years, but finally created one because for some reason agencies keep asking for it, but it contains no useful information beyond what is available in my profile, on my website and in my business brochures.






[Edited at 2010-10-26 14:04 GMT]


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:28
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
it depends .. on a lot of factors Oct 26, 2010

So do you send your CV when you are looking for work (i.e. have no current jobs), or when you are planning for the month(s) ahead?

generally "new" translators are needed during big holidays: summer , x-mas,
but whether they actually have time to take a look at your CV during these busy times...

The best time to send a CV is:
- when the CV is error free
- when you are available for work
- when they need you (luck plays a big factor here)

Ed


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Member (2008)
Italian to English
When Oct 26, 2010

Marco Antonio Fernández Lago wrote:

Hi,

Do you have any tips for sending CVs to agencies? Aare there in your experience, better times in the year to do this? Is it advisable to call them more than once?


In my own (limited) experience there is no particularly good time to do this. I have found that agencies may contact me many months after receiving my CV.

In other words they will contact you when they need you. I'd say it wouldn't be a good idea to keep pestering them with calls asking for work, as this could create the impression that you are desperate and would therefore be willing to work for very low rates.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 17:28
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Declining rates Oct 26, 2010

Yes, CV is for lower and lower rate. Agencies seek new translators for budget jobs, even in Asian language pairs.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Drew MacFadyen
Local time: 06:28
SITE STAFF
ProZ.com training and videos on designing your CV for the translation industry Oct 26, 2010

Hi Marco - you may wish to check out some of the ProZ.com training content we have available specifically on how to design your CV, how to market to agencies, how to STAND OUT.

Here are a few quick links
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/3919-design-your-cv-for-the-translation-industry
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/3946-20-tips-and-templates-to-write-that-killer-marketing-email
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/3235-how-to-work-for-translation-agencies-competences-and-marketing
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/3518-be-special-standing-out-in-the-language-services-industry

You can find all of those courses and more at http://www.proz.com/translator-training

We even have some packages that combine multiple training videos at a discounted price - http://www.proz.com/translator-training/packages/

Good luck,

Drew


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't send any CVs Oct 26, 2010

I wouldn't bother sending any CVs by post or email.

Do something far more effective instead - go and visit them. You are in Madrid, so take advantage of your location.

By visiting agencies you will be able to evaluate them and they will remember you.

Yes, some will be rude and tell you to go away, but others will be generous with their time.

Before setting out, you should have a very clear idea what you can do, and how much you are going to charge.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't send any CVs Oct 26, 2010

As the co-owner of a small but reasonably successful team, I receive lots and lots of CVs every month, even if we haven't asked for CVs for about a decade. Do we pay any attention to them? Unfortunately not in most cases.

I only look at CVs in more detail and even email or call to ask things when the person lives very near our place, thinking that perhaps some day we might need help in our office (we do everything in-house).

To me, modern marketing for translators does not include sending out CVs, but mostly spending time in translator portals, blogging, and contacting direct customers in your industries of expertise. Only this way you will be contacted by interesting colleagues, agencies, and companies who will value you as a person and a professional. When I need help with some language pair other than my own, I check portals like Proz.com and do a translation test with a few suitable candidates. I would very rarely remember the CVs I have received.

You certainly must have a nice-looking, clear, well-written CV, but only to send it out when someone asks for it.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
English to Arabic
+ ...
Don't send any CVs (3) Oct 26, 2010

Agencies receive dozens of CVs every day of the year, and as Tomas pointed out, it is highly likely that these don't ever get opened.

In my experience, a concise email in which you sum up your previous experience, qualifications and rates is much more effective. You can offer to do a test translation (if that's something you're prepared to do).

Don't expect an overwhelming response though. If my experience is anything to go by: When I started out, I sent emails to around 50 UK agencies. Around 35 never replied, a handful replied saying they don't work in my language combinations (or don't need translators at present), and the rest said they added me to their database. Of these 3-4 started sending me work within a short time, and that was enough for me to get started.

Since then, as others have pointed out, it was through sites like Proz, the ITI database and colleague recommendation that over 90% of my new work has come. I have never had to send out emails to unknown agencies again.


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belitrix
Local time: 12:28
German to Italian
+ ...
Working as a freelancer since 30 years Oct 26, 2010

How should we provide a CV with references. It's just ridiculus, I think.

Should we ask our businesspartners to give us their ok??

I was astonished, that agencies asked for my CV. Shortly I had a certain lack of business because of the global business situation. I wondered about offers asking for CVs.

Shall we ask our business partners to provide our references?


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Marco Antonio Fernández Lago  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 26, 2010

Wow, thanks a lot for your insights. I was actually pretty confused as to what the best way to present a CV was or whether it made a lot of sense (since it's difficult to compress your experience and knowledge as a freelancer in it). References are another problem, of course. I find your advice makes a lot of sense. I also didn't know about the training contents in Proz!

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Googling for it Oct 27, 2010

Marco Antonio Fernández Lago wrote:
Are there in your experience, better times in the year to do this?


I'm not sure about the time of year, but there does seem to a time of week and time of day restrictions. Google for it:

http://www.google.com/search?q=best%20day%20of%20the%20week%20to%20send%20an%20application

What applies to e-mail marketing might also apply to sending CVs to agencies. On the other hand, an agency *expects* to receive e-mail from translators, so for an agency the translator's e-mail is not the same as a random marketing message, and perhaps the rules that apply to marketing messages might not apply to agency applications.

No-one is going to file marketing messages into a separate folder to read later. But... if an agency regularly gets applications from translators, they might do just that. This means that one of your primary objectives is to prevent the agency from not regarding your mail as an application. For this reason, I'd always mention "freelance translator" and the language combination right there in the subject line, so that the person receiving the mail can do the right thing with it immediately, without having to open it or even to think about it. If the agency specialises in a certain field (e.g. medicine) and you can do that, put that word in the subject line too (but keep the subject line reasonably short).

As to whether to send a CV unannounced, well, my opinion is that you should never send attachments with an e-mail if this hasn't been requested.


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