The Importance of a well-presented CV when applying for a job in Translation

First impressions count, and the first impression that we have of you, is going to depend on how you present your CV.

Even the best written CV can be let down by a lack of presentation. The formatting of a CV will jump out before the content does.

Our initial review takes us only a few seconds examining a CV, so it is imperative that it makes an immediate impression.

Attention to detail and presentation are critical elements when applying to a job in the translation services industry because not only is your CV a representation of you – in translation it is a representation of what your work will be like.


Consistency of Headers/Timeframes

“Sept 09 – November 2010” – In this case you will see that the month and year have been shortened in the first instance and not in the latter. The format for the times and dates should be consistent all throughout the document. If you are going to use numerical dates, be sure to keep this format throughout the document.


Underlining and Capitalisation

Words that are underlined and or capitalised are more difficult to read so this practice should be avoided where possible.


Font Type/ Colour

Use standard business types where possible. Using two or more fonts within a document renders the document aesthetically messy so try to stick to one font or two at the most. Try to also use the same font in your cover letter and your CV.


Naming of File

When we receive CV with a strange file name, we are immediately suspicious. For example: “rubber_tyres_car_sales” or “widgets Ltd”. Equally “CV Mary 3”, “Mary Translation CV” or “Mary_EUROPASS_20160503” suggests that Mary is randomly applying to a job in the translation industry. Suggest including your full name as the name for the file and the word CV or resume if you like, and possibly your locale and language pair.


Email Address

It is surprising how many CVs are sent from a different email address other than the address stated in the CV. If a person emails with their CV from a Hotmail address but the email address on their CV is Gmail, It immediately raises questions about the person’s ability to organise and be consistent in their correspondence. The email address itself should also be professional rather than a funny or childish email address.



Correct spacing is critical in your CV. Alarm bells ring in the Translation Services industry if there are spacing issues in a CV as all documents should be in pristine condition with no extra spaces. One word which is not spaced correctly can make the CV look like it has been completed in a careless manner.

Large areas of white space or blank pages at the end of a document should be avoided where possible.


Spelling and Grammar

Correct spelling and Grammar is critical. CVs and applications with spelling or grammar errors are immediately eliminated. Check the spelling and grammar in your CV, use the target locale and appropriate vocabulary as appropriate, be careful to avoid EN_US spelling in Ireland & GB. This also applies to form, syntax, tone and terminology.


Who created the File?

We review a lot of CVs every day for translator (and interpreter) positions, we often check to see who created the file. If you are unable to create a CV yourself and you need the help of a third party to create it, there might be a chance that you are unable to format/create documents and this is a skill that is paramount to the translation services industry. See also file naming above.


In Summary…….

It is important that all the years that you have been working and studying are represented well in your CV.

Focus on creating a document that isn’t a solid block of text.

Showcase your own skills as well as your formatting skills by using bulleted lists and smart sectioning.

It takes very little time before before we make an initial “Fit / No Fit” decision. That means presentation of information is of paramount importance.

Format for impact.

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