A word from the Vendor Manager: Top Tips to Stand Out From The Crowd (as an LSP vendor)
Within the 10 years I’ve spent in this industry so far, I've gone from translator to project coordinator, recruiter, project manager, vendor manager, program manager, consultant and business owner. Vendor Management, though, is the one job that permeates all the others in this line of work for me. As a translation agency, our product is our translators’ workforce and our relationship with them is of utmost importance to keep us in the market.
We are always looking for the best fitting resources for each client and for each project. What does that mean? It means that being a good translator doesn’t make you a good fit for a project… necessarily. I was once in your shoes, so I sympathize with my vendors and do my very best not to take them for granted. However, ‘the times they are a-changing’, as a noble poet once said. I don’t mean they are changing for better or for worse, but we must be aware of that and adapt. So if you want to stand out from the crowd as a translator in 2018, here are my top tips.
1. Master LinkedIn the right way. It’s not a pretty picture when I open LinkedIn and there are dozens of similar extremely long messages from people asking for a chance to work for me or my company. The ones that stand out to me are those from people who are actually talking to me, specifically. You can tell right away when someone just copied and pasted the same message to every LinkedIn contact.
I suggest writing a personal short message first, introduce yourself, start a conversation, and then present your services or your resume after that. It’s definitely going to catch more eyes if you approach the hiring manager as a human being. Plus, it shows you care.
2. Work on your communication skills. I’m an introvert and I know many translators are as well. Truth be told, we do get a lot of alone time as translators, so it’s easy to forget we need to sharpen our social skills to thrive in business as well. You need to be able to convince your potential client that you are the best at what you do and that you are the perfect fit for the job. Go over your resume carefully and practice talking about your experience out loud. Imagine potential questions your client might ask and practice answering them. Practice using a strong and assertive, yet friendly, tone. It is true that sometimes we do choose one person over the other because of their attitude, especially if we're choosing among people with the same level of expertise.
3. Quality over quantity. Master the art of adapting your (real) work experience to your audience. As hiring manager, I want to know your relevant work experience more than your general work experience. Saying you translated over 1 million words in your lifetime is impressive but not relevant. Mentioning all the jobs you had before you became a translator is usually irrelevant as well UNLESS the job was closely connected to the current opportunity – in which case, it is totally relevant and including it could help you close the deal. By using this technique, you can land a job even if you’re just starting out as a translator.
4. Be open minded. As I said earlier, our industry is changing and the role of the translator is also changing. We are living the dawn of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and that’s revolutionizing the way everyone works and do business. There is a lot of free and paid content out there on new technologies being employed in localization which you can use to advance your knowledge, make your life easier and impress your clients. Be ahead of the curve, never behind it.
Now you know some of the things your potential client and recruiter is looking for, I hope you can get some new business ASAP by being your awesome successful self today.