How to Write a Cover Letter and CV

When approaching translation agencies or potential customers, such as through my service to more than 10,000 recipients, there are ways you can prepare your cover letter and CV for greater success.

Here are some tips I send to customers using my service:

  • be concise and to the point. The subject of your email should be the same, quickly mentioning your language combinations, specialisations, and price if possible (keep in mind that the visible part of the subject is often limited, depending on recipient email software). Most agencies will respond with an automated email based on the email subject. Your cover letter should not be long winded but simply state your strongest points, naming your number of years experience, specialisations, link to online CV or proz account, and starting or approximate price. The attachment and provided links are already there for details, so best to help them quickly decide how to respond to your approach letter. Send your cover letter to me as an attached Word file so that it copies well into the campaign software.
  • by default the sending software sends your cover letter (the content of your email – not an attachment) without formatting, but if you’d like to present yourself better, simply create a webpage formatted as you like, with pictures and font formatting – the system will send the emails to match exactly that. Or we can convert your letter to an online webpage for $20. To see a test sample of the formatting outcome before campaign launch, temporarily subscribe to the recipient list.
  • CV attachment should be in Word (preferably .doc, not .docx) or PDF format (pdf looks more professional – there are many free services on the internet to convert your Word file to PDF format) – and not too large (instructions here how to resize embedded pictures)
  • you may have multiple attachments, such as your diploma etc., but keep the overall size to less than 300kb (many recipients might not have a fast internet connection and resend having to download large attachments).
  • because of all the fake translator application bombarding the industry, it is better not to use a yahoo, gmail, hotmail or outlook email address as your Reply To, as this is what the spammer agency uses and many recipients might ignore applications coming from those addresses. For a small fee you can buy a permanent forward from me from any of my domains, such as <your.name>@kenax.net, @translationstop.com or @translationpayments.com. This would only be for the initial campaign, after which you can ask your new customers to write directly to your regular account, for faster delivery.

For ideas and samples you may view CVs of previous campaigners
or some of their cover letters.

A new trend has been to create CVs according to Europass format, and some agencies or tenders even require submissions in that format.

In summary, keep in mind that everyone is busy these days and that most agencies will quickly skim through your application and send you an autoresponse of what to do next (such as fill in their online application form and undergo some translation tests in subjects of your choice). Smaller agencies though might be more discerning and only respond to those applicants whose approach and credentials shine. In which case presentation and a well written cover letter and CV, without grammatical errors, is important (I would proofread your submissions and offer you suggestions for improvement).

madmin
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madmin

Head Honcho at KENAX
After translating and managing translation projects for more than 20 years, I'm happy to teach others the ropes and move on to other interests. My greatest perk from this profession is that it has given me the freedom to work when and where I want, and eventually to loosen the straps and travel freely around the world.
madmin
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translation CV campaign