Professional CV Writers: Why They Might be More Useful Than You Think

By Graeme Jordan (CV Writer / Interview Coach / professional Marketer)

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We all need CVs or resumes. So broadly you have two choices: Write it or get some help to write it; be that in the form of training or consultancy and writing by a professional CV writing service. Now, of course, I am biased towards professional writing, being a CV writer myself. But I will always encourage my clients to write their own if they can – if I review their CV for example and the improvements needed can be easily managed. Plus I advise adapting your CV to every single application.

But most CVs need a significant overhaul due to being insufficiently detailed and insufficiently different from other candidates. This is usually due to poor quality previous advice. That is why it frustrates me to see discussions on Linkedin and articles by people who are just as biased as me saying that you should not even consider a professional CV writer. So in this post, I would like to address some of the issues I have read about and provide an alternative perspective.

As I said if you can write the CV yourself, great. But don’t disadvantage yourself by blindly following any of the following myths:

  

  1. The idea that a professional CV = a generic CV

I don’t see why that would be. It depends entirely on the quality of the consultation and the writer’s ability to ask you the right questions. This, of course, requires a suitable amount of time to be input. If the writer is charging the kind of fee that would only allow a professional to spend an hour on the work, then you have the answer.

Some providers even provide a bad service. But why should that put you off them all? Most of us live in a house built by builders despite there being some bad ones out there. The service of a professional should give you much more personalised and much more accurate results than does a template or advice from books or websites.

  

  1. The idea that no-one could ever write your CV as well as you

We all rate our abilities, but really, we can’t all be good at everything. I write CVs because I’m good at the consultation, asking the right questions and then matching candidates’ strengths to employer needs.

The objectivity involved in doing this is necessary. It’s not just about your knowledge of your career. You can provide that information to me, and I can question it.

As for writing it in your style – I will do that also once I’ve got to know you.

Consider this also - the practice of explaining your career history to your consultant is not going to do you any harm when it comes to interviews, is it? 

The key questions for you to ask your CV writer are: What experience and expertise do you bring? How will this help me in particular?

 

  1. You don’t need them because each application needs to be different

Of course, it does. But you might as well start from the best CV possible and adapt that. Your CV will be provided in Microsoft Word format (or any other convenient format for you), and you can change it in future as you see fit.

As for the idea of you being dependent on the CV writer rather than learning the skills for yourself … do you think by engaging me you won’t be learning along the way?

 

  1. They don’t know your industry

 Honestly, if you are not able to explain what you do and why it’s valuable to someone who doesn’t do the same job then that is your problem, right there!

The other candidates are going to be from your industry also. It’s how you better them that matters. Knowledge of your industry is not the key to doing this.

In my experience, those who overplay the importance of industry knowledge are those that produce the most generic and ineffective CVs. They are following the ‘rules’ and doing what is ‘industry standard’. Well, standard won’t get you chosen unless the competition is extremely low.

Of course, choose a CV writer with a background in your industry if you prefer. I doubt that’s the most important factor though.

 

  1. The claim that it’s not worth the money

It depends on how much a new job is worth to you. And how many opportunities are out there? If opportunities are scarce or if you want a single role in a particular company, then you best get your application right first time.

Again it comes down to the CV writer being able to put in sufficient time and having the right expertise. You wouldn’t judge the entire car market based on an experience with a basic model.

  

  1. The idea that it can’t be ‘outsourced.'

Well speaking personally, I’m not remote from my clients. I’m always available to answer questions, consider new approaches and respond to new information.

It’s all based on in depth consultation with the client. The bottom line is you might as well get help when you need it. Whether that’s in the form of training or expert writing, the result needs to work for you.

  

  1. Fairness

There is some merit in this one. Access to professional help comes at a price, and this is not, therefore, possible for everyone. But we didn’t start on a level playing field either. Some education providers instilled greater self-confidence than others; some even taught CV writing well. Some of us have connections and opportunities that others don’t.

I do two things to address this. One is that I provide talks and workshops at local schools. Another is that I am always open to ways of working with those who most need the support.

 

  1. They are just out for your money

I feel like this one answers itself. Why shouldn’t someone providing expertise be paid for what they do?

  

  1. They can’t guarantee you an interview

Of course. But as long as you are applying for the right jobs, you will get them. Surely getting yourself the best quality CV to reflect you can only be a good thing?

  

  1. Things that don’t matter when choosing a CV writer
  • Industry knowledge – covered in point 4
  • ‘Certification’. Your CV writer should be professionally qualified (I’m a qualified marketer), but I don’t see the value in particular CV writing qualifications. For me, this produces standardised ways of doing things and linear-rational rather than truly strategic thinking.
  • Anyone who tells you not to use a CV writer who won’t give out samples is completely and utterly missing the point. And those that I’ve seen aren’t very good.
  • Turnaround time. Your career is important. Where you work and who you work with has such a significant impact on your life. Let’s focus on getting it right. Of course, you can’t wait for ever though. My timeframe is a maximum of seven working days.

 

In summary, just choose the best provider you can by speaking to them and asking them questions. Don’t be put off by general whining by those who are either trying to sell you an alternative or have used a cheap service and not got a good result. If you need expertise, hire an expert. 

Graeme Jordan is a CV Writer and Interview Coach who helps candidates at all levels in a range of industries to get interviews and get selected. See more at www.GraemeJordanCV.com

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