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.


anita said...

As someone on the other side, you are absolutely correct. My company, Interpreters Unlimited receives numerous resumes from interpreters and translators. We do read each and every one of them; however, it can get quite cumbersome. Resumes that clearly show experience, language skills, and special interpretation skills and ones that look professional and organized rise to the top. Ones that do not are the ones with spelling and grammar errors (and no experience). YES, we do receive resumes with errors and those go right into the waste basket. So spend time on your resume and have others proofread it since it's just about the only thing we review before even making that first contact.

Translation Services said...

Yes i accept. we are also getting 1000's of resumes per day. But we do not trust everything whet they have mentioned in that. Thats why we ask them to take a small sample test before we assigning any jobs to them!

Milatova said...

I agree anita,

WE are facing the same influx of CVs.
However, I would like to add that, in order to save your time and ours, be prepared to take a short test when applying to a translation agency. If you are not, regardless of how experienced you are and of the quantity of samples and recommendations you can provide, sending your CV is unlikely to earn you a position in a reputable translation company.

Milatova International Translations Ltd said...

CV with mistakes are bad and far too frequent, but, at least, from the receiving end, they waste little time, since they head straight for the bin.

Worse are the translator who have done that homework and come with an impeccabler CV that, unfortunately is not related to anything real.
Those really waste time as theri test come back full of mistakes and they fail at that stage of teh recruitement process.

so please, after having cleaned your CV of all typos and grammar mistakes, check it again to verify that you are indeed able to deliver what you claim.

You'll gain time and respect that way

Gilberto Partida said...

Great Info Nick! I posted this on my blog as well. Hope you don't mind :)

Gilberto Partida
Trilingual Interpreter

CathyB said...

I wasn't aware that the competition is so fierce these days for translators. I thuoght there was plenty of opporyunities??

Troikaa Translation said...

I do agree with you, that a CV has main purpose to get an interview. Although we are in Internet business and don't require personal interview, but indeed we judge from the CV itself. I also like as you mention earlier about job requirement from employer. all needs to make resume as per job requirement and not just one standard resume for all job


Diane said...

This is very good advice. I'd like to also suggest researching the company itself and any specializations or markets it serves. You should also learn if there are required licenses or certifications in that field. This way you will identify if you fit their needs. For example, if you are asking to be considered by a judicial interpreting agency you will need to be either licensed or certified in that state or by the national consortium. And if you have those credentials, place them prominently in your resume and in your cover letter. You will stand out!