Considering Hiring a CV Writer?

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Is it a good idea to hire a professional CV writer?

At some stage in their lives, everyone needs a CV. But if you’ve not been trained in this area then it could hinder your chances of getting a job.

So, anyone who thinks that getting help with their CV is a waste of time is at a serious disadvantage.

Of course not all CV writing services are equally good. That is why it is vital you choose the right one. It’s the same as anything else you buy. For instance, there are bad builders about, but we don’t sit at home with a gaping hole in our roof complaining about the lack of good builders.

I would like to respond to some of the criticisms I’ve heard thrown about lately that claim to describe CV writers in general. By questioning some of these claims you might start to see an improvement in what I term your ‘personal branding’.

 

  1. CV writers deliver generic results

This should absolutely not be the case. You are far more likely to get a generic result if you choose to use a template instead. Similarly writing your own CV based on the generic garbage that passes for CV ‘tips’ on the internet.

Good writers get to know our clients. We ask the right questions. We tailor a CV to the job that is advertised. And we are willing to put in the effort and the time to get it right. This will happen if you choose the right person.  

Make life a little easier for yourself and find out what the process is, how long it will take and how much time the CV writer is going to spend working on it with you. Of course, you will have a budget, but if you buy on speed of turnaround and price alone, then it is likely you will get a poor result.

If you want a detailed CV that highlights your unique capabilities and makes you stand out from your competitors, then surely it’s fair to say you won’t get this for £50?

If you can achieve this on your own, then please go ahead. But there must be a reason why you were considering using a professional service in the first place …

 

  1. The misconception that only you can write your CV

 

Although you will have better knowledge of your career than anyone else, you have to remember that this is not all about you.

CV writing has two sides, made up of the ‘supply side’ which is you, and the ‘demand side’ which represents the employer and their needs. But how good are you at matching these? Being objective by determining what is relevant and what isn’t, combined with knowing what order to place the information is extremely valuable. A CV writer should be an expert at doing this. Make sure you find out what expertise and experience this comes from.

Whilst what you have written is probably a very accurate description of your previous roles, a CV is not just a list of facts. It’s about being able to select the most powerful information and then knowing what level of detail to go into. You should not just assume you are the expert here.

It’s the responsibility of the CV writer to find out what makes you different. And to write this in a style which best expresses you. You should not assume that they will never be able to understand this. It is their job to understand it.

Besides, the practice of having to convey your value to the CV writer will help you more than you anticipate. Who likes interviews?

 

  1. You’ll become reliant on them / won’t be able to edit it

My CVs are delivered in Microsoft Word format or any other format you request, meaning they are fully editable. In addition, as I discuss the CV with you, you will inevitably pick up some of the skills involved in CV writing. I don’t just make this stuff up as I'd go along, do I?

My clients are also in no doubt that their CV needs to be tailored for every job they apply for. However, it is best to start with a great foundation.

 

  1. They don’t understand your industry

The recruiter is not hiring an entire industry. They are hiring YOU (hopefully!). It should not require insider knowledge to distinguish what makes you different from your competitors.

People who obsess over the industry are most probably the ones producing ‘generic’ CVs, as a result of following the so-called ‘rules’ (see point 1).

In addition, the selection panel will most likely comprise HR and recruitment professionals, as well as those who you consider, are ‘in’ your industry.

Personally, I’ve successfully helped those clients in industries I’ve never worked in just as much as those in which I have.

Also, the notion that you should get feedback from the ‘decision-maker" i.e. the employer as opposed to the outside ‘expert’. Well, I have been both an in-house and agency recruiter, as well as staying up to date by occasionally assisting on interview panels. I recently did this for a charity for whom I am a Trustee.

 

  1. It’s money down the drain

This depends on how much you want a new job and how much this means to you. For example, my clients who enjoyed instant pay rises of multiple or even tens of thousands are confident they received good value.

It might be that you want a certain job at a certain company so much that you need to get your CV right first time. If this is the case, then it is going to be the best investment you have ever made!

If you want my true opinion on price then I would suggest this: Anything under £200 should not even be considered. You have to ask yourself, how much time does it take to write a good CV? A significant amount of time should be spent on the consultation alone. How much time can the CV writer really spend on this process for the money they’re charging?

 

  1. Implying that CV writers are remote and a form of ‘outsourcing’

A good writer won’t fall into this category. They will carry out in depth consultations with all clients. They will be available to respond to any queries, experiment with ideas or to adapt to changing needs as and when necessary.

These claims usually stem from people who want you to pay them to ‘train’ or ‘coach’ you on how to write your CV yourself. Therefore, they are biased. As am I. So the choice is yours.

I even read an article from one trainer which mocked CV writers for retaining information for themselves (clearly he hasn’t attended one of my consultations). But he will share this information with you – at a price.

 

  1. The question of fairness

Now this one has some merit. By only providing services to those who can afford it or by coaching some job applicants over others, there is not a level playing field. But then again, there was never one to begin with.

I do recognise the moral issue and that is why I’m always willing to consider different ways to provide my services to those who need them, such as obtaining funding. If any charity or public body would like to support me in this, rather than funding large generalist companies who recruit low skilled people to manage big contracts then I would be over the moon. 

 

  1. The conspiracy theory: ‘They just want your money’

Do you get paid for doing your job? Then why should it be any different for us? You’re not the only ones with bills and a family to support.

Maybe it’s time we all grew up and accepted that expertise is worth the price.

Obviously, you should not throw your money away by hiring an amateur. Choose wisely and hire the best.

 

  1. There is still no guarantee of an interview

Well, no one can guarantee this. But as long as you’re not awful at what you do, then it is likely that interviews will follow.

You understand that people are getting selected for the job, don’t you? And you understand that employers don’t just make random choices?

 

 

Things that are not important when choosing a CV writer

  • Industry knowledge – for the reasons mentioned above.
  • ‘Certification’. Unlike the USA, I am glad there is currently no UK CV writing certification. I think this produces a ‘one best way’ approach to what should be a personal service. In my view, it reduces the process to logic only. For instance ‘If x, then y’. Roughly translated this means, ‘if you are in this industry, your CV needs to include this’. I prefer a much more sophisticated approach.
  • Giving out samples. Anyone who does this is contradicting themselves. Personally, I would never do this. And the samples I have seen publically displayed are not very good.
  • The time it takes to complete. It is safe to say you are not receiving a good service if the work is finalised in less than a few days.

To summarise, many of the criticisms made against CV writing services are total garbage. Start by having a conversation with them about what they will do for you and how, keep an open mind, and then you can choose the right person.

 

It all really boils down to a.) conversation and b.) how much you want that job.

 

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