Do you have any specific tips for writing an effective translation cover letter?
A cover letter is a way to get someone to open up your materials, instead of leaving them in the pile for another day, or, even worse, tossing them without even taking a look at them. So your cover letter needs to hook your reader in its first paragraph. Notice that I’m using “writerly” terms here, as in “hook the reader.” In that first paragraph, you want to make the prospective employer, i.e., the reader, want to keep reading. So give him or her a strong reason to continue. What are strong reasons? For example: the name of the person who suggested you contact the employer; the fact that you met the recruiter somewhere; the fact that you met someone in the company, who referred you to the recruiter; the fact that you’ve specialized in exactly the area they’re expanding into, according to what you just read in an industry newsletter; etc. Make your pitch in that opening-and make it relevant to the prospective employer. Then go on to talk about your strengths, interests, qualifications—whatever things (out of your resume) are the strongest characteristics of your skill set and profile, in terms of what that company will want. You can include general honors and kudos as well (such as voted the “best translator in 2005,” etc.). Don’t forget to thank the recruiter or prospective boss at the end, either.
-By Adriana Tassini
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