Four reasons why you shouldn’t DIY your own CV (and how to get help if you are on a budget)

Need to write or update your CV? Read on for four reasons why it’s not a good idea to do it yourself – and how to get help that doesn’t break the bank.

You’ve just seen the perfect role advertised and the closing date to apply is next week.  Great, you just need to dig out your CV and fire it off.

However, when you find your CV, it’s out of date and the format is looking a little tired. You look online to find some info on how to update it and experience complete overwhelm – so many resources, so much information, numerous templates, so many varying opinions!

What now, where to start?

Four reasons why you shouldn’t DIY your own CV

If you have the budget, you can hire a CV writer to completely rewrite your CV. But what if you don’t? Many people are just left with the choice of writing it themselves. Here are four reasons why this isn’t a good idea.

1) External perspective

Many people find it hard to talk about their abilities and achievements, to sell themselves. Can you remember your achievements or know how to articulate them?

What information is relevant, do you know what information to take out of your CV? An employer doesn’t want your entire life story; just the parts that are relevant to them.

A professional CV writer can pull out the key points to highlight in your CV and help recruiters see why they must employ you.

They will also know 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.  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) Getting past the robots

75% of job seekers’ chances of landing a job are lost the moment they send in their CV, thanks to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).  

Over 90% of large companies now use ATS to scan CVs before a human eye even sees them. 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.

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 and doesn’t include key words.

A professional CV writer will understand how ATS works and will give your CV a better chance of making it past ATS and through to the next stage.

3) 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.  You need to research the best format, learn about ATS, dig out all your achievements then work out how best to showcase them, match your skills to the job spec… all on two pages.

Working with a CV writer who can share their knowledge and top tips will save you time.

4) Digging out the details

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 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.

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.

This all sounds fantastic, but what if you:

  • Don’t have the budget to hire the services of a CV writer?
  • Prefer to write it yourself so you know every word written is your own?
  • Want to go through the process of writing your own CV so you have the knowledge of how to update it in the future?

Many CV writers offer a variety of services that can help you with this, such as a CV review. Just be careful with companies offering free CV reviews. Some are from great CV writers who will genuinely help you with no strings attached, but there will be others who give a very high-level CV review and use the service to upsell you other services.

How to get help with your CV on a budget

But what about if you don’t have the budget to hire a CV writer? There is a middle ground. Some CV writers like Laura Harmsworth of Caversham CV Writing offer a service that is very popular with those seeking help with writing their CV, is more budget friendly than a full CV writing service, and from which you will learn how to write your own CV and tailor it to each job application.

And that’s a CV review. Here’s an example of how it works.

For £99, Laura Harmsworth offers an hour on Zoom, accessing her CV writing knowledge and experience, giving you plenty of information and suggestions on how to improve your CV. Laura will look at the formatting, presentation, and content (experience, achievements, what to take out/leave in), cross check your CV against a job ad if you’re applying to a specific role, ensure your CV is ATS compliant, and you can ask her any CV-related questions.

She’ll then send you various resources depending on your situation that will help you write your CV after the 1:1 consultation. And finally, you can send your newly written CV to Laura for a final review, then apply for that job! 

To gain an insight into how Laura Harmsworth can help you write or review your CV, visit her website, or call 0118 947 2488.