How to protect your translator CV

The wonderful Marta Stelmaszak over at WantWords has recently blogged some excellent tips on how to protect your CV as a translator. I had written about this topic before, but a reminder/refresher never hurts, plus, she has some great points in her list I had not thought of before (e.g. Nos. 8 and 10). I’ll have to revamp my CV, too, now!
So here it is, Marta’s excellent list – enjoy (and apply)!
1. Research the sender

When you receive an email with a potential project or an offer of
collaboration, even basic research can help you establish if it’s a
genuine opportunity. Start with verifying the website, then ask your
colleagues or professional circles if anybody has worked with them
before. Try looking them up on all translation forums and boards. Call
them, or add them on Skype. Joao Roque Dias recommends looking up the
sender’s IP and running a geographical search just to be sure this
person is a genuine representative of an agency. If something’s just not
right, don’t send your CV.

2. Use common sense
If an offer looks suspicious, it’s better to be careful than fall for
a scam. Unprofessional offers, free email accounts, too few details in a
signature, too high rate or poor English (or the other language) should
raise an alarm. If you’re not sure if this is a genuine offer, you can
always exchange a few emails with questions before supplying the sender
with your CV.

3. Keep records
Set up a simple spread sheet where you can keep records of who you’re
sending your CV to, when and with which result. By doing that, you’ll
not only have a better control over who has received a copy of your CV,
but you’ll also be better at following up.

4. Encourage clients to contact you on skype with a webcam
As recommended by Joao Roque Dias and others, you should encourage
your prospective clients to confirm each other’s identify on Skype via
video chat. To do that, you should place an up-to date photo on your CV.

5. Remove personal details
As I mentioned before, don’t add your date of birth, place of birth,
full address, or marital status. This is way too dangerous.

6. Include information specific to you
To protect your CV from being used by others (changing your name and
surname in the headline), include bits of information specific to you
that can easily be verified online, for example awards or published

7. Add links to external URLs
To fight CV theft where your name and surname is replaced, include
links to external URLs directly pointing to you, for example your
website, published translations, articles or online mentions.

8. Time and name stamp your CV
Adding a line saying: „© Marta Stelmaszak. Sent to Sample Agency,
London, 01/04/2013. Void after 01/06/2013. Not for further distribution
or reproduction without consent.” (as suggested here).

9. Add a watermark
As suggested by Rose Newell and in a few other sources, you may want to add a watermark to your document, for example containing your logo. More info from Microsoft here.

10. Include an email statement
It is advisable to include a short statement along the lines of „Only
the following email addresses are genuine and authorised:
and . I will never
contact you from any other email address. If you receive an email from
another address, please do contact me as it may constitute a potential
scam.” You may want to add this line to your website, or as an
annotation on your CV.

11. Save your CV using your name and surname
As simple as that, don’t save and send your CV as „resume” but add your name and surname to the file.

12. In Word, add your name and surname in the author box
When working on your CV, check the Properties of your document and
make sure that your name and surname are added in the author box (more info).

13. Save your CV as PDF
It is now possible to convert documents into PDFs in MS Office with
just a few clicks and we should be doing that with our CVs. This is the
most basic form of protection. If you’ve added your name and surname in
Word, the same properties will be carried over to the PDF. (more info)

14. Save your CV as a non-editable PDF
If you’re using Adobe Acrobat Pro (and if you’re not using it yet,
you may want to consider investing in it), you can save your CV as a
non-editable PDF and change the security settings, restricting editing
and printing of your document.

15. Password-protect your CV saved in PDF
It is not a bullet-proof method, but password-protecting your CV
saved in the PDF format can increase your security. You can distribute
the password only to vetted recipients, for example genuine enquirers,
separately from your CV. You can do that in MS Word, no need to buy
Adobe Acrobat Pro.

16. Remove your CV from online platforms
Don’t make your CV easily available through online platforms or on
your website (I’ve been guilty of the latter until recently). It’s
better to upload another document inviting clients to contact you, or
even a bold statement explaining you’ve removed your CV for security
reasons (like Rose Newell does here).

17. Use brochures or leaflets online
Instead of a full CV, you can always prepare a short brochure or a
leaflet and upload it instead. They will be more secure, and can even
help your marketing!

18. Set viewing only but no download
You can ask your programmer to change settings on your website
allowing visitors to view content, but prohibiting them from copying or
downloading it.

19. If your website is WordPress-based, use protected download
WordPress users can use password-protected download of their CVs. Here’s a video explaining how it works and how to set it up.

20. Make clients aware
Raising awareness of the issue among our clients can help our
efforts. If our clients know about this issue, they will be more careful
and alert themselves. You may want to blog about the issue, or just add
a short statement explaining the problem on your website.

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