Four reasons why you should never write your own CV
Want to increase your chances of landing your dream job? Then hire a CV writer! Here are four reasons why you should never write your own CV.
So, you’ve seen the perfect role and you want to apply for it. There’s just one problem: your CV isn’t up to date. What do you do?
The easiest and cheapest solution is just to have a go and write it yourself. There are plenty of online articles sharing CV writing tips (you can read several here). There are even free online templates you can use.
But if you really want to increase your chances of securing your dream job, or simply getting back into employment as quickly as possible, you’d be much better off hiring a professional to write your CV for you.
Four reasons why you should never write your own CV
And yes, this will cost you money in the short term. But, as you’re about to find out, paying an expert to write your CV for you should save you time and money in the long term.
To explain why, Laura Harmsworth from Caversham CV Writing reveals the four reasons why you should never write your own CV.
1) You’re too emotionally involved
Have you ever tried talking about yourself and your abilities? Or worse, selling yourself? The truth is that it’s very difficult to write about ourselves. We worry that we may sound like we’re bragging, for example. Or we’re not sure what information to share, and what should be left out.
It’s virtually impossible to be objective about your own experience and achievements, which is a huge downside when trying to write your CV. How do you know which of your skills and achievements to highlight for a particular job? An employer, after all, doesn’t want your entire life story; just the parts that are relevant to them.
This is where a professional CV writer comes into their own. A fresh pair of eyes can pull out the key points to highlight in your CV. It can help hirers see why they have to employ you, and what you can offer them to fill their gap.
And, as much as anything, a professional CV writer will know instantly what you need to leave out. So that what is left will instantly appeal to an employer. And this ‘instant’ appeal is essential, as you only have a few seconds to impress:
“Most employers spend less than 30 seconds reading a CV. Even this may be overstating it. According to research… the average time spent reading a CV was just 6.25 seconds.”
Without a professional CV writer’s objectivity, there is a big risk that you’ll be so emotionally attached to a project, result or particular experience that you’ll keep it in your CV. And as a result end up with a four-page CV – or four pages’ worth of information squeezed into two pages with extended margins and an unreadable, tiny font size.
Remember, you only have seconds to make a good impression with your CV. So remove emotions and let a professional cull it down to the information that will impress an employer – no more, no less. And be proud of a CV that is targeted, succinct and sells you.
2) You don’t know how to beat the ATS
75% of job seekers’ chances of landing a job are killed the moment they send in their CV, thanks to something called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
Nearly 40% of employers now use ATS to scan CVs before a human eye even sees them. ATS is an employer’s dream software, saving them time by collecting and sorting thousands of CVs.
But while employers love ATS, it’s a job applicant’s worst nightmare. You can have the best experience, the most amazing achievements and be the perfect person for the job – but your CV will not reach the next stage (being seen by an actual person) if it’s not written in the right way.
ATS scans your CV for keywords that match the job description. But it’s not perfect. It can’t read all fonts (serif fonts, for example), and doesn’t recognise certain bullets, such as arrows. Its limited keyword searching functionality also means that some of the best candidates are eliminated at the first stage.
This is one of the most important reasons why it’s not wise to write your own CV. A professional CV writer will understand how ATS works, and what it’s looking for, and help ensure that your CV makes it past ATS and through to the next stage.
3) You don’t have the time
It’s easy to think that you’re saving money by writing your CV yourself, but crafting the perfect CV takes time. And a lot of it.
It’s not something you can rush out in an hour one evening (not if you actually want to land a job, anyway). Instead it needs to be carefully honed. After all, it’s your one shot of securing an interview for the job you’ve set your heart on.
Your CV’s content, presentation, and even the format you send it in are all so important. So, rather than spend hours researching current CV best practice, and trying to shoehorn a career’s worth of experience into just two pages, isn’t it better to hand the job over to a professional? And while they’re writing the perfect CV for you, you can do something much better with your time.
You’ll also be saving money by employing a professional to write your CV, especially if you’re currently out of work. How? Because every week that goes by without landing a new job is a week’s salary you’re not earning.
If a CV writer can finish your CV more quickly, and help you secure a new or better job faster, you’ll actually save money by hiring them.
Equally, if you’re currently employed but hoping to move jobs to escape a toxic environment or get a promotion, the right CV will speed this process up for you too.
So the question really is not whether you can afford to pay a professional to write your CV for you, but whether you can afford not to.
4) You’ll miss some of your best stuff
A good CV writer will always have a conversation with you before writing your CV. They’ll want to personally chat through your experience, skills, achievements and qualifications, etc. And the plus side to this is that you get the chance to consider what you have to offer with someone before an interview.
A professional CV writer will know what questions to ask you to elicit the right information, and often this uncovers skills, experiences and achievements you’ve forgotten. It also reminds you of exactly how accomplished you are, which is a great confidence boost.
You can never replicate this process simply by sitting at a laptop trying to remember what you’ve done to write your own CV. Nor will any free online template guide you through this process.
This is exactly why a great CV writer is worth their fee. They won’t simply make the information you give them sound and look prettier. They’ll help to uncover exactly what information needs to go in your CV (and what needs to stay out). So not only will you end up with a CV that opens doors for you, but you’ll have a much clearer picture of your value as a professional, ready to impress at the interviews your CV lands for you.
Get professional help to write your CV
As you can see, there’s much more to writing a great CV than finding a good template and spending time getting it right.
CV writing exists as a profession because there’s a need for it. Wise people know that hiring an excellent CV writer will increase their chances of being asked for interview for the roles they want. They’ll speed up their job hunting process, and even help them secure a higher salary.
So if you’re in the market for a new job, save yourself time and money and avoid the DIY approach. Get an expert to write your CV for you.
Laura Harmsworth is an experienced HR professional with over six years’ experience in writing CVs that open doors for people. Find out more about her services at Caversham CV Writing.
Photo by Annie Spratt