ATIA Blog: Essential Tips for Writing Your Translation CV

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Translation agencies and organizations looking to hire in-house translators tend to receive a high volume of applications, even on a weekly basis. It becomes increasingly important then to ensure that your CV stands out in all the right ways. But what does this mean? Below, we explore the “dos and don’ts” of translation CVs.

Do:

  • Highlight your assets in education and experiences. It is not unusual to put the most relevant education and work in bold to draw the hiring officer’s eye to that first and foremost.
  • Tell them a bit about yourself. The most important part of your CV is you and you are what will make it stand out from the rest! Take the time to write a short description of yourself that includes your motivations, skills and language combinations.
  • List your relevant work experiences from the most recent to the oldest examples
  • Include your published materials, being clear to highlight any books or peer-reviewed articles, research work and translations. If you can include links to each item, this will help your case in terms of ready accessibility for the hiring officer
  • Include your professional associations, including your level of certification with ATIA
  • List your relevant education experiences from the most recent to the oldest examples.
  • Include any relevant awards, scholarships, bursaries or other recognitions you have received.
  • Be specific about your language skills including listing your specialized translation fields (such as medical, court etc), as well as the language combinations you hold and your level in each combination.
  • Include information about your computer skills including (but not limited to): knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite or its equivalences (Mac OS, Google, etc); CAT tools or other management systems you may use; and any web skills you have.
  • Include a few other small details that help you stand out. These can be some of your interests, as well as other assets you have such as a driver’s license, if relevant.

Don’t:

  • Exceed 2 pages. One page is preferable.
  • Mess with formatting. Avoid strange fonts or making things difficult to read. Do not use colours or decorative elements to stand out – this just makes your CV look like it is not polished.
  • Include a photo of yourself. This will get you sent directly to the “toss” pile, no matter how perfect you are for the posting. It makes employers uncomfortable to see a picture of you which could influence how you and your application are received.
  • Include every job you have ever had in your “work experience” section. It isn’t relevant that you were a barista 8 years ago and worse, it can make your CV looks muddled. The “translation” to the hiring officer is that you aren’t very focused on your translation career.
  • Don’t include your grades with your education experiences. It takes up space and is not necessary unless you graduated with honours or distinction.
  • Write a separate cover letter – not many officers the time to read these anymore, especially if they receive a stack of them every week. A short email with your basic personal introduction, and some highlights from your attached CV are enough.
  • Forget to attach the CV. Everyone makes this mistake at some point and some places are more forgiving than others but it is best if you don’t make this mistake.