Degree and skills but no eye-catching resume
Thread poster: Lidys Hernández
Lidys Hernández  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 16, 2016

Dear colleagues

After many years working as Marketing Assistant, Sales Assistant and Customer Service employee in Belgium , I have decided to become a freelance translator English-Spanish, Dutch- Spanish.

I have majored in English Language and Literature at the University complemented with one year Translation and one year Interpreting. My mother tongue is Spanish. Without any doubt I have chosen for the studies I had always wanted to follow. Due to personal reasons, I started doing jobs totally different from what I had studied. But I cannot stop thinking about doing what I really love to: translate. I made up my mind and I am going for it.

The problem is: How can I get job opportunities here sending a résumé showing professional experience other than that of a translator. The worst thing is, I do have experience but it was part of the job as Marketing Assistant ! How can I get the attention if they only see the activities related to my experience as employee?

Thank you in advance!


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:40
German to English
Other experience not bad Jul 16, 2016

It's not bad to have experience in other areas. In fact, it can really be seen as a plus point for clients. Talk up your professional experience in your cover letter, something like:

My X years of Task 1 and Task 2 as a Sales Assistant for Company A gave me insight into the work and language of sales/marketing/whatever.

If you have experience translating (obviously mention that) AND you have experience in a non-translation field, that actually can give you an edge over competitors who have only done translation. Don't see it as a deviation from your translation career, see it as the path you chose to get practical professional experience in the areas of translation in which you want to specialize. Then sell it to your potential clients as such.

[Edited at 2016-07-16 12:12 GMT]


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Lidys Hernández  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Other experience not bad Jul 16, 2016

Thanks Kelly! I will think for your about that when writing my letter.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:40
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'm flummoxed! Jul 16, 2016

I won't go through selecting quotes (not easy on my phone) but your post is absolutely chock-full of proof of skills, abilities and even experience as a translator! I thought I was about to read about someone 'passionate about languages' but a school-leaver with no useful qualifications and no experience. That's when the CV is problematic.

Forget all the 'rules' about job-seekers' CVs and write yourself a marketing document that tells potential clients what they want to hear. Maybe make it look sufficiently like a CV to interest agencies who like to see themselves as our bosses - if you're prepared to dance to their tune in the early days. Track down the Wiki article here on ProZ.com that give tips for a freelance translator's CV (under the Education tab, among the Wiki marketing articles). I wrote it.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Advantage Jul 16, 2016

What you think is a disadvantage is actually an advantage.

Having a qualification as a translator is quite useless unless you have solid experience of translating particular document types in specific areas of activity.

Your background as a Marketing and Sales Assistant and in Customer Service means that you can immediately offer those areas, and related areas, as your fields of specialisation.

Given that in the post-industrial Western world our economies are largely based on retail and consumption, this should bring you plenty of translating work.

You don't need letters after your name or a piece of paper that says you are qualified as a translator. Most clients don't care about that. What they're looking for is proven skills at actually delivering professional-quality translations.


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Jane Phillips  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:40
Member (2013)
French to English
Absolutely Jul 16, 2016

I can only repeat what others have already said (just in case you more confirmation). I did do a Master in Translation and then launched myself out in with what really amounted to zero translating experience and a probably less than zero confidence level that anyone could possibly want to employ me, particularly given that French>English translators are not exactly a rare breed. What I did have plenty of actual work experience in various fields and that was what interested the agencies, being able to produce professional documents in my target language.

Go for it!!


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:40
German to English
+ ...
create that eye-catching profile - sales pitch Jul 16, 2016

I've avoided the word "resume" because too often people will follow the format of resumes that we are taught. When you freelance you are not trying for employment and what you create should not resemble the CV or resume. It is more like you are creating a brochure where prospective clients will find the information they need to see most, along with things that make you stand out. Put yourself in the place of clients and think of what they need and are looking for.

Some of the things clients need in a translator:
- excellent language skills and knowledge of how to translate (you have proof of both in your background)
- experience in the real world, so that you can put yourself in the shoes of the client
- concrete experience and training in a particular field/fields which can also be a specialization of yours

Other less concrete attributes is that you are reliable, timely, care for your client's needs etc. Your brochure / resume etc. should be easy to read, not too wordy, with needed information easy to find at a glance. Do not sound timid, uncertain, needy for work, even if you feel any of those things, because a client wants to feel his work is in good, confident hands of someone who knows what he's doing. Plus uncertainty makes those who exploit translators think you are an easy pushover. You have some strong credentials there!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:40
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, it is definitely hard to write a good resume or Jul 17, 2016

CV even if you have the skills and experience. Perhaps you could look at some good examples of professionally done resumes. Mine is not too good because I get bored writing about things like experience and stuff.

Your working in another field is just to your advantage, I think. I have also done some serious years of document drafting (litigation) when I was in my twenties. Good luck. This is why it is very easy for me to translate legal documents.

[Edited at 2016-07-17 07:27 GMT]


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Lidys Hernández  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all!! Jul 17, 2016

It is really amazing to read all these opinions here. Thank you all! This makes me see things from a totally different perspective.

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