Are you looking for a CV writer? I’m a professional CV writer. BUT you may have a few questions, you may not have used one before, you may feel uncertain. So I’ll try to answer your questions here. And provide some guidelines and principles to help you.
Of course I also recommend you read my articles, such as: “How to Write a CV” – my quick guide is quite comprehensive. Maybe you don’t need a professional CV writer, you can do it yourself. But if you feel you need help, read on or you can just contact me direct, I’m willing to have a quick chat about your existing CV or resume, what you need and how I can help. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me a call if you like.
Okay, let’s get into some questions:
First: Is THIS Why You’re Looking For a Professional CV Writer?
You’re not sure about your CV. You look at it and you wonder, “how is THIS gonna make me stand out?”
- You’re not sure what to include.
- You’re not sure what employers will look for.
- You’re not sure how to write it well.
- You get stuck with the formatting.
Or, you’ve looked at CV templates online, they look great, but when you try to enter your own information, it soon becomes a nightmare. Ugh!
Or, perhaps you’re a student, and you’re not sure how to write your CV when you have no real work experience. Ouch!
Or you have lots of experience, but you don’t know how to present the fact that you’ve had 3 jobs in the last year. And one of those times you threw a glass of water into your bosses face! Yeah, it didn’t end well.
Or you don’t know how to reduce your 30 years of experience, and 10 page CV, to the two pages that really matter.
You may feel stuck. So getting help with that is good. A professional CV writer may help.
When You Look For a Professional CV Writing Service – Who Do You Choose?
Okay, so this question is interesting. Because becoming a professional CV writer is pretty easy. It’s not one of those highly regulated professions. So anyone can do it. And anyone does do it. From students earning a part-time income writing resumes / CVs through to a full time professional CV writer like me (I’ve been doing it for 15+ years, constantly looking for new ways to help my clients make an impact!)
Now, sometimes all you need is your existing CV tidied up. Perhaps you’re in a job, your company asks for your CV just to get it on record for HR, so you just need a quick update and tidy up. You don’t need someone like me for that. You’ll get it cheaper elsewhere.
But then you may face serious challenges in the job market. You NEED to make an impact. You NEED to distinguish yourself. Your CV / resume has to POP! That’s a different story. What do you need from your professional CV writer in this case? What skills should they have? It’s quite a combination!
Here’s a list:
- A good professional CV writer will have life & professional / corporate experience: They should have the experience to understand your environment. They should have an understanding of what you do. (A lot of CVs I see written by some professional CV writing services, unfortunately the writer has basically just reformatted the existing CV – they do a tidy job – but there’s no real value added.) Choosing someone who can understand what you do and the environment you do it in is important. Often my job is to simplify, make more concise, put complex concepts and technical terms into more simple language. That’s takes experience. I could never pass that work on to a typist in my office, they would be out of their depth. They may think they know what they are doing, the CV may look neat. But when read by the employer, the mistakes and shortcomings will be revealed.
- A good professional CV writer will have strong copywriting skills: a copywriter is someone steeped in marketing, advertising and sales skills. They know how to sell in words and on ‘paper’. Writing succintly. Writing in a punchy, concise way is critical, especially in a CV. As much as your CV or resume (really the same thing these days) is a kind of biographical document. But in the end, it’s a sales document. It must persuade, it must speak to the needs of the reader (employer, recruiter, hiring manager). It’s a rare skill to be able to turn a CV, a traditionally pretty boring document, into something more exciting using words. A good professional CV writer, or like they call them in the USA, a resume writer, will be able to do that.
- A good professional CV writer will have good graphic design skills: actually that’s wrong. Let me be clear. They don’t need to really be that good in graphic design. In my work as a resume writer, I use some design skills, but it’s not rocket science. What I do need, however, is a good artistic eye. Not van Gogh or Picasso! Just a good eye, for proportion, for some colour. Also, skills to add a picture to a resume, creating a banner for a LinkedIn profile, using a picture in a CV to encapsulate the work that the person does to make the CV speak in different ways – these are important abilities for your professional resume writer / CV writer to have.
- A good professional CV writer must have good English, grammatical and spelling skills: duh! Do I need to go on? My English is good, but my grammar and spelling… not so much! Fortunately I have spell check and other tools to help me! What’s needed from a professional CV writer is not Shakespearean prose. But the ability to work with the language, make it simple, incorporate technical terminology in a natural way, make things simple, rearrange sentences to fit the format, to not use cliches (yeah, like: “An experienced professional with a demonstrated record of leadership seeking a company with room to grow where skills will be appreciated…” Oh, shut up already!) (Okay, that may not be good English! But you get my point, right?) The point is this: when typing up a CV, the main skill you need IS NOT typing or word processing. It’s a combination of all of the above, and below. And the skilled use of English is at the core of that.
- A good professional CV writer must have great MS Word skills: I’m just, right now, looking at a CV of a person in my neighbourhood community who reached out to me for help. Actually his wife reached out. They are desperate. He has not had work for a year now. And he’s too proud to ask me. So she emailed me: “can you help!?” I actually spoke to him some weeks back and offered to help, but heard nothing. He assured me his CV was in good shape. He’d sent it out all over the place. But no-one is hiring, he says. “The market is flat,” he says. Now I have finally seen his CV. And frankly, I’m angry. Is he really so darn arrogant? Can he not even use simple MS Word skills? Just to make things line up. To eliminate stupid formatting errors. These things make him look stupid. And he’s not stupid! He’s a genius kind of guy. But his CV, the formatting, his use/mis-use of MS Word makes him look like an idiot. Seriously. So… a good professional CV writer knows how to use MS Word. They don’t use the space bar where it should be a tab. Things are aligned. Fonts are consistent.
- A good professional CV writer must have experience of recruiting and HR: they must know something about the process of hiring – the different influencing parties, from the receptionist in a personnel agency who sometimes has the job of screening YOUR emailed job application (she / he knows literally NOTHING about you, the job, the hiring company, and YET, they have the power to sideline your application!), through to the recruiters who are under immense pressure to make their sales/placement targets, who review hundreds of CVs or resumes in a day, and to HR and ultimately the line managers or top managers who make the decisions. A professional CV writer needs to understand how that all works, what is looked for, who needs what, etc.
Okay, I’m stopping there. You can use what you’ve learned so far to evaluate the professional CV writer you’re looking at to make a decision.
Why Use Someone to Help You with Your CV?
I saw this the other day. It was a video with the title “Why You Shouldn’t Use a Professional CV Writer”. And I agreed with most of it. The central point was that employers want you to be authentic. I’m totally on board with that. However! It’s easy to say, “do it yourself”. But there are multiple problems! It’s not so easy! Look at the 6 points above! Who ordinarily has all of those skills? Not many in one package!
You’ll try. But often you’ll get stuck. You find yourself going around in circles. You’re not sure how to handle that 6 month gap in your experience – that time you went on holiday to Thailand and stayed for 6 months, living like a vegan hippy in Chiang-Mai. Every time you see an article on CV writing, you jump to make adjustments in your CV, but soon find yourself confused and frustrated. You may have this deep uncertainty that your CV is costing you opportunities. You struggle with the English, keeping it short, making it interesting.
These are the reasons to perhaps consider using a professional CV writer. And they can be helpful. For example, I invite my prospective clients to send me their CV in advance, and then we have a exploratory, no obligation chat about their particular situation and what my approach would be to fixing it. They can then either take the ideas and apply them themselves, or they can get me to do it. This way they can make an educated decision. They can ask me questions. We both want to be sure we can work together.
[You can do the above now, if you like. I’m on email@example.com. Send your CV, tell me in the email what jobs you’re looking for and what you feel is wrong with your CV, and I’ll give you a call. Or go straight to my professional CV writing service page.]
Do You Need to Meet Your CV Writer?
I see this a lot – when people search on Google for a CV writer, they search for “CV writer” followed by their location or city. Like this: CV writer Cape Town, or CV writer Sandton or CV writer Dubai, CV writer London, Hong Kong, Cairo, Sydney, etc – you get the picture! They feel they need someone in their location, someone they can go into actually meet and discuss the project with.
Um, that’s a nice thought. But the practicalities and logistics of it are not great. Traffic. Time. Needing to use only a professional CV writer in that location – these are actually all problematic. And they mean more hassle for you and perhaps not getting the best help available.
My clients, for example, just this week are in Austin Texas, Australia, the UK and Dubai. Skype, phone, email ensures my clients get one-to-one personal assistance. Sitting face to face, perhaps, would have helped, it’s always better, I’m sure. But nonetheless, despite the distance, we get great results without meeting. So, no, if you’re ‘old school’ and want to meet, a CV writer like me is not going to work for you. But if you’re on the more modern digital transformation train, hey, let’s talk.
Okay, So What’s the Procedure When Using a Professional Resume / CV Writer?
To be honest, I can’t speak for other CV / resume writing services. I can only speak for how I do it. My process is briefly, as follows:
- we have a discussion, make sure my client and I are on the ‘same page’ as far as what they’re looking for and what the actual job is and we reach agreement to go ahead;
- we ‘dive’ into an information gathering process. I send a list of different items I need (if my client has them) and a questionnaire which is very intense in terms of asking good questions and being thorough – either my client fills out the questionnaire or we have a detailed discussion about it, or a combination of both;
- once I have all the info, the ball is in my court. I study the information. I break it down. Understand it. Then I start writing and designing the CV:
- What are the needs of the potential employer?
- What do we need to really stand out?
- How can we grab attention?
- How can we make the resume interesting reading?
- How can we make it look / visually interesting?
- What proof of great work does the client have, how can I feature it with ‘smack-bang’ effect?
- How can we make the reader trust my client? These are the questions I grapple with during the process. I write every word. Design the layout. Find elements of distinction.
- then I submit a draft – pretty much complete actually – to my client for review. I invite their ideas, comments, corrections (this hurts! – there have been times when I’ve spelt the client’s name wrong – why don’t I just shoot myself in the head right now!
- I make changes, incorporate suggestions, explain why I’ve done things a certain way and then we’re done. Although it’s open ended – any additional corrections or comments are welcome even beyond the initial sign off. I’m here to help my clients!
So in conclusion: you may have been looking for a professional CV writer or a professional resume writer or even a professional LinkedIn profile writer… whatever… hopefully, you’ve gotten a good few ideas of what you’re looking for in the person you’ll choose to help you.
I’m willing to chat to help you further. Send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, join me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/kickassjobsearch, see me on www.LinkedIn.com/in/gerardleroux1 – I’ll do what I can to help.