Friday, March 19

Put Your Best Face Forward

With unemployment at an all time high, many professionals, including interpreters and translators, are discouraged by the overwhelming number of job seekers and the scarcity of job opportunities. During this time of economic uncertainty, it is important to put your best face forward and finesse your resume to make you stand out from the rest.

Employers and recruiters receive hundreds of resumes per day and do not have time to completely review all submissions. Upon receiving your resume or application, they will quickly skim through it and make a snap judgment about your qualifications. If they see spelling mistakes or unrelated job titles or skills the likelihood is very high that they will make an immediate assumption that you do not meet the requirements for the job you want.

Remember, a resume has one main purpose: to get you an interview. If you want to land an interview, your resume must convey the most relevant information in a clear, concise, intelligible, and organized fashion. In order to avoid a premature rejection, I’ve compiled the following tips which will help you land the interpreting job you seek.

Tips for successful resumes

* A resume is not about your previous jobs; it is about you and how well you performed in those jobs. So instead of simply listing your responsibilities (i.e. interpreting), include on-the-job accomplishments.

* Learning how to analyze the keywords that employers provide in the job descriptions is an essential element in creating powerful resumes. For example, if a Medical Interpreter job description states they want someone familiar with interpreting protocols and standards, you should state that you are a CHIA, NCIHC, or IMIA member and whether you have attended one of the CHIA Standards workshops.

* Tailor every resume to each job you apply for. A generic resume deserves a generic response, “the circular file.”

* Proofread and spell-check before submitting. Interpreters and Translators are language professionals, as such, if you don’t know how to use the written word, it will be assumed that you are not up to par for the job.

* Maintain a consistent format throughout your resume (If you start off with 11/2009, don’t write Nov. 09 later)

* Computer skills are a requirement for any job, including interpreters. You will most likely have to record interpreting or translation assignments into a database or you will have to use a word-processing application to draft your translations. It is imperative that you list the computer applications you are familiar with and your level of proficiency.

* Neither overstate nor understated qualifications. If you are not proficient in a second or third language, don’t claim to be. One semester of French does not make someone proficient.

* What if you are a student and don't have any interpreting experience? GET SOME! Find a place that will let you do some volunteer work. Consider volunteering at a local hospital, clinic, school, non-profit organization or get involved with your local Interpreting organization.