tonybaldwin | blog

non compos mentis

How NOT to apply to Baldwin Linguas

with 3 comments

I get a lot of letters like this:

Dear Sirs/To whom it concerns:

I am a native (Language X) speaker. I am available for any potential project you have.
My resume is attached.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.

(name).

These letters are NOT effective.
I delete lots of them, sadly.
As I also do for those who give me a rambling, 3 page life story, but include little of relevance.
Even worse are those who send HTML formatted mail, with flashing images, and about 5 gigabytes of attachments.
I always make certain to report those as SPAM.

On the whole, I rather enjoy “meeting” new providers, colleagues in the field (as I am a translator). I particularly enjoy the various consummate professionals with whom I already work. They are intelligent, fascinating people. Their letters of application reflected those qualities. They were concise, but thorough enough to capture my attention. The letter itself must get my attention. I won’t open an attachment if the letter doesn’t give me a reason to do so. On the whole, I’d rather not receive attachments, anyway. I´d much rather receive a link to your proz profile (be sure it is complete and up to date). They also took the time to see if their language pairs and/or expertise meet my currently expressed needs. (ie., if I have announced I am seeking translators working ONLY in EN, FR, PT, and ES, why do you write me telling me you work in Pali, Lithuanian or Navajo?)

What I really want to see in a letter of application is more like:

Prezado Sr. Baldwin,

I am an experienced translator of Language X & Y to Language Z.
I have experience in the translation of documents pertaining to (area of expertise), having worked for Company H…I have provided interpretation for jkl…
[ie. insert a brief description of experience.]
I acquired a BA in (field, ie. electrical engineering and/or language X, translation, etc.) at University de Fulano Tal in Cidade Bela in 1992, going on to complete a MA in Translation Studies at Cerebro College…
[ie., a brief description of academic background.]

I work with Openoffice.org, Omega T and other open source tools, having the capacity to work with all major MSOffice document formats, .pdf, and .html files. [ie., description of technological capacity.]

My rates for translation are US$0.xx/word, and I can translate a volume of n words per day.
I accept payment via paypal/moneybookers (very key to Baldwin Linguas).

You may learn more about me and my services on my proz profile (insert link).
I look forward to working with you.
Thank you for your time.

Atenciosamente,
Name

Ie. Get my attention; tell me what I need to know; and tell me no more.

(originall posted here, on the Proz.com forums (thread contains additional commentary and discussion).

The best means of applying, of course, would be to read our website, find the appropriate link thereon for application, and following the instructions therein. It’s always best to familiarize yourself with a company before applying to work with them.

Tony

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Written by tonybaldwin

September 11, 2010 at 7:03 am

3 Responses

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  1. Alternatively, there are always cover letters like this one: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/10/05/hunter-s-tho

    tonybaldwin

    October 6, 2010 at 3:30 am

  2. To tell the truth, I don't even like "Dear Sir/Madam:".
    I have a name, and it is clearly evident on the page on our site that clearly spells out precisely what we are looking for when people apply.
    "Dear Mr. Baldwin", "Dear Anthony"…even, "Dear Tony" works just fine for me.
    I'm aware, of course, that many company's (much larger ones, with turn over the HR dept., especially) don't post the name of the relevant contact person, in which cases "Dear Sir/Madam:" is appropriate, but, I like to know someone has taken a minute to get to know us before applying.
    I think if someone hasn't the wherewithall to take the whole 3 minutes it takes to look at our site, identify the clearly labeled "Work with us" link, and read the relevant linked page, they lack the professionalism we require.
    I wouldn't dream of applying to work with any company without doing a little digging to understand what their needs are and how, precisely, I can meet them.
    If nothing else, one might want to know a little about the company's reputation with other professionals, too.
    Our application page clearly links to our blueboard record.
    People like working with us, and that makes us proud.
    We love working with true professionals, and strive to let them know they are appreciated.

    tonybaldwin

    November 29, 2010 at 5:49 am

  3. and another thing… 8 Sep 2008

    Something I neglected to mention previously…

    There are two other things that annoy me to no end, and, as such, are sure to ensure failure
    when applying, at least to Baldwin Linguas, being:

    1) Do NOT ask for a return receipt. That's just annoying, and serves no purpose in this context. I will let you know if/when I have received your application, and, your skills meet our needs, etc. Otherwise, without intending to be rude, it's none of your business if I've received your message, or not.
    If you're sending an invoice or an important project, perhaps, I can understand the utility of such measures, but, not when applying to work with us.
    Besides, if you had looked at our site, and read the instructions, and submitted your application on-line, according to said instructions, our serve will send you an automatic reply.

    2) Pelo amor de Deus…DO NOT send an inquiry in HTML, replete with flashing images, or pretty backgrounds, etc.
    Send your inquiry/application in plain text, and preferably with UTF-8 encoding.
    Of course, again, if you've found our site and followed our instructions, our server will send us your application, generated by filling in the forms I built on the site, in plain text…just as I prefer.

    kthnxbye…

    /tony

    tonybaldwin

    November 29, 2010 at 5:52 am


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