How can translators and interpreters increase their chances of employment? Part 2

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Following on from my blog at the end of October Nina and I have now worked hard on her CV, to increase her chances of employment.


Her original CV is a great example of what we often see. A really talented person who does not do justice to their skills in the presentation of their CV.

Your CV is such an important document – so you do need to invest time and effort to make sure it shines.  

Here are some of the tips I passed on to Nina.

The name of your CV document.

Good : Clare_Suttie English to French translator 2012.doc

Bad : CS CV vers 4.doc

Even worse: CV.doc

 Have a header, which will appear at the top of each page (remember, 2 pages maximum is best)

 Example: Clare Suttie, English to French Translator, BA, MA, Dip Trans, MITI

 With these simple steps you are telling the reader who you are and what you do very quickly – before they have even opened or read your CV!

 General layout

This should be simple and clear, easy to follow and easy to read. Not a tiny font. Not text-heavy with long sentences and paragraphs. Bullet points will help, but don’t go crazy and bullet point your life!

As a freelancer you should be aiming to update your CV on a regular basis, at least annually – so it’s best to have it in a format that is easy to update. If you set up a complicated layout it can become cumbersome to maintain. In Nina’s case, she’s using a CV template and when you amend text, it throws everything else and messes up the formatting – definitely time to start again! Use colour sparingly and seek honest opinion if you are experimenting with design.

 Photo or not to photo

The jury’s out on this one! I think no photo. However in some countries it is expected. I can’t help thinking that people make assumptions and judgements based on what you look like. If you are sending CVs in the UK, do not include a photo is my advice.

 Contact details

These days you can choose whether to include your postal address or not. Personally I’d usually recommend including it, as it can give you a common interest with the reader if they know the area. The exception would be if you are applying for jobs but you’re currently living in Wales until you find something in London, or vice versa. In that case I’d leave it out so potential employers aren’t put off by the fact that you live a very long way from where they’d want you to be working.

You do need to include phone number, email address(es). Make sure your email address is professional. If it’s one you set up as a bit of a joke, then set up a new one for work!

Good email address:

Bad email address:

Add in Skype, Twitter, Blogs etc as long as these are in keeping with your professional image. Also include any professional memberships here (they may also be in your header, no harm in mentioning them again briefly for emphasis).

Look out for my next section in a couple of days!


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