Careers In Translation: Resume Repair

Careers In Translation: Resume Repair

You'd be amazed how many people "blowup" at the resume stage. If I can't trust you with your own resume, how can I trust you with many translation tasks? Here are 3 simple resume changes that will maximize your chance of getting to the next step in your translation job search.

1. Tell me simply what box to put you in. Too many people keep their resumes vague and general, hoping to appeal to everyone. Instead, it appeals to no one! Are you a medical translator? Simultaneous Interpreter? Both? Recent graduate trying to get your foot in the door as an intern? I either need you right now or I don't. Remember: People at translation agencies are busy. Make it easy for me to figure out if you fit. If you are mysterious, I may just file you away on the basis that I don't have time for a puzzle right now.

2. Tell me what you've achieved, compared to whom. For instance, too often resumes say: "I have worked in many translation agencies in the past". When they could say this: "I have translated over 100 documents/projects in the past 1-3 weeks, which was 2nd best out of 8 people". If you don't have other people in the department to compare yourself to, try the market. For instance: "I have worked for a well known translation company for the past 2 years, and I have translated over 1000 documents/projects". The bottom line is to give me some context, a basis of comparison. I don't just want to know that you did well. I want to know that you did better than the guy or gal next to you!

3. Leave out fluff and lists of buzzwords. So many resumes are headlined by a huge paragraph of buzzwords like this: Strategic, Leader, Execution-Oriented, Results-Focused, Ethical, Teamwork Oriented, Quantitative Ninja, blah, blah, blah. It is an annoying waste of time. The way I'll decide if you're able to execute is by reviewing your career history and finding out whether you executed. If you were in a job where you had to formulate strategy and your strategy worked, then I'll give you strategic. But you don't get credit for being strategic by typing it in a list at the top of your resume.

Your resume should contain contact info, a brief paragraph telling what box you fit in and what job you're looking for, a list of each position you've held with quantified achievements, and your education. That's it. Less is more. I heard a wit was once asked why he wrote a long book and he replied that he wrote a long book because he didn't have time to write a short one. That is very true. Put more time into your resume so it can say more with fewer words. Quantify your achievements, use comparisons and context, and rewrite anything that is vague and general. Translation companies are looking for people who get stuff done and that includes great communicators who can convey all the relevant info with conciseness and context.

Tags: Translation Resume, Translation Resumes, Careers in Translation, Translation Resume Repair, Translation Resume Help, Translator Training.