How not to get a job

July 19, 2011 by admin

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“CV attached”

“I don’t have any experience but…”

“Hi! This is a translator lookin 4 a job and I found ur company on da web. Call me l8r. Bex”

“Dear Vendor Manager.  I learn English since child. I very good translator from Russian and like work with you company…”

Just a few examples of applications received and that I’ve had the (mis)fortune to cast my eye over. Looking after the majority of freelance recruitment for a translation company I come across many applications which make me sigh and reach for the delete button. More often than not I don’t even get to the stage of opening the CV (should one be attached).

If you’ve taken the time to open your computer, connect to the internet, sign into your account, compose an email and attach your CV (although sometimes this is a little too difficult for some people), find an email address for a suitable translation company in a search engine, compose an email (to varying degree of legibility), and click the send button; why not spend an extra few minutes writing a short succinct cover email (no need to attach a cover letter), which you have thoroughly checked for spelling and grammatical errors before sending through cyber space to the inbox of a translation agency?

We receive a significant amount of speculative applications on a daily basis. The sad fact of the matter is that at least fifty percent get sent to the trash can before I get past the first sentence. If the freelancer has put little effort into the (speculative) application why should the recruitment team put any effort into reading it?

It may seem like stating the obvious, but if you are applying for a job as a freelancer (which should be like applying for any other job), for a job where accuracy and language are the main elements of the role, you should be ensuring that your application is typo and error free! It doesn’t bode well if the spell check function has been categorically ignored.

Make it relevant! CVs need to be clear, concise and relevant to the job in question. If you’re applying for a freelance translation or interpreting position your six month stint working in a supermarket or fast-food joint aged 19 is not pertinent.  Show your experience in your field of expertise, back up the claims of the areas you specialise in on your CV. A potential recruiter will not read CVs word-for-word; key words and details of your experience as a linguist will be honed in on and spotted first.

Whilst it is important to show evidence of your specialisations and references in support of your application, listing every translation or interpreting assignment ever completed, making the CV run to 12 pages, is simply a waste of time and space. A recruiter will not get past the first page and miss the translation you did for the UN on page 9.

My advice to freelancers considering a speculative application would be as follows:

  • Research the company you are applying to. Does your skill set match the services offered by the company and the clients they work with? If no, don’t waste time sending something ‘just in case’;
  • Read the company’s website, do they have a recruitment page? Does it offer details of current requirements or information on what should be included in the application? If yes, read it!
  • Keep your email polite, short, relevant and concise. Include any supporting documentation from the offset as attachments to the email. Check through the spelling and grammar of your documents and correspondance.
  • If you decide to call the company first or make a preliminary enquiry by email do some basic research about the company. It’s surprising the number of emails/calls received from potential applicants who aren’t sure of the name of the company, or who get the name wrong.

“I’m calling as I have found your website and would like to know whether you recruit freelance translators?”

“Yes, we do. Please check out our website, and send us an email to:”

“sorry, could you spell that?

“ the name of the company”

“risotto? Is that r-i-s…”



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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

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Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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