Why I Wont Write Your CV For You (No Matter How Much You Offer To Pay Me)

 Photo by  Corinne Kutz  on  Unsplash

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

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

Bookings For Online Group Coaching Are Live!

 Photo by  Finn Hackshaw  on  Unsplash

Photo by Finn Hackshaw on Unsplash

Our next programme of Online Group Coaching goes live on 3rd October at 7pm.

This four-week programme will give you the opportunity to explore what matters to you, understand what makes you tick and work out what it takes to make you jump out of bed on Monday mornings!

More information can be found here and tickets can be booked below:

How To Make A Career Change Without Taking A Big Financial Hit

One of the biggest barriers that career changers come up against is the financial one. For many, it is simply impossible to go back to zero and start working their way up from the bottom again. However, it is possible to retrain and maintain an income at the same time if you’re prepared to make the time and put in a little effort.

Skill Up In Your Spare Time

For most, going back to university, or starting back at college feels like it might be impossible, but a lot has changed.

Night School

If you’re lucky enough to live in London, a university like Birkbeck is a great option- I know from personal experience! Their whole offering is geared towards helping working students get qualified in their spare time with classes and lectures in the evenings and at weekends, complemented by a whole host of online materials.

Learn Online

The Open University has been doing it for years but now many other universities are opting to exploit digital developments and offer a range of courses for distance learners. This means that students aren’t tied to timetables in the same way that they would have been in the past and lectures and tutor groups take place online. Convenience aside, there are a range of other advantages to learning in this way; studying a subject in depth can broaden your horizons and open your eyes to a range of opportunities, you’ll get the opportunity to meet interesting people in your chosen field, broadening your network, and you’ll get to test out your interest before jumping feet first into a new career.

More information on distance learning courses can be found here

Retrain On The Job

The way that we work is changing and very few people working today will reach retirement without having changed roles at some point (apart from some vocational lifers out there like doctors and lawyers) in fact, a study by the Association of Accounting Technicians suggests that around 46% of people will retrain completely at some point in their career and sometimes a purely academic route won’t provide you with the vocational skills you need to make a shift.

Shuffle Sideways

If you’re lucky enough to work in an organisation large enough, a secondment is an attractive option. Typically lasting around six months and normally consisting of an employee being loaned to another department or external client, a secondment gives you a convenient opportunity to develop your experience and skillset and minimise risk by allowing you to ‘try before you buy’.

Earn While You Learn

Apprenticeships are typically associated with school leavers but that simply isn’t the case any more. The government runs two schemes designed to up-skill participants and give them qualification at the same time. There are Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships which allow students to gain qualifications up to University Degree level. These schemes are aimed at students of all levels and organisations such as BAE Systems, KPMG, Barclays and BMW all run schemes.

For more information on Degree and Higher Apprenticeships see here

Bit On The Side

Side Hustle

This is a BIG trend at the moment, a quick google search returns more than three million results on the topic, but essentially it’s about building a  business or second income stream in your spare time.

Side hustlers are more than their day jobs.

From The Guardian + Squarespace


Obviously, if you’re working a regular 9 to 5 it requires a lot of effort to maintain another job or business in your spare time which is why a side hustle is also often a passion project. However, it’s an excellent way to develop new skills, get a business off the ground before quitting your day job or just a way of diversifying your skillset or income source.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a part time entrepreneur Forbes Magazine, Business Insider,  and The Guardian are a good place to start.

Bored of the same old journey to work?

try a new way to get around....

For many workers, commuting is the pits! From leaves on the line to rail replacement services, it doesn’t take much to seriously screw with a straightforward journey.

Hopefully not too many readers will be affected by the Southern Rail sink hole/cancellation/ emergency timetable/ staff shortage debacle that’s happening right now. But, if you’re looking for a novel way of getting about once you’re in town there are some exciting transportation developments in the works for Londoners

Booze bus

Hendricks Gin have launched H.E.R.B.E.R.T. or to give it it’s full name Hendrick’s Extraordinary Roving Bus for Exceptionally Refined Travel. Although at £2.50 it’s slightly pricier than your average bus journey, you’ll get G&Ts, cocktails and cucumber macaroons in return.

They’re running a limited service  from tomorrow (21st July) until 29th July (not Mondays though) in the centre of town including stops in Westminster, Euston Road and on the Southbank. For more info on booking tickets see the Hendrick's site.

 image credit ride2rebel.london

image credit ride2rebel.london

Spin Cycle

For those looking to maximise their commute and multitask their way in to work, Ride2Rebel might have the answer. R2R, a subsidiary of Rebel1 Studios, plans to convert buses into moving Spin Studios and run services from Stratford, Angel, Kensington High Street, and Clapham Common, depositing riders at their central London premises in time for a shower before work.

You can find out more and sign up here. Alternatively, you could just get on your bike!

Night Tube

After looking like it might never actually happen the Night Tube will finally be pulling into a station near you as of August 19th and I have to admit, I’m pretty excited.

Although initially only running a limited service across Jubilee, Victoria. Northern, Central and Piccadilly lines it is set to revolutionise late night travel for millions of Londoners. TFL estimates that it will reduce night time journeys by an average of 20 minutes and up to an hour for some people. It should also reduce strain on the night bus network which has seen usage rise by 173% since 2000.

No more night bus for me!