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  3.3 - What if I don't have lots of experience?

Writing your résumé can be a daunting process and it doesn't help to know that recruiters spend only a few seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision on possible candidates.

You may wonder what to do if you don’t have enough experience to add in your résumé. In fact, we all start with little or no experience until we get the chance to gain some substantial practical experience. The question is how to get that opportunity. Is it luck?

There are 2 main things you can do when your work experience is not the strong section in your resume.

To begin with, focus on your skills set. In my opinion, many companies are looking for young professionals without much experience but with loads of initiative, enthusiasm, flexibility and willingness to learn about the translation market. Your résumé is the tool to demonstrate these employability skills and capabilities. Translation companies are looking for translators with a positive attitude: a ‘can do’ approach, good work ethic and willingness to learn. Reliability and flexibility are crucial if you would like to work remotely. Below is a list of ways to show employability skills and capabilities:

  • Show initiative: suggest a phone call/skype call to get to know you better.
  • Show enthusiasm: mention an interesting article you read in the company’s blog, twitter or Facebook page.
  • Flexibility: highlight cases/examples in which you were flexible due to tight deadlines.
  • Reliability: mention how important it is for you to respond to work assignments and requests by being cooperative and available. Mention how companies can contact you at any time and the best way to contact you (mobile phone, WhatsApp, skype, email, etc.).

The second thing you should do is to emphasize your academic background and other activities. As your education may be one of your biggest accomplishments, it should be highlighted and placed at the top. Also include scholarships, honours, or awards related to your academic background. I also recommend including a list of relevant courses you have taken and conferences you have attended. These courses should be tailored to translation. It’s an excellent way of showing that you are up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry.

If you belong to professional organizations or hold professional certificates or licenses, highlight them as well. Include memberships and the importance/authority of that organization in the translation or linguistic domain. For example if you are a member of the ATA, in parenthesis put “The American Translators Association”. This organization is very well known but there are others that are very important/prestigious in some countries but might not be known by the person that is reading your résumé and it will be just an unknown acronym and you will miss the impact that you are looking for. Something else you can do is to list activities or groups with which you may be involved and also volunteer positions.

In conclusion, writing your resume without much work experience can be difficult but if you follow these tips you will position yourself as a professional worthy of serious consideration.