One of the most common requests I get is for CV writing services but no matter how nicely you ask me, or how much you’re willing to pay, I always say no.
CVs are a pain point for a lot of people. It’s really tricky to boil down a career to fit on two sides of A4. Typically, people find it difficult to see the value in their skills when they use them day in day out and it’s often really tricky for people, especially Brits, to shine a light on their talents and achievements without cringing.
With all of this in mind, CV writing services look attractive and I can certainly understand the appeal of using someone who purports to know exactly what hiring managers want instead over writing your own and taking what might feel like a stab in the dark. But hopefully I can persuade you of the merits of writing your own.
You know yourself and your skills better than anyone else…
And if you don’t, then you need to! A CV is simply a sales document. Think of it as a long advert, where your unique experience is presented to meet the needs of the buyer. If you have one chance to make an impression, you want to make sure you’re presenting the right information.
Now, I’m good at grilling people and understanding what they do, but every role in every organisation is different and there is no way that I know the ins and outs of your industry in the way that you do. You need to make the decision about what information is in or out.
Writing your own CV gives you control, meaning that you can tailor it for each unique application.
This is your opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light. I wouldn’t recommend writing a new CV for every role but take the opportunity to restructure and edit the information according to the demands of the target job. Take the opportunity pack a punch by highlighting key skills and competencies and switching in the most relevant examples of projects and impacts that you can.
Use technology to your advantage by making your CV algorithm friendly.
Increasingly, organisations are using software to sift through large swathes of applications. This methodology not only allows cheap and effective processing of large numbers of applications but has also been shown to reduce bias in the selection process.
Writing your own CV allows you to optimise your document so that you show up. Each organisation has their own language, even if the differences are really subtle, so take your cue from the job description and use the same phrases and terminology.
This technique works really well even if CVs are being screened manually (or should that be optically?!) My mantra is, write as if the least knowledgeable member of staff, or the most generalist recruiter is shortlisting and make their life easy. There is no point wowing them with your prose if they have a limited knowledge of the job and are simply matching key phrases.
Savvy CV writing feeds into the whole interview process and makes you a better candidate.
It is my belief that If you don’t have the information to write your own CV you probably don’t have the resources to shine at interview.
Think of it like setting out a shop window; writing a good CV gives you the opportunity to work out what your customer is looking for, assess your stock, choose the juiciest produce and present it in a compelling manner. By going through this process you are recapping your experience and prepping yourself thoroughly for interview.
I won’t write your CV for you, but I will help you to do a good job for yourself.
When I work with clients on their resumes I use a process that I developed, tested and refined in my recruitment career and in my work as a coach. Essentially, it aims to make CV, cover letter and interview prep as efficient and as painless as possible, killing three birds with the same stone and putting you in the best possible position to sell yourself.
I can't promise that it will be as quick and easy as working with a CV writer but I urge you to put In the hard yards and do yourself a favour in the long run.
Periscope Works is launching a new CV review service in the coming weeks. You will be able to upload your CV to our site and, for a fee, receive a video review and a written report with suggestions. The product is currently in beta, for more details get in touch