Money for old rope. Why CV writing services are the modern day flea circuses.

I’m sure there is a purpose for Nigel Farage, I’ve just never really been able to understand what it is. Similarly, the burgeoning cottage industry of CV writing companies must have some reason to exist but I’m really struggling with what that might be. It feels like a heady mix of the Emperor’s new clothes and a hard selling carpet cleaning company press-ganging the elderly into parting with their life savings.

When you first start out on your career path and generate that first CV it will quite understandably be long on superlatives and short on substance but the expectation isn’t that it should be a highly polished professional looking resume. Much like wearing a parents’ suit, it should by nature look slightly odd and gangly as befits someone at this stage in their career. It’s part of its charm and character and those touches of arrogant hyperbole are not just to be expected they are to be welcomed (to a degree.) People respond to confidence and it’s a real shame that these companies target the young and often clueless students to get their hands on their limited cash to generate a sterile and generic identikit CV.

Similarly when better established and with a CV filled to the brim with achievements and a storied career path there’s no simply no need to shell out £50.00 to what amounts to a CV sweat shop. When anyone is looking for work they should align themselves with a sector/skill specific recruitment consultant who can take them through their CVs in a demonstrably more personalized, tailored and useful way than an online service. By so doing you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a) the advice is the most recent and up to date available and based on real world conversations with actual employers, and b) they have a vested interest in your success so it’s as much in their interests as it is your own to get it right.

That’s my biggest issue – there is no check and balance on offer, you send your CV off to an anonymous internet recipient, they run it through CVatron 2000 and you have your utterly bland resume delivered back to you 24 hours later. If you don’t get a job they don’t give a shit, they’ve got your money anyway. If you do, you might be tempted to think it’s because of the CV they did, you write them a glowing review and so the cycle is perpetuated. Quality shines through and if your experience is good someone tinkering at the edges to give you a ‘dynamic, high impact personal statement’ won’t mean diddly. By all means take advice, ask people you respect to get their view, but get yourself a decent consultant in your corner and you won’t have to wonder. Or pay.

So for all the young pups – take advice (I’d say ask your school but, well, you know my feelings on that) but job centres, libraries all offer sessions on CV writing. Look online, do some research and never, ever be tempted to put your hand in your pocket for something you are equipped to do without having to shell out.  And, for the more seasoned professional you should know better.

 

 

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