Let’s face it, the translation market is full of freelancers. Dozens of professionals send out their resumes and wait for employers to pick them from a sea of more or less the same applications.
In this case, your resume, as a tool creating a first impression with an employer, should be competitive and of outstanding quality. Below are some practical ideas for how to write a translator’s resume, based on classic tips, real stories, and opinions of employers on the subject.
There are a few basic ideas that should be a given in order to make your resume a working tool. These recommendations, listed below, are repeated time and time again in numerous sources.
Make it flexible
Unfortunately, you will probably send out your resume to many companies before you are accepted. It is, therefore, beneficial to have a kind of framework that you can adapt for each particular position. In this framework you should include:
● Information that does not change (biographical facts, contact information).
● The general structure of the CV (which you will fill in for each position).
● The most outstanding achievements in the field of translation (so you don’t miss them when you change your resume).
There are several CV templates available online, which can become the basis of your resume framework.
When compiling a CV, make sure that you incorporate all the possible little details that can make a resume easy to track and attractive to an employer.
Some useful ideas to consider:
● Use headings for each section.
● Choose a suitable font (think classics like Arial and Times New Roman).
● Use backlit tricks to highlight your strengths.
● Keep a formal tone.
● Try to use short, sharp sentences.
● Avoid slang and jargon.
● Add charts and graphs (this is not common, so it attracts attention).
● Follow a chronological order and make sure it makes sense.
● Keep it short: no extra adjectives or irrelevant information (two pages is usually considered the maximum length).
Above all remember to proofread, proofread, proofread! As a translator, you are selling your writing skills and an employer won’t trust a candidate whose CV is littered with typos. You can also create your resume online using specialized websites or use the templates they offer.
What to include – Employers’ choice
There’s no one perfect way to make a resume. However, looking at some general recommendations can be useful.
There are certain parts of a CV that every employer expects to see. Therefore, some aspects should be included wherever you send your CV.
● Since recruiters need to contact you somehow, do not forget to leave your contact information: full name, e-mail address, telephone numbers. Your home address and date of birth are optional.
● All the necessary educational information. The main information here is information about your bachelor’s and master’s degrees. For instance, most employers in the US have criteria based on a GPA, which means some employers prefer to hire candidates with a GPA starting at a certain point. So it could be a competitive advantage if you calculate your GPA and mention it in your CV.
● Any relevant work experience. Make a list of all the jobs you have had in order, making sure that everything you mentioned is relevant for the job for which you are applying. It is standard practice to organize employment history from most to least recent.
● References. It is better to have at least two references on your resume. They should be someone who is associated with the position — for example, a professor at your university or a former employer.
● Skills and achievements. This part should be on any resume. What to include depends a lot on the position. Some skills for translators may be cultural awareness, creative writing skills, and simultaneous translation skills. Achievements may also include certificates of proficiency in an international language. Don’t forget to include skills with related computer programs such as CAT tools or word processors.
All the above are usually expected from applicants. Therefore, when recruiters do not see similar headings on an applicant’s CV, they can put it aside without even looking at it. It is also highly recommended to write your language pairs prominently on the resume; if an employer is particularly looking for a Dutch to English translator, for example, they need to be able to see it at a glance.
Optional but effective
Some parts of your CV may not be missed, but if you are sure the information is relevant, then add something from the following:
● Interests and hobbies.
● Volunteer experience and other things that you are proud of and expect to make a difference to your employer.
● A brief, strong introduction.
● Social media links, particularly LinkedIn (something related to the position, such as a blog, can be an advantage).
You must be extremely careful with all the additional information. It should be up-to-date and concise.
Things to consider
Along with sending a resume, it’s a good idea to stay socially active. To make your resume visible and stand out from everyone else’s, you can look for live contact with potential employers. For example, you may attend educational or cultural events that may be attended by employers of interest to you. As well as being a networking opportunity, these events can also be a great place to practice your second language.
The internet has many tips on how to write a resume, however, some mistakes are still quite common among job seekers. Take a look at the following:
● Avoid overusing phrases such as “hardworking” and “multitasking”.
● Do not list the basic skills of a modern person, such as “PC user” unless you can do something professional or unique (for example, if you have advanced skills in a particular area related to a position, it makes sense to mention it).
● Do not list any additional information that is not relevant to the position.
● Avoid lies. With modern resources, information is usually easy to check.
Resumes are documents with a specific structure, they can differ, though not much. Consequently, the risk of making it look like dozens of others is high. It would also be nice to “play” with the structure and headings, provided that all the necessary information is reflected logically.
To sum up
The road to your dream job can be full of surprises, however, it’s likely that on this road towards success, the quality of your resume will play an important role. By avoiding common mistakes and following the necessary advice, you can make your CV competitive, or even outstanding. Use all the guidance we’ve provided, along with your own creativity to make your resume a reliable tool that will distinguish you from others.
If you’re searching for a trustworthy, professional translation service to help you reach new international clients, look no further than BeTranslated. Get in touch for more information or for a free, no-obligation quote today.