Why a professional CV writer is worth paying for

Browse LinkedIn most days of the week and you’ll find someone asking for help with a CV. Then you’ll get the usual bunch of responses from people. The ‘Don’t pay more than £30’ commoditising rubbish. The ‘Why don’t you do it yourself?’ moralising. And the ‘I’ve got a job, so I know what to do’. Oh, and the classic ‘I work in your industry – send your CV to me and I’ll do it’

All of the above, whether well-meaning or self-serving can be seriously harmful to your career.

Here’s why:


There is more to it than ‘what worked for me’

What worked for someone else might have been having a rubbish CV but a reputation that speaks for itself. Or they may have known people and this gave them an advantage. If anyone doubts that this still happens today despite our pretence at being more objective and sophisticated, I can guarantee you it does happen.


You need more than just ‘what our industry expects’

Write your CV the same as others in your industry? Great. How are you going to get selected then?

Do you want to be the same as the other candidates, or do you want to be worth choosing?

By the way – different companies within the same industry want different things!


Real experts don’t work for buttons

A person who has built a skillset and a reputation in the area in which you need help will realistically not be cheap in comparison to non-experts. This does not mean that you have to pay a fortune, but it does need to be worth their while.

Think seriously about how much time you expect the person to spend on your CV. The answer is not ‘As little as possible’, it’s ‘As much as required.’ So how much is that time worth? And that’s before you consider the value of the expertise they have built.


You could also fix your own car 

We all have different things at which we excel. Unless the job for which you are applying is ‘CV Writer’, then it is perfectly fair and reasonable to get help writing your CV.


It’s not really an HR thing

It may be that some HR professionals are good at helping you with your CV, but by no means are they all good at it. HR is not the only profession involved in recruitment.

Really it’s line managers who make the recruitment decisions.  HR professionals support them, ensure standards are met and otherwise work on more strategic issues. These include the company’s overall approach to people management, attraction and retention, as well as policies and procedures, and caseloads of things like disciplinaries. It’s a wide field.

It’s also worth saying that ‘what is meant to be’ is not the same as ‘what is’ or what influences people.


Recruitment consultants …

Now I have to disclose here that I was a recruitment consultant for three years. There were parts of the job that I liked, and parts of it (such as being asked by managers to do unethical things) that I didn’t.

Some recruiters will be great at helping you with your CV. They are genuine professionals, they consult clients carefully and they listen. They understand the clients for whom they recruit. And they have a solid general education. Others … not so much on any of these criteria.


It depends.


Personally, what I know makes me a great CV writer is a mix of factors. I’ve been a recruitment consultant in companies that cared about helping (not just placing) candidates. I’ve also recruited and developed my own team as a line manager. And I’ve lived with the consequences of bad recruitment decisions! I also have a solid understanding of how businesses and the people in them work, from education and from experience. I’m also a Chartered Marketer, so strategic level communication comes naturally to me. Oh – a bit of grammar knowledge as well. I know what an apostrophe is for, like an Oxford Comma and steer well clear of anything tautological! But that is not the main factor in being a great CV writer.

Written by

CV Writer and Interview Coach. Blogging about ways to improve your CV writing and job searching experience.