How to apply for a job

When publishing job postings, recruiters can expect to get hundreds of people applying. Of course, this means that not every candidate who has applied will be offered the coveted position. In fact, only about 3% of all resume views result in an invitation to a job interview, while the rest of those who apply will be rejected for one reason or another. Today, we’ve teamed up with the HR specialists at INLINGO to create a step-by-step guide on effectively applying for positions in the game localization industry and giving yourself the best chance to get a job offer.

The importance of preparing a strong job application

Job recruiters have to look through an impressive number of CVs in a single day. One way of doing this is by screening candidates using pre-configured filters that check each job application for important criteria. Since the recruiters don’t have the time to consider each job application in detail, their first concern when opening a resume will be whether or not the person applying has fulfilled the basic criteria for the position. If a candidate provides too little information when applying — or even too much information — they’ll likely get a rejection, even if they’re a fit for the vacancy in question or for project work in the localization field.

For example, say we’re filtering job applications based on candidates’ knowledge of Chinese. One applicant might mention their proficiency in Chinese when applying, but completely forget to include their English level, even if they know the language well. Or a candidate applying for jobs related to a certain game genre might just write that they have experience with game localization, without specifying what kind. In these cases, there’s no way to obtain enough information about the candidates, and their job applications would likely be rejected.

Lyubov Kamysheva, Recruitment Specialist at INLINGO

Step 1.  Consider the type of position

If you’re applying for a job as a translator, there are typically two options: working in-house for a company or becoming a freelancer. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of jobs you can apply for. We’ll list the basic benefits of these two options below.

Applying for game localization jobs will look a bit different depending on which employment type you prefer:

As you see, it’s important to remember that an application process can vary depending on the type of job. For example, freelancers generally don’t go through an interview stage when they apply, which means their CV has to do the heavy lifting and effectively demonstrate their various strengths and potential. On the other hand, if applying for an in-house job, it’s important to showcase soft skills and focus on self-presentation.  

Step 2. Review your CV

Structure When creating your CV, it’s best to stick to a simple and readable structure that highlights your main strengths. There shouldn’t be so much information that the document stretches out over multiple pages. That’s why, if you’re planning to attach examples of your work when applying, it’s better to include them as a link or separate file to accompany your job application. Remember, the recruiters already have an ideal candidate in mind, and there’s no way they’re going to waste time scanning through an irrelevant job application. So, try to make their job easier when you apply. 

Basic information

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • The languages you speak (include your proficiency level) 
  • Education

The most important sections to include:

  • Experience

Don’t waste time listing every single job or project you’ve ever worked on. Instead, focus on your relevant experience. Of course, if you have a very diverse employment background, it doesn’t hurt to briefly mention your past jobs when applying, in order to avoid any major gaps in your resume. For example, you could include something like, “Worked in a factory from 2020-2021, not engaged in translation work at that time.” When you’re just at the start of your career, any kind of job experience can be used to your advantage, whether it’s a student project or volunteer opportunities.

  • Proficiency in CAT tools and relevant programs

Many companies work with specific tools or operating systems. If you don’t have any experience with them, you may be offered a short tutorial or online training. 

  • Place of residence or time zone

This is especially important if you are working as a freelancer, since you’ll likely apply to jobs from companies all around the world. Significant difference in time zones can negatively affect the work process, impacting response times and deadlines. Accordingly, employers often consider contractors’ locations before making an offer.

  • Your hobbies and interests

This section is completely optional, but there are some benefits to including it. For example, if you know a lot about cars, consider applying for a racing game. You might be the perfect candidate. 

Step 3. Create your application and cover letter

  • Always read the job requirements carefully before you apply. 

For example, if the job posting is for a native Italian speaker, but your first language is English or Russian, applying for the job would be a waste of both your and the recruiter’s time.

  • Send the application to the right place. 

Some companies may provide a link to their application portal in their vacancy, while others might ask candidates to apply for the job directly over email. If you submit your application incorrectly, there’s a high chance you won’t be considered for the job at all. In fact, this is a trick that some hiring managers and clients use to weed out inattentive candidates. Alternatively, they might hide certain instructions for those who apply within the job description, such as “Include the day of the week in your application.”  

  • Include a cover letter with your CV.

Your cover letter should be relevant to the job or offer in question and provide an overview of your candidacy, including why you decided to apply for the position and why you’re the right person for the job. The rest of your professional history can be included in your CV. At this point, it’s also important to mention why the job recruiters should consider your application. For example, if you’ve just graduated and have little experience in the translation industry, the best way to gain points with the hiring managers would be by demonstrating your knowledge of video games.

Step 4. Test tasks: To do or not to do?

For many companies that specialize in game translation or localization, the test task is a necessary part of the job hiring process. Unfortunately, however, just the mention of a test assignment can often evoke doubt or indignation among translators. Let’s take a look at some of their most common concerns.  

“The company just wants me to translate for free”

Actually, most companies know that this tactic is more trouble than it’s worth. Dividing an actual order among new candidates can seriously impact the quality and consistency of a project, especially given that the people applying for the job will likely have different qualifications and specializations. In fact, it’s usually easier to just re-translate the project from scratch, rather than try to edit a job done poorly. A respectable company isn’t going to risk harming their reputation due to poor quality work or missed deadlines. 

“There are so many candidates, I don’t stand a chance”

Actually, your odds are often better than they seem. Even if the company chooses another translator for the job, your efforts will not go unnoticed. Translators who perform well on a test task may be added to the company’s database and considered for future jobs and projects, without even needing to apply all over again. Alternatively, you could be offered a different position, such as editor. 

“Why should I do a test assignment when applying? Isn’t my portfolio enough to show my job experience?”

Of course, portfolios can be a great addition to your job application, highlighting your professionalism and willingness to cooperate. However, there are legitimate reasons why companies might hesitate to hire a candidate based solely on the portfolio they provide when applying.

Even the most experienced professionals are often asked to complete a test assignment when they apply for a job. These tasks are important for several reasons: 

  1. Although a candidate may submit their portfolio when they apply, recruiters have little way of knowing whether their translation samples are unique and original works. 
  2. Every company has a different workflow, tools, and requirements. Even if you have experience translating for one company, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be suited for an entirely different job. Unfortunately, a candidate might apply with an impressive portfolio, but struggle when faced with real-life projects. 
  3. Translators often have to sign non-disclosure agreements, which means they’re restricted from sharing information about the jobs they’ve worked on. In these cases, they can usually only mention general information about past jobs, such as the theme, genre, or scale. 
Anna Kotova, Recruitment Specialist at INLINGO

“I have no experience in this field. Why bother?”

Every translator has their own strengths and weaknesses. In our experience, there’s no such thing as a “jack of all trades”, equipped to handle every single task they apply for. While one job may require a lot of creativity, another might need extensive knowledge of certain terminology. For example, not everyone is going to have the right vocabulary to complete a project about yachting.

Step 5. The interview

This step is more relevant to candidates applying for full-time jobs. At INLINGO, the first stage of the interview process is generally a phone screening with an HR manager, where you get to know each other and discuss the job. After passing the test task, you’ll usually be invited to a video interview with a team lead or hiring manager. While you don’t necessarily need to prepare for this interview, there are a few ways to make sure it’s the best that it can be, and comfortable for everyone involved.

  1. Check all of your equipment in advance.
    Make sure the necessary programs are updated, and that your camera and microphone are working properly. That way, you won’t run into any technical issues during the interview or inconvenience the hiring managers.
  2. Take the interview from a quiet and well-lit room.
    It’s best to avoid taking an interview outside, in the car, or in a noisy cafe. Set aside an hour for the call, and make sure there’s good lighting in the room. 
  3. Look at the company’s website, blog, or social media channels before the call.
    This way, you’ll have a better understanding of the work environment and help you prepare questions for the hiring manager. Interviews are just as important for the candidate as they are for the recruiters.  After the interview, the company may need several days to make their decision. For example, INLINGO typically responds in about 3-5 working days. Remember that rejections often have more to do with the specifics of the jobs than the candidate’s lack of experience or skill. 
Lyubov Kamysheva, Recruitment Specialist at INLINGO

And while one job might not suit your strengths, one of the next jobs you apply for might be the perfect fit. Our company will stay in contact with candidates and never close its doors to interested contractors. So, if you see a new job opening, don’t hesitate to apply. 

Checklist: Creating the best application for the job