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3 Tips for Translating Your CV or Résumé into English

Erica Huttner

In today's global society, it's becoming increasingly popular to apply for jobs in other countries. Given the widespread use of English in the business world, it makes sense that many companies request that applicants provide a CV (or résumé, as it's known in the US) in English. However, many people don't stop to consider the cultural aspects involved in translating a CV.

As a translator, I frequently get requests to translate CVs from Spanish into English, generally so that the client can apply for jobs in English-speaking countries. While this may seem like a straightforward job, it can actually be quite complicated due to cultural differences in CV standards. If you're not from an English-speaking culture and are unsure of what to include in your English CV, the following tips, based on my experience translating CVs from Spanish to English, should help you get started.

#1: Don't attach a photo.

In Spain, as well as several other countries, it is customary to include a photo with your CV. If you're applying for a job in an English-speaking country, DO NOT do this. For some reason, this custom tends to lead to heated debates between people from cultures that address this detail differently. In any case, you should respect the customs of the target culture, in this case English-speaking countries. The main reason photos aren't included is that CVs are viewed as a way to assess applicants purely based on their skills, experience, and education. By removing photos from the equation, we can avoid being influenced by a person's appearance.

#2: Don't include your date of birth and gender.

Following the same line of thinking, don't include your date of birth or gender. This helps to prevent age and gender discrimination in the hiring process. Sure, if you make it to the interview stage, your potential new employer will have a pretty good guess at both, but we still don't include this information on a CV.

#3: Keep it short and sweet: 1-2 pages maximum!

One of the most frequent issues I've encountered while translating CVs is that clients tend to send me CVs that are way too long. If at all possible, try to keep your CV to one page in length, or two at an absolute maximum. There's no reason to include every job you've ever had, the name of your high school, or skills like "Microsoft Word" or "social media", which are now expected of most applicants anyway.