We are commonly asked whether it is worth paying someone to write your CV. If you decide you want to work with a professional, here are some tips to get the best from the process.
In a recent live Q&A, on switching between the public and private sectors, one of the panelists said: "Getting someone else to write your CV for you, especially a CV writing business, is a mistake. I would always want to see how you describe yourself, rather than someone else do it for you. Professionally-written CVs look generic and sterile and do not create a good impression with the reader."
In my view, the belief that the individual is the best person to write their own CV is not always true. Although many people can write their own CVs, and do it well, others struggle with a variety of problems; such as incorrect English, not knowing how to structure a CV and not knowing how to best highlight their most relevant strengths.
Through in-depth consultation, a professional CV writer can help identify the key achievements and skills necessary for a particular role or sector, cut out unnecessary or irrelevant details, and pinpoint what makes the individual stand out. This level of objectivity is one of the major benefits in working with a professional writer. It's often difficult to be able to stand back from your own career history to assess what's relevant or not, or to choose the most appropriate qualities.
If you do choose to work with a professional, here are some tips for working with a CV writer:
Be prepared to invest your time
You'll probably need to answer an in-depth email questionnaire or be interviewed before any writing actually starts. The more information you can give your CV writer to work with, the better, so the promise of a quick turnaround time isn't always going to result in the best possible CV. Take the time to think about your career aims, your past achievements, and the value you bring, before you start the whole process.
Your CV will probably be used as a springboard for questions at interview, so you need to make sure you feel happy with the way it's written and with the choice of words. Being involved in the writing process means your CV sounds authentic.
Look for experience in your field
Ask for a CV writer who has industry experience in your sector. HR professionals and recruiters with relevant experience can also have valuable insights into what companies are looking for.
Choose a professional writer
The Australian CV-writing market is not regulated as in the USA, where the letters CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) indicate that the writer is a trained professional. This means you'll need to do some research and shop around to find someone with the appropriate writing skills. Look for someone who's prepared to take the time to unearth your core accomplishments, choose exactly the right words for maximum impact and who understands what and where to edit.
Keep an eye on the extras
Most professional CV writers will happily make edits to your CV, although often within a specific time-frame. Some offer other benefits too, such as ongoing support or follow-ups and interview coaching, so always ask.