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almost 3 years ago


n the October edition of Work Life, Glynn Hagget a translator from Milton Keynes asked:
"I am a freelance translator; over recent years, I have found it increasingly difficult to make a living, so I have looked for part-time or temporary employment to supplement my earnings. I am now at a stage where I think it may be best to look for full-time employment, either within or outside translation. However, I continually meet with rejection on the basis of being seen to be overqualified or of the fact that people are a little concerned about taking on someone who has been self-employed for as long as I have (15 years). Do you have any advice on how I can sell my skills in a way which makes them attractive to an employer without seeming overbearing or intimidating? Thank you!" 

We posed Glynn's question to Jason Sinclair a recruitment consultant from Meridian's Milton Keynes branch who answered:

A key part of making yourself employable when you have lots of experience and looking to move sectors or from a Self Employed to a PAYE Employee is highlighting the transferable skills you possess. Avoid simply making claims about your skills ('I am a team player'), instead give clear evidence – times you used your skills and what happened as a result. This way the first page of your CV and the material you have prepared for interviews, is actually about achievements. For every skill you hold, learn at least one short story about what you achieved.

Skills only become transferable if you describe them in a way that an employer finds attractive. Learn to translate your skills – what you write is only effective if an employer’s reaction is “that’s exactly what I need”. 


Candidate language used in CVs and applications is also very important – so translate your skills into terms that an employer will immediately recognise by looking carefully at the terms that employer uses to describe jobs and by asking people with sector knowledge: what do I need to write to get an interview?

Research suggest the five most transferable skills are:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Business acumen
  • Ability to influence
  • Problem solving

The reality is that employers make hiring decisions quickly, and need to see clear evidence of your personal qualities, know-how and experience.

Finding the Right Agency

Regarding agencies, only engage with those who cover your specialism or who work closely with an employer you particularly want to approach. This will ensure you are marketed correctly and do not come up against the “you're overqualified” conversations. An experienced consultant will have spent time with you and has an in-depth understanding of the business they are approaching on your behalf and will have already covered off your skills with them.

Meridian Business Support is a recruitment agency specialising in Office & Professional, Industrial, Healthcare, Construction and Education sectors.