This blog post was long overdue.
In fact, I don’t even know why it took me so long to write it.
During the 8 years since establishing my business in 2008, and up until this very last moment, I have had hundreds of resumes emailed to me from aspiring translators.
In my opinion, expertise doesn’t come only from translating a large amount of pages. Expertise is also gained by learning from the people you deal with.
I will start by giving an example about myself: during my early days of translation, I learned to always confirm safe receipt of the assignment. I later on figured it would also make sense to confirm on-time delivery, which meant confirming that I will deliver by the deadline agreed upon with the client. Eventually, it also made sense to send the translated text to the client and ask them to confirm safe receipt.
This is correspondence 101 in my opinion, and I learned it from the people I was working with. You just have to notice how they write their emails and compare it to your way of writing, and as a result, work on your correspondence skills to be able to produce professional business emails.
Now, back to the main topic: emailing resumes.
I will say it straightforwardly: every time I receive a CV as an attachment without any email message (and sometimes without a subject line for that matter), I don’t even bother downloading it and looking at it.
No matter how many years of expertise you have, if you don’t know how to attract your potential employer’s attention, chances are you are never nailing that job.
Think of it this way: does a door-to-door salesperson simply dump their merchandise in front of your doorstep without having the courtesy to introduce themselves and talk a little bit about their product in an attempt to eventually make a sale?
The same concept goes for sending CVs: are you so lazy or so busy that you can’t take 2 minutes to introduce yourself to your potential employer/client and encourage them to have a look at your attached CV?
Human Resources managers or any other potential clients have so many things to do and to take care of, and they probably receive tens of new CVS every single day. Therefore, you have to increase your chances by having the right level of professionalism and writing a nice and proper email to go along with your CV.
Also, sending a resume without an accompanying message is rude. It simply is!
And in case your argument is “I send my CV to tons of potential employers every single day and it is easier and faster to just attach the resume and send the email to all addresses at once” then I tell you this: with this attitude, you will not succeed. You need to put in the work if you are serious about being contacted by potential clients.
Now that we have agreed on the fact that a message should accompany your attached CV, we will move to the next step: the proper way of addressing your potential employer.
First off, add a subject line to your email message before anything else. This way, you avoid forgetting to do so when you are done and ready to hit “send”. The subject line could include your full name and the job title, or the services you offer (e.g. “Rania Merchak – Freelance Interpreter” or “Premium Translation Services”)
If you are sending your CV to a company and you don’t know who will be reading your email, start your message with “Dear Sirs” or “Dear Hiring Manager” for example.
If you know the name of the person who will receive your email, I suggest you personalize your message and start it by addressing this person directly (e.g. Dear Mr. X, Hello Mr. X, etc.)
Next up, if you are sending the email based on an open position you stumbled upon, mention it in the email, then proceed to introducing yourself briefly. After that, let them know you are attaching a CV to the email. Remember, being concise is key: avoid writing a long message and keep things clear, concise and professional.
To conclude, show extra interest by letting your potential client know how much it will mean to you if you end up working with them.
Finish your email with a couple of nice words or well wishes, and don’t forget to add a signature at the end. The signature should include your full name, title, phone number and email address. It can also include links to your social media accounts.
Et voilà: your email is good to go!
Below is a summary of all the points you have to address when emailing your resume to a potential employer:
1- First things first: Attaching your resume. (Oh, yes. Don’t go full out on the email message that you forget to actually attach the resume itself! This should be the first thing you do).
2- Writing a subject line.
3- Writing the message body with enough information and much courtesy.
4- Signing off.
Now, let’s put all of the above-mentioned points in an email, shall we?
“Dear Mr. X,
I hope my email finds you well.
My name is Rania Merchak. I am a freelance language service provider and I have come across your post where you mention your need for a freelance translator.
I have over xx years of experience in translation and I would love to know more about the job as I am interested in cooperating with you.
For your reference, please find my curriculum vitae attached herein.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon and to establishing a business relationship with you.
Have a nice day.
This is just an example of how a proper email to accompany your resume should look like.
You can get more creative and work with what you have. For example, if you are sending your email on a Monday, finish it off by wishing your potential client a great week ahead. If you are sending it towards the end of a day, wish them a calm evening. Sending the email on a Friday? Great! Don’t worry about them not replying; just wish them an amazing weekend! Courtesy goes a long, long way!
I guess you get the idea. It only takes a couple of minutes of your time, so don’t let that lack of courtesy stand in the way of you actually securing that job!
What’s the point of having so much experience if you can’t get your potential client to actually look at your credentials?
Keep in mind: do not write a lengthy message. No need for excessive words. Your entire email message should not exceed half a page (in the example above, the message contains 93 words, excluding the signature, of course).
Wait, one more thing: you do realize you need to proofread your email before hitting the “send” button, don’t you?
I can’t tell you how many times I have deleted emails with CV attachments just because the email itself contained so many mistakes. In other fields, maybe it would not be a big deal, but you are selling yourself as an experienced and professional translator; you might as well make sure your email is 100% grammatically correct!
If your argument is “we are human, and mistakes happen” then I strongly urge you to send another email to correct your mistakes. Don’t slack off.
Seriously, just don’t. A simple “I am sorry, I meant “xxxxx” not “xxxxy” (for instance) does the trick. It shows you are alert and you really know the difference and know your grammar well.
It goes without saying that you also need to proofread your resume itself. But then again, I had to mention it just to make this post comprehensive (Go double-check your resume. Go. Now! Done? Alright, save the changes!).
Extra tip: make sure you have a professional email address, none of that firstname.lastname@example.org. Create a professional email address with your full name in case you don’t have one already, before sending any kind of business emails.
Extra tip++: Keep in mind that your resume should be labeled with your name (e.g. “CV Rania Merchak”). Make yourself easily searchable for HR managers and/or clients!
I hope I was of help to you! Good luck with your job hunting, and don’t forget to give it your best shot! 🙂