The quest for the perfect CV

Do you have a 5-page resume listing all your accomplishments, with your objectives and your address? OK, darling, we need to talk.

When I first started, I was so desperate to add something to my CV, I started listing every single thing I ever did – related or not to translation. I had a 4-page long CV and I started sending it, pointlessly aiming at everyone. Of course it never worked.

I started noticing my clients were assigning projects to me because I sent them my CV. On the contrary – those clients came to me after I completed a form on their website. Hum, so the problem is not my experience, only my skills to show them.

This is how I began my search for the most impressive CV. I don’t think I got it, to be honest, but it has improved A LOT from that my hideous first resume. I begun by downloading resumes from fellow translators who seemed to have a good profile and large experience. I noticed their CVs were very short, 2 pages at most. That is the point where I started wondering why.

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of those people searching for a translator, the vendor manager for instance. So you receive out of the blue a request for Brazilian Portuguese and need to find translators to meed the deadline. Everything has to move fast, so if they receive a 5-page CV, they will most probably erase the file/email and move on. However, if they run into a 1 or 2-page file, they are most likely to stop and read it (briefly).

I started removing pages and trying to concentrate the information as best as I could. I ended up removing the list of former employers, and it seems that translation companies are not interested in this part of my past, since they never requested me this information.

Keep your resume short and simple. The pieces of information should be easily located and visible, with bold or highlight for instance. Put yourself in their shoes for 5 minutes and ponder: what do you need to know in a glimpse about a translator to know if they are qualified and right for that project?

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