Help! Am rubbish at writing my cv!
Thread poster: Sandra Schlatter
Sandra Schlatter  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:12
English to German
+ ...
Apr 12, 2002

Hello everybody!

I am desperately looking for a charitable soul - or somebody who can provide this service for a reasonable fee.

My problem is, as stated above, that I am absolutely rubbish at writing my own cv. I suppose I could do just about anybody else\'s, but not mine... My life does not fit into a cv- or so it seems to me!

So far, I mostly worked for one employer/client at a time, but now I want to establish myself as a freelance translator, hence the need for a newer, better, different cv. The bog-standard chronological listings that I survived on so far will no longer do.

Of course I have a draft- but it\'s rubbish...

I would be very grateful if somebody who has been around in this particular business for a while could have a look at my \"oeuvre\" and comment on it.

I would need some guidance on content (what to put on the cv, what to highlight), layout and language (I would need an English native speaker for the final proofreading).

Basically, apart from the language bit, I need someone to help me think because I have a total block as far as my biography is concerned...

If you feel brave, please e-mail me privately at and let me know how much you would charge for \"proofreading\" a cv.

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Eivind Lilleskjaeret  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:12
Member (2004)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I am, too, it turns out! Apr 13, 2002

I\'d love to help, but I can\'t. I read your posting and thought, well, I can do this, you just send me a list of what you\'ve been up to these past decades, and I arrange it all neatly i categories Work Exp, Edu, and Other ... until my eye snagged on your devastating phrase \"bog-standard chronological listings\". Suddenly a shudder ran through my body, my soul sank: I have been walking unwittingly on the brink of financial and personal ruin all these years with nothing else going for me than a sad, sub-standard CV and, consequently, huge amounts of luck! I may now be just that much closer to understanding what Rilke felt when he ended one of his poems by quite unfashionably stating \"Ich muss mein Leben ändern\".

Enough ranting and raving, but now you know you\'re not alone. Good luck, and my appetite is now whetted for seeing what a professional CV looks like.

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DBG  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:12
Member (2002)
French to English
Try Apr 14, 2002

Hello Sandra,

To start with, I suggest you explore the wealth of free advice offered at, particularly its resume center. There is a list of dilemmas commonly encountered, as well as more general advice (e.g. Rx for a Retro Resume, Tips for Creating a Concise Resume).

As I am still not pleased with my own often- revised CV (see also the difference between CV and US -style resume),I am in the process of rediscovering this resource.

For both of us and no doubt a great many other translators, the traditional purely chronological organization is indeed ineffective. Have you looked into the \"functional\" or \"mixed\" type advised for people who have changed career orientations, have returned to the job market after years away, or who for other reasons want to emphasize skills rather than a straight line of work experience in a given field?

Good luck,

D. Guessous


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:12
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
I can have a look May 2, 2002

Hi Sandra,

Of course I am no professional but if you want I can have a look at your CV. I am pretty good at finding the problems and suggesting some solutions - I\'ve done this for a lot of friends and at least it points them in the right direction - I do not have all the answers, and a CV can be changed everytime you want a specific job...

and best of all - I do it for Free

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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:12
French to English won't help May 2, 2002


To start with, I suggest you explore the wealth of free advice offered at, particularly its resume center.

IMO, will not help service providers draw up a good resume. Freelancers tend to forget that they are business owners running a service business. They do not apply for jobs.

A good resume used to offer your services should be short (no longer than 2 pages), be easy to read and have relevant information. The information you should include in your resume is:

  • contact information (complete mailing address, telephone, fax, cell, e-mail)

  • source and target languages (and it is essential to identify your target language - most often your mother tongue)

  • services offered (do you just do translation or do you also offer interpreting, editing and/or proofeading?)

  • experience (as a freelancer, in-house, etc.). Don\'t include your summer working as a camp counsellor back in the 1980s!

  • certifications or accreditations (not the same as diplomas - that comes later)

  • areas of specialization - be brief and don\'t list all the papers you wrote at university, for example

  • education

  • equipment (software seems to be the most important)

  • any other info you think is necessary (alternate e-mail, daily production, availability, business hours)

Keep in mind that project managers and recruiters at translation agencies as well as company employees (direct clients) are busy, so make it easy for them to get the information they need. A good CV leaves a good impression, and that\'s a great way to start a new business relationship.



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