The translation career is usually a freelance one.
Email is the Culprit
Email is a blessing and a curse. A blessing, of course, because it speed things up and saves us all from having to hoof it around the city, the country, or even the world in search of work. Where a few decades ago I would have to make dozens of phone calls and make a few office visits to secure enough freelance work to keep me afloat, today I can spend an hour at my computer every day.
But, there are many easy ways to disqualify yourself from potential jobs before you’re really even in the running.
Common Mistakes that Cost You Jobs
Poor Spelling: This ought to never happen – never. But it is distressingly common. In an age where every single application you use on your computer comes with a built-in spell-check, though, there is simply no excuse and misspellings in your emails to prospective clients make you look sloppy and inexperienced, and you won’t even get the chance to demonstrate your high quality translation skills.
Not Paying Attention: Read the client’s email or job posting. I mean, actually read it. A lot of people have lost out on jobs they were perfectly qualified for by making assumptions – ranging from assuming the person in charge of hiring was a man to assuming they knew what the job entailed without actually reading the posting completely.
Being Perfunctory: Don’t just attach a CV and have no message in the body of your email – a brief yet well-written cover letter that is tailored for the specific job should be included as well. And make sure they want your CV or other materials as an attachment – sometimes they will specify everything should be in the body of the email. If you ignore instructions like that, you do so at your peril. Finally, make sure the email is addressed to the correct person, and send it to just that person, with a personalised greeting. If other people also need to be contacted, send them individual emails – the content can be more or less the same, but personalise it slightly for each.
Don’t talk yourself out of a job before you have the chance to be considered! Remember: Take your time. Rushing is your number one enemy.