Monday, 26 March 2012

Fourth-Year Student Guide to Finding a Translation Job- Step #4

This is it. We’ve arrived at the end of my four-step guide to finding a translation job. And, coincidentally, the end of my four years at Glendon. Both are bittersweet.

So, let us consider the final and most important step in landing a translation job: the interview. Interviews are your opportunity to shine. They are also your opportunity to justify, explain or make up for any “deficiencies” in your résumé.

How to Impress on a Job Interview

I don’t know how justified I am in writing this considering I don’t actually have a translation job, but that has never stopped me before. Let’s first look to the master of the interview, the Prince of Fresh himself, Will Smith.

What can we learn from Will?

There are several things we can learn from him, first of which is honesty.
Interviewers are smart. They know when you’re pulling some line you read on a blog posting about how to land a job. So the key is to not do that. Sound as authentic as possible. In fact, be as authentic as possible. In other words, “be you.” I bet when they ask you what your biggest weakness is, you’re all fired up to say “perfectionist.” I’m also thinking they might have heard that one before.

So, ok, maybe your biggest weakness is that you’re a perfectionist. After all, if you are a translation student, that is more than likely true. But, provide examples, justify your statement, make them believe you. Let’s say you really are a perfectionist, which I am, here are two potential scenarios.

See how much more authentic the second one sounds? Why? Because not only is it true, but I’ve also proved that it’s true.

The second thing we can learn from Will is to show them the skills you have to offer. If you're missing one of the skills or experiences they've listed as requirements for the job, highlight the other valuable skills you can contribute to their organization (i.e. crazy-fast ability to solve Rubik's cubes) and state your willingness to develop and learn the skills you may be lacking.

There is one area in which I suggest you not take notes from Will Smith: what to wear. 

What to wear 

It depends entirely on the company. Choices could range from a full-blown business suit to a simple blazer and khaki pants. Research the company mission and values. If you’re lucky, the organization may even have a page on their website describing their team and corporate culture. Then, dress accordingly.

It’s true that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is known for “lookin’ fly.” But, looking “fly” for a night out on the town and looking “fly” for a job interview are two completely different things.

Appropriate Job Interview Attire
NOT appropriate job interview attire

Final words of advice

 Be engaging, prepared and enthusiastic. Show them how awesome you really are.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Fourth-Year Student Guide to Finding a Translation Job- Step #3

You’ve got your impressive résumé, your mind-blowing cover letter and now you get to sit back, relax and watch the magic happen. Right? Wrong. 

Sorry to break it to you but this is when the real work starts. Your impressive résumé and mind-blowing cover letter are of no use to you if they’re saved on your computer waiting to be e-mailed out. 
Get yourself out there!

So, you’ve probably heard the term “networking”. If you haven’t, here you go: Business Networking. You need to use your network, whether of online connections, friends, family, the next-door neighbour you only talk to when you both end up shoveling your driveways at the same time (awkward, right?) or school alumni. This involves getting your inner salesperson out. Sell yourself. And I mean that in the most non-offensive way possible. Show people what you have to offer. When opportunities present themselves to talk about your skills and what kind of job you’re looking for, 
don’t be shy. I have a friend, we’ll call her Serena. She’s sitting in a Starbucks, working on an assignment and using Photoshop to design a web page. There’s a guy sitting next to her who has been talking and talking and talking on the phone the entire time cutting deals, calling Tokyo, and trading stock. She’s finished her second macchiato, closed up her laptop and is about to get up. He puts his call on hold, gets her attention and asks her if she’s a Graphics Designer. She’s not. But he’s been watching her progress the entire time and gives her his card. Turns out this guy has about 100 connections in the field she’s interested in and he ends up linking her to some people hiring. We don’t all get a Starbucks story but the point is that we have to get out there and take advantage of opportunities to show people how awesome we really are. I mean who’s to say the guy at the party you’re at isn’t looking for a Translator for his up-and-coming website?

 Let people know you’re looking

Hey, I understand, telling people you’re broke and unemployed is not fun. It’s not. But you don’t really have to let people know you’re broke, you just have to let them know you’re looking. There’s a way to do that without appearing desperate or pathetic. I promise.  How about this: 

Easy, right? I’m not saying this will happen all the time. In fact, maybe it will only happen 1 out of every 50 times you ask. But that 1 time is all you need if it lands you a job, right?

So, it’s time to practice what I’m preaching. Glendon is having their Translation Alumni Night this month and I’ve got to get out there and sell myself, round up some business cards and get the ball rolling. You never know. Maybe this’ll be the chance I've been waiting for.