During a workshop with Hristina Racheva — the Head of Localization at Skyscanner by day and a localization career coach and a mentor by night — we learned:
- How to position yourself strategically within your organization and identify areas of development to increase your influence
- How to gain the right skills and knowledge to build your authority within localization and beyond
- How to remain competitive on the job market by being strategic about your resume/CV and sharpening your interview skills
How to Progress in Your Career
As you grow into your career, domain knowledge becomes less important and impactful. Of course, you still need it to achieve results, but knowledge alone won’t get you to the next level.
The more senior you become, you are expected to have a broader impact within your organization, develop an executive voice, lead others, and gain the support of others.
So career development becomes a strategic approach. To progress in your career, you want to speak about your achievements, or even better, get others to talk about them.
However, people tend to overlook the strengths that come naturally to them. We often don’t realize we have it. Even if someone else points it out for us, it’s easy to assume that it’s a common thing that everyone knows how to do.
But in fact, it can be your unique strength. It makes you who you are, and it can be the value you bring to an organization. The key is to identify what that is.
It may not come to you naturally. Depending on one’s culture and background, some of us find it difficult to talk about what we’re good at. So let’s talk about how to work on self-promotion and congratulate ourselves for our capabilities. If you have a hard time telling yourself what you’re good at, how could you tell others?
Position Yourself Strategically
In our job, we interact with many stakeholders. But what we don’t do is leverage those relationships. So here is how you can position yourself as a contributor/partner/ally to those in other disciplines and cultivate strategic relationships.
Pair With Other Disciplines
You will find that other teams also experience similar issues and feel the same way about particular challenges you face. Try to be more involved with those in disciplines outside of your own by supporting and promoting each other. This increases the chance of collaboration and learning from each other — not necessarily the technical skills, but the opportunities to problem-solve and approach challenges creatively. This will create a fantastic opportunity for you to grow and cultivate valuable relationships with people outside of your team.
Help Other Disciplines
Being part of a localization team gives us a unique position: visibility over the whole organization. We know what strategies the company utilizes, what projects are happening, etc. So with this special advantage, connect the dots for other disciplines by sharing your insights. Sharing inspirations or challenges that both of you are experiencing can create an excellent opportunity for creative solutions. It’s essential to look beyond your day-to-day tasks and look at how you can benefit the organization as a whole, articulating a rationale for the transformation for the company. This is a great way to position yourself as an ally who brings cross-functional values.
Learn About Other Disciplines
Grow your knowledge about other disciplines by finding answers to questions like:
- How do they fit into the business as a whole?
- What projects are they currently working on?
- What goals and challenges do they have?
- What strategies do they utilize?
- What are some ways I can support them?
Become an expert in knowing the organization’s direction, strategy, competitors, vision, etc. As localization managers grow into leaders and the more senior you become, you are expected to be a more rounded expert and a well-rounded leader.
Position yourself as a thought leader and expert, and prove it to your organization. Here are some ideas for where you can start:
Fill in the blanks
Look for an area of need or a problem that is not being addressed, and step up to help. Here is an example: Hristina understood the importance of UX writing, seeing that high-quality translations couldn’t come out of subpar source content. So she invited experts in UX writing to speak to the organization to bring awareness to the issue and discuss ways to improve the company’s overall performance.
Bring learnings from the industry to your organization
Today, we have easy access to articles, blogs, webinars, podcasts, courses, etc. Whenever you learn something new, think about how you could apply this knowledge to your role and the teams inside and outside your discipline. Sharing with others any info that might be relevant to them is a great way to build authority in your organization.
Share with your organization when you speak at external events
Whenever you have a chance to speak at external events, share it with those inside and outside your organization. It’s a great way to position yourself as an authority within the company as well as the industry. In addition to sharing the fact that you spoke at an event, talk about what you learned and what the experience was like to add practical insights.
Promote your work and your team’s work
Promote your work and your team’s work every occasion you have - we will go into this a bit deeper in the next workshop when we talk about buy-in.
You might not be looking for a position right now, but an opportunity can arise at any time, so you need to be ready at all times. Localization opportunities are constantly arising these days. Continue reading for suggestions for ways to remain competitive.
Networking: Quantity vs. Quality
Through networking, you can build connections that you can rely on and learn from. Foster a smaller number of connections that involve deeper relationships over knowing many people at a shallower level. Within these relationships, you can ask for help, get other professionals’ insights on challenges you are facing, ask for recommendations for tools, etc.
The Art of Developing Your CV
Even if you aren’t applying for jobs currently, it’s always a good idea to keep a master CV and update it regularly. As you work on different projects, add to the master CV.
It is helpful to keep a collection of all your achievements, praises/feedback, awards, etc. Then, when an opportunity arises, you can create a custom CV specific to the role you are applying.
It is also important to remember that a CV isn’t your job description. Rather, it’s a way to showcase what you’ve achieved as an individual. So instead of making a list of your responsibilities, always craft your CV focused on the impact and the differences you’ve made from those achievements and projects.
Also, you can feel free to let your personality show through! Of course, a cool CV won’t get you a job if your experience isn’t relevant, but it surely can help you stand out.
When you talk about your experience during an interview, remember, it’s all about impact. Articulate your contribution and its outcome. What was the result of your work? What difference did your work make on the team or the company? You can talk about how you contributed to a team, but make sure to be confident and talk about you as an individual.
And ask questions — not for the sake of asking questions but to learn. Ask about the team, what tools they use, their achievements, strategies, challenges, etc. Your job is to learn from the interviewer’s responses to your questions and turn it into an opportunity to talk about your experience. For example, you can talk about how you’ve also worked through similar challenges and how you solved similar problems.
Finally, you are being interviewed, but you are also interviewing them. Use the time to understand the culture, how the company supports individuals, opportunities to grow within this company, etc., to be able to make your decision about the company.