Poll: Have you ever tweaked your CV/profile to better show that you meet a client's requirements?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:19
Nov 30, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever tweaked your CV/profile to better show that you meet a client's requirements?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alicja Weikop

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


Alicja Weikop  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
English to Polish
+ ...
Not necessarily a bad thing... Nov 30, 2005

Just to clarify the question - I don't necessarily mean tweaking your CV is a bad thing - sometimes you might want to highlight certain experience that you have and which is vital for that particular job - so you move it to the beginning of your cv. Also, one could have several CVs for several different types of jobs.

How about changing your profile just to make a better match for the job?

Is this ethical? Any comments?

[Edited at 2005-11-30 11:07]


Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Adapting Nov 30, 2005

I think the best word for this is "adapting" your CV and it all depends on what is requested from you.

If someone asks for my CV, offering work on, say, medicine only, I highlight the experience I have in medicine and probably only mention very briefly whatever other experience I may have in other fields. The client is only interested in medicine, so they might feel it a bit pushy and boring if you send a long CV about say circulating pumps, IT or subjects that are completely irrelevant to themicon_smile.gif.

I wouldn't change my profile or website though.



Arabella K-
Local time: 15:19
Arabic to English
+ ...
I don't find it a bad thing Nov 30, 2005

I usually make some adjustments to my resume before sending it and I try to underline my experince in the client's fields of interest.
For instance, why would I insist on my RomanianEnglish projects when my client is looking for an ArabicEnglish translator ?

I mention all of my assignments,projetcs and relevant work experience but I only go into details for those that match the client's interests.


John Walsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
Member (2004)
Italian to English
. Nov 30, 2005

It's far from being bad. It just makes good business sense. You have to highlight any information that might help the prospect decide who to assign the project to.


United States
Local time: 06:19
French to English
+ ...
General vs specific - yes it is ethical Nov 30, 2005

This is the appropriate thing to do when one of your skills is quite specific and you would like to highlight it because it corresponds to the client's needs.

It is ethical as long as you are not lying.

Resumés, CVs, profile pages should ALWAYS be 100% truthful, but selective. We all know that we can't include every bit of experience we have EVER had - there isn't enough room; especially if you stick to the one-page CV rule.


marie-christine périé  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
English to French
+ ...
Of course it's ethical! Nov 30, 2005

A profile/CV is just like a shop window or an ad, you chose to put in it what's best and it's only natural to change it to emphasize what's going to interest a particular client.

Not doing it would be just as stupid (IMHO, I don't mean to be offensive) as using it to draw the attention to your weak points. Software is not at all my cup of tea, am I going to boast it in my profile? I just not mention it, what's wrong with that?


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
Italian to English
+ ...
Tweaking is ethical - inventing is unethical Nov 30, 2005

I adapt my CV to meet the client's profile for practically every job, but I never have and never would invent anything on it. The first is just good business sense, as everyone else says.


Victor Potapov
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:19
English to Russian
+ ...
Tweaking = Adjusting = OK, Tweaking = Misrepresenting facts = Lying Nov 30, 2005

Sorry for stating the obvious.

You see, when I first saw this poll, I was actually taken aback by the word choice - and only perceived it in the negative, tweaking = misrepresenting = NOT OK (e.g. like saying you have an MBA when in reality you only attended a pre-MBA course or saying you know French while in fact you plan to outsource all French-related work to a different translator).

Changing\Adapting CV is perfectly fine (Proz.com profile page - not so, as some servers/search engines create cached versions). Deep in my heart I believe every job is unique that's why every time you send a CV (for a full-time position) it should be custom-tailored - but without misrepresentation, of course!

I think misrepresenting the facts is unacceptable - and actually harms the translator - for several reasons including:

1) Ethical. A large part of our "service proposition" is our reputation. It is difficult to build - but awfully easy to destroy. Also, bad news travels in amazing ways - and if a translator "misrepresents" him/herself several times to several agencies he/she runs the risk of building a negative reputation in the whole industry or at the very least in the country these agencies are located.

2) Business. If a lie (and misrepresentation is just a polite way to say this) is uncovered (e.g. when a person claiming to be an MBA fails to do a great business-related translation etc.) the client/agency get hurt. And this creates an avalanche of negatives, including payment problems (or decisions to pay - but discontinue cooperation, which is probably worse), and in extreme cases - legal proceedings. It pays to be honest. You do not need to "misrepresent" yourself to win a job you will fail at - and receive a discounted payment, or no payment, or even (much) worse.

3) Specialization. Translators/interpreters MUST specialize - there is no future in our business without specialization, one cannot compete in generic "do-it-all" translations with translators from low-wage countries. I do not intend to start a discussion of rates here (oh no!) but seriously - without specialization there's no unique selling proposition and there's no compelling reason the clients/agencies should choose you.

If a person fails to speclialize and instead constantly "tweaks" his/her CV or Proz profile - you see, this is not breaking the rules, but it is really counter-productive: the translator dilutes the strength of his/her brand by saying "I do everything A to Z, Aviation to Zoology" - and we all know, a Jack of all trades...

You cannot be great in all areas - and a few areas that you REALLY specialize in - or WANT to specialize in - are easily covered in a resume or on the Proz.com profile page.

Thanks for your time spent reading this - wanted to share my opinion. Any feedback/discussion on this posting is most welcome!


PS for the record: I used to have several versions of my translator CV (for financial, legal, oil&gas and technical translations/interpreting respectively). About a year ago I combined those in one - and found certain synergy between these specializations: often lawyers need financial skills and one investment bank actually decided to use my services based on my experience in oil&gas that matched their needs. If I sent them my old, "financial translations" CV - I am not sure I would have won that job!

PPS I still have three different CVs: translator/interpreter, trainer/lecturer (I teach accounting review programs for accounting certification exams) and financial manager (you just never know when the right job opportunity will turn up). This is for a reason: these are three fundamentally different positions requiring a different viewpoint on my professional experience, achievements and skills.


Margaret Schroeder  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Customizing the cover letter Nov 30, 2005

My CV is general enough to contain the information that I'd like every potential client to know, so it doesn't get changed. What does get adapted is the cover letter.


Arabella K-
Local time: 15:19
Arabic to English
+ ...
Victor, you are right. Dec 2, 2005

Thanks a lot for your time and care to write down your thoughts and opinion.
It is very helpful for someone like me, who have just got into the business, to know how the real professionals act, work and think.
All of my life I have been afraid of becoming a Jack of all trades, and master of none, but soon after taking up translations I realized that no other 'job' could mix things worse than translations.
I think I need some more time to realize that ONE GOOD CV is better than many tiny and unimpressive. And some more time to realzie that I have to specilize, and after all that to see if I can stay in the business and survive or not.

... were just some of a newbie's thoughts.

[Edited at 2005-12-03 02:55]

[Edited at 2005-12-03 02:57]

[Edited at 2005-12-03 02:57]


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Poll: Have you ever tweaked your CV/profile to better show that you meet a client's requirements?

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