Monday, 6 February 2012

Fourth-Year Student Guide to Finding a Translation Job- Step #1

Job hunting is fun…for the first hour and a half. Then it’s excruciating. But all of us—millionaire heiresses and criminals aside—have to do it at some point. So I decided to share my vast job-hunting knowledge and experience with you. And ok, YES, I haven't yet found a job in my field, and NO, I have no proof these steps will work (stop harassing me!).  But let's try them out together and first one with the job wins...the satisfaction of having a job (and money)!

I’m not the first person to think of sharing my job hunting tips with the masses. Many have done it before me, and better:

Exhibit A: York University's Career CentreFind the Job You Want

Exhibit B: Globe and MailPrimer for student job hunters

But here it is coming from a fourth-year Translation student perspective, coming from someone who’s starting to sweat a little as graduation comes nearer and the list of experiences on her résumé seem to be smaller than ever.

So here’s my how-to.

How to find a Translation Job if you’re a fourth-year student who

a) Does not have a parent or relative who owns a translation agency and would be willing to hire you no questions asked
b) Has zero to little professional translation experience
c) Is not francophone; or
d) Fits all of the above.

Let’s... begin at the beginning.

Step #1 Create an Awesome Résumé

Yeah, yeah I know…you’re résumé is a masterpiece, a work of unparalleled imagination, the embodiment of all that is literary genius. Shakespeare would be envious. If this were 1860, Mark Twain would be ripping the pencil from your hands in a fit of jealous rage.

But, let’s get real for a second. We all think our stuff is amazing. It’s really hard to be objective when we’ve spent hours writing a description of every awesome thing we’ve ever done throughout our entire life in the most flattering way possible. I thought my stuff was amazing too…until I brought it over to Glendon’s Counselling and Disability Services.

Get a Second (or Third Opinion)

You may be pretty proud of the lemonade stand you set up when you were five, and for certain jobs maybe it’s relevant. But for others, maybe it’s not. So, perhaps it doesn't need to be included in your list of work experiences. To confirm whether something on your résumé is relevant or not, it's always helpful to get opinions from an objective critic: your teacher, your most honest friend, or your school’s Career Services (all three if you can manage it).

Choose a Style that Suits Your Experience

My professor suggested that I use a functional résumé. For those of you in the crowd scratching your heads, don’t feel bad, I did that too. A functional résumé is a résumé organized based on your skills. It’s ideal for students because most of us have not yet had an opportunity to work in our chosen field. That doesn’t mean you wasted the year you served at McDonald’s or the 6 months you worked at Kernels Popcorn (yes, it’s true, I wore the popcorn shirt and everything) or the summers you spent as a camp counsellor. You gained valuable experience that can be applied to other positions and a functional résumé lets you highlight them. Monster explains Functional Résumés Here. My functional résumé is organized like this:
This isn’t verbatim, but you get the idea.

Take Advantage of the Free (Yes Free!) Resources at Your School

After having my résumé reviewed by my mom and my professor, I brought it over to Glendon’s Career and Counselling Services, now called Counselling and Disability Services. As you can see, it’s in a cute little building attached to the Glendon Manor.

They were super nice, super friendly and gave me candy, which was a nice bonus. More importantly, they also showed me the glaring flaws in my résumé that I would not have been able to spot on my own. 

Throughout the year, they have a ton of workshops on preparing for job interviews, writing resumes, networking, marketing your B.A. and exploring the hidden job market. And, as a Glendon student, you can also attend many of the workshops offered through the York University Career Centre.

I could go and on. I really could. But there are so many useful places out there for résumé-writing tips like here and here.

The next piece of the puzzle is the Cover Letter, and it's coming soon to a screen near you.

1 comment:

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