Translating a curriculum: what to bear in mind?

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Sometimes job opportunities present themselves in foreign countries and, to be able to apply to them, you need to translate your CV to English. But if it is already difficult to write your CV in Spanish, it’s even more complicated to do it in another language and meet the appropriate criteria for their standards. Here we explain how to make sure that your application meets the necessary requirements.

Translating a curriculum: what to bear in mind?

How to organize your CV in English

First of all, it’s important to remember that automatic translators are not reliable. Normally, they are limited to literal, word-for-word translations, which eliminate the feeling of naturalness and even, at times, ownership. Try to use idiomatic expressions and make the translation sounds professional, but in the most natural way possible. It should be obvious that you know what you want to say.

Here you have the different points to keep in mind.

  • Personal details: Let’s start with the first point on your CV. You must include your personal details. But forget the practice of including your date or place of birth. In English speaking countries, and due to antidiscrimination legislation, the only personal details that you have to include are those necessary for contacting you. Not only that, but you shouldn’t include your photo either except for if they expressly ask you to do so.
  • Profile: Writing your CV in English is not just a translation, you in fact have to be aware of many more things. In English speaking culture it is common, and even necessary, to include a profile. This is a paragraph of about four lines in which you briefly explain your professional profile, your strengths and expectations. It’s your first chance to shine. Sell yourself. This is something important which we are not used to in Spain. However, it’s essential that you include it and make an effort to do it as well as possible, because it will always be the first impression that they have of you.
  • Professional experience: Here you should include the jobs that you have performed to date. Start with the most recent and then go back through them. CVs in English are not usually very long. Find out how long they usually are according to the country and adapt your professional experience information. Perhaps you will have to omit certain information and only keep the most recent or the most relevant ones to the position.
  • Education and qualifications: It’s time to talk about your education and studies. As with the work experience section, if your CV is going to be excessively long because of all your education, reduce it and stick to what is really necessary and related to the application. Adapt the Spanish qualifications to those of the country where you are applying. Some of the most common are the ESO, which would correspond to the GCSE; a licenciatura would be a bachelor’s degree (B); and a doctorado, a PhD. Don’t forget to also include your education by starting with the most recent in backwards chronological order.
  • SkillsHere you should mention your more general skills, such as your language skills (habilidades lingüísticas), IT skills (digitales), leadership skills (de liderazgo) or your communication skills (de comunicación), amongst others.
  • Miscellaneous​Here you will include any information that you might consider important or relevant about yourself, including your hobbies.
  • References: Including references isn’t necessary. However, if you think it could help, then go for it. But bear in mind that the person or business that writes to them will also have to do it in English.

Some general tips

Avoid the use of “I”. When you write about your experience or training, don’t write sentences as the main character of a story. Make the sentences more impersonal so that they sound less egocentric and more professional. To begin the sentence, use gerunds to make the verb into a noun, or use the past participle.

Consider writing a cover letter. Find out if cover letters are common in the country where you are applying for the job and write one along with your CV.

If you only have a personal email account, create another separate one for your job, with an email address that sounds professional. Addresses with nicknames are not the best option in Spain, but even less so in countries with another language where, perhaps, due to different cultural references or translation errors, they could be considered offensive.

Have you considered creating a professional LinkedIn profile?  Including the link to your profile on your CV can also be an interesting idea.

Trust a professional translator to perform the translation of your CV into English

You have the chance of a life time to find your dream job abroad. Don’t miss it! If you don’t feel confident enough to translate your CV into English, you can always rely on the services of a professional translator. With the experience that sets us apart at blarlo.com, we will be delighted to help you so you can apply with the peace of mind that language differences will not be an obstacle. It’s a great opportunity, don’t waste it.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French) Deutsch (German)