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What goes in your CV?
Thread poster: Inez Ulrich

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:44
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Jul 8, 2017

Hi there,

so far I never had any problems with my, well, quite reduced CV. In fact, it is only a summary of my professional experience (from university until present).

A few days ago my application for a translation job was declined by an agency. This was the second job I applied to and the second that was declined. Normally no problem - but this time I really wanted that job and decided to ask what it was why they declined my application. They were very nice and told me that I had only one feedback here on Proz (even though I provided them with more feedback from TranslatorsCafe and another platform) - which is true, I always forget to request feedback, here and on the other platforms - and that my CV was so short and that they prefer to know more about their translators as they are working really closely with them.

So, what is in your CVs?

Best,
Inez


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:44
Member
Italian to English
Why should they hire you? Jul 8, 2017

A lot of translators nowadays seem to see resumes as some kind of lumbering dinosaur... a useless beast best put to rest. I disagree - I think it's a marketing document that gives you a huge amount of freedom as to how you market your skills, and it's a freedom that we should take advantage of!

A well-put-together CV shows potential agencies and clients that you've thought critically about what what makes you unique and why they should give you work, thus it should give them a compelling reason to do so! I started mine with my name, tagline and email address, followed by a paragraph summarising my key strengths and skills. I then list my qualifications, details of CPE done recently, then my volunteer work that I consider relevant to my translation business. My full personal details go at the end.

Having looked at your CV, I think you need to overhaul it, and show why you think the person you're sending it to should give work to you rather than someone else. My advice would be to have a look around the site at various profiles of people who work in your fields of expertise, and see how they've put theirs together.

Marta Stelmaszak has put together an excellent e-book on CV writing for freelance translators, which you can download for free here.

Best of luck!

[Edited at 2017-07-08 10:41 GMT]


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:44
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jul 8, 2017

Thanks, Fiona!

I guess, I didn't re-work it because I have more than enough work since months, so my existing one was always enough. But it won't hurt to improve it a bit, for sure.

Best,
Inez


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
See your CV through a client's eyes Jul 8, 2017

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
A lot of translators nowadays seem to see resumes as some kind of lumbering dinosaur... a useless beast best put to rest. I disagree - I think it's a marketing document that gives you a huge amount of freedom as to how you market your skills, and it's a freedom that we should take advantage of!

I totally agree. It's a tremendously flexible document that, along with the ProZ.com "About me" section and similar texts, can help us both get jobs, but can also prevent us getting them.

The problem is that there are so few rules. No template is going to do justice to your own unique circumstances and style. But there are a few things to avoid:
- It must not resemble a job-seeker's CV in any way. Don't let clients think you're looking for a boss icon_smile.gif.
- Every word must count. Despite the name, this is not the story of your life! Redundant, repetitive, irrelevant and negative words all have to go.
- It must be really polished in all ways - no typos or other errors; perfect formatting; delivered as a PDF or similar format that will appear as you designed it whatever their computer's settings.

So, what does the potential client need or want to see? It varies of course - you can only give them the truth (although you can put some spin on it icon_wink.gif). Consider:
- What you do. If your CV doesn't say in big bold letters at the top that you're an X to Y translator, you're already losing the plot.
- Your specialisations.
- Your translation experience (freelance, in-house, voluntary - they all count). An overview plus a few notable texts/projects/clients is a good idea, but it will vary.
- Your relevant qualifications. Depending on what they are and how much experience you have, these may take a lot of space at the top early in your career and move lower and compress later on.
- Any other relevant work experience. This could be very relevant, such as subject area jobs or any with a language element, to ones such as teaching or managing - skills that always come in useful.
- Contact details. I wouldn't give the full postal address but they need to know country and time zone. I don't store my email address or telephone number online but I do tell them where they can contact me (my ProZ.com profile link). The version I attach to emails has more personal information.

See the Wiki on ProZ.com: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Creating_an_effective_CV_/_resume


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:44
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, too! Jul 8, 2017

Thanks, Sheila - a lot of valuable info!

I really have to inest some time and create something good. That is something I always abhorred, my whole life. But on the other hand, i do have my dates already compiled in my resume, so it shouldn't be hard to combine my usual cover letters and these info and creeate something nice out of it.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
CV or brochure? Jul 8, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

See the Wiki on ProZ.com: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Creating_an_effective_CV_/_resume


What is described in that article seems to be more of a brochure than a CV.

A CV is “a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications and previous occupations", as the article says.

So are we supposed to send a brochure when asked for a CV? They are two different things, and if we send a brochure masquerading as a CV, isn't there a risk that the client will think "he doesn't even know what a CV is"?


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:44
Member
English to Italian
Answer in the article Jul 8, 2017

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

See the Wiki on ProZ.com: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Creating_an_effective_CV_/_resume


What is described in that article seems to be more of a brochure than a CV.

A CV is “a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications and previous occupations", as the article says.

So are we supposed to send a brochure when asked for a CV? They are two different things, and if we send a brochure masquerading as a CV, isn't there a risk that the client will think "he doesn't even know what a CV is"?


The article does already answer that: "Now, a freelance translator is not in the position of “applying for a job” so, strictly speaking, does not require a resume. However, a freelancer does require a document of some form to act as a sales and marketing tool in support of their claim to specific areas of competence and experience. Some freelancers prefer to call it their brochure or profile, but most agencies insist on using the term CV/resume".

And I tend to agree, since we are in fact not applying for a position as employees, but just marketing our services to potential clients... although, yeah, perhaps some freelance translators tend to see themselves as quasi-employees (without benefits) and some agencies tend to see them as a 'disposable version' of employees...


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Misuse of the word CV, then? Jul 8, 2017

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

See the Wiki on ProZ.com: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Creating_an_effective_CV_/_resume


What is described in that article seems to be more of a brochure than a CV.

A CV is “a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications and previous occupations", as the article says.

So are we supposed to send a brochure when asked for a CV? They are two different things, and if we send a brochure masquerading as a CV, isn't there a risk that the client will think "he doesn't even know what a CV is"?


The article does already answer that: "Now, a freelance translator is not in the position of “applying for a job” so, strictly speaking, does not require a resume. However, a freelancer does require a document of some form to act as a sales and marketing tool in support of their claim to specific areas of competence and experience. Some freelancers prefer to call it their brochure or profile, but most agencies insist on using the term CV/resume".

And I tend to agree, since we are in fact not applying for a position as employees, but just marketing our services to potential clients... although, yeah, perhaps some freelance translators tend to see themselves as quasi-employees (without benefits) and some agencies tend to see them as a 'disposable version' of employees...


It's not because we are not applying for a job that our “course of life”, education, qualifications and previous occupations are suddenly transformed into something else, and nowhere does it say that a CV can only be used to apply for a job.

Shouldn't we, as translators, be the first not to misuse words and call a brochure a CV if it isn't actually a CV?

Or do all outsourcers automatically mean "brochure" when they say "CV"?


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It was just an excuse Jul 9, 2017

My view of this situation is that the customer simply preferred the other translator (for whatever the reasons) and used the short CV as a way out of the conversation. Do not get too obsessed with the length of your CV. If you can excuse the rude analogy, compare with the obsession of some males with the size of their sexual organs or of females with the size of their breast. A longer CV is not necessarily a better/more attractive CV.

CVs should be short! If you think of it, ads (your CV is basically a special genre of advertising) are really short, and yet they achieve what they were devised for. The trend today is to have a one-page CV where the critical information (your education, other credentials, and main areas of experience) stands out clearly by the means you prefer, e.g. larger font, colour, highlights...

In my opinion, a translator CV with more than two pages gives information that is not that critical and obscures the main facts. It can also be used as a trick: some people write very long CVs adding all sorts of little courses and seminars when they lack relevant higher education, or list all little jobs they did when they feel that their expertise is not that big yet. A shorter CV that packs a punch is definitely the way to go.

[Edited at 2017-07-10 05:55 GMT]


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Only one year of experience Jul 9, 2017

The main problem you have is that you have only 1 year of experience. Agencies focusing on quality require 3, 5 or even 10 years of successful experience!
The number of Wwa is totally irrelevant because it's a bit silly: you shouldn't ask for a WWA for each job you complete! Otherwise, if you have 50 Wwa on your profile, it shows that you have translated only 50 documents in your whole career! The most important thing is the quality of the outsourcer: is it a good outsourcer or is it a budget outsourcer who's only happy because you've accepted a very low rate? Most experienced professional translators have only a couple WWA from reliable agencies even though they've been translating for 20 years!
Beside the quality of the outsourcer, the number of words translated and the difficulty of the translated texts are of paramount importance!

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 13:19 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 13:22 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 13:31 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 13:33 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 13:36 GMT]


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
OT Advice Jul 9, 2017

You should really change the name on you profile because it doesn't sound professional unless you apply at a bakery! Don't mention your shiatsu skills (if applicable) in your resume unless massages are part of the consideration

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 13:47 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:15 GMT]


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:44
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, Jul 9, 2017

David, you are absolutely right about the nick - I chose this at the beginning and thought it would be a nick like in every other platform or forum and then I forgot about it. I'll change thaticon_smile.gif

1 year experience is not exactly true: I've always done translations in my jobs, but as part of my job, not as a translator. So all in all I have about 17 years experience.

As I said before, I don't have too little work, rather the opposite (I have several clients I mainly work for and lots of smaller tasks, so that isn't the problem), but I really wanted this certain job and therefore was curious, when the CV stuff came up. So no need to make a big issue out of this, for there is no need to. It was just an informative questionicon_smile.gif

As for the feedback: these are mostly thos smaller jobs here and there in between my regular work from my 2 or 3 agencies. I think it is nice to have bit of good feedback and I do think that clients have a look at it. So, it's not so silly after allicon_smile.gif

And those low rates were a problem in the beginning, but not anymore, thanks to some good advice from here and having more trust in my capabilities.


[Edited at 2017-07-09 16:21 GMT]


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Lay the emphasis on Jul 9, 2017

your experience and list the most significant translations you've performed and mention the wordcount. Highlight the fact that you've worked for quality outsourcers

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:51 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:52 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:54 GMT]


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:44
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jul 9, 2017

David GAY wrote:

your experience and list the most significant translations you've performed and mention the wordcount. Highlight the fact that you've worked for quality outsourcers

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:51 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:52 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 16:54 GMT]


I already doicon_smile.gif I guess it is all in my cover letters anyway.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
The nick?? Jul 9, 2017

If I were you, I wouldn't mention the nick on my CV ... well, not in the first line, anyway. ☺


[Edited at 2017-07-09 18:13 GMT]


 
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