If you’re in the process of writing or updating your CV, chances are you’re finding it difficult, tedious or both. What format should I use? Is this too long? How much detail should I go into? and so on. It may certainly be tempting to accept offers of help from CV writing services to do the job for you. Many of these companies will provide you with a good looking, professional CV which is couched in “recruitment speak” (you know, the kind of ubiquitous “a great team player who works well on his own…” kind of thing). Unfortunately these are mostly a cosmetic compromise which will not help you to get the right job and will not help you to prepare optimally for the subsequent stages such as interview.
At Managing Change we purposefully don’t provide CV writing services and this very much reflects our coaching based approach to job-seeking and career management. As a sometime interviewer and someone who is asked to review and critique hundreds of CVs, I find that these CVs usually fail to express the candidate’s strengths, skills and character sufficiently to give me a good idea of the person represented. At worse they present a bland, composite picture of the candidate. These are very likely then to be filtered out of the shortlisting process.
A good CV not only looks professional, clear and easy to read, critically, it also provides content that effectively and accurately describes you, your achievements, skills, attributes, values and style. In other words, it does you justice. A quick rule of thumb I advise is to “test” your re-drafted CV on a few people who know you very well from different perspectives eg., a colleague, partner and friend. Give them two minutes to quickly read the CV through and ask them – “is this me?” “Does it accurately and positively reflect the ‘me’ you know?” If they are hesitant or still pondering their response you might reasonably conclude that you have more work to do. However if you can see and hear a more energised and positive response, you might conclude that you have done a good job
So, how do you ensure that your content is good? Start with a thorough self-assessment of your skills, strengths, achievements, values, attributes, and so on. A career coach will help you do this effectively. Couple this with an assessment of what you are targeting (ie., the type of role, sector and employer) and be sure you have a clear proposition for your identified job market(s). Your CV should then be developed for use in each identified job market (and that may mean you have different versions of your CV). Most CV writing services cannot do this to anything like the same extent or depth, as they don’t know you as well as you know yourself. Additionally, by undertaking this critical self assessment process (which is essential to developing a good CV), you are thoroughly preparing yourself for subsequent interviews and to starting in your new role. In other words providing you with the clear knowledge about who you are, what you do, and the confidence that goes with that self-knowledge.
Should you really “outsource” such a key exercise in managing your career?
Contact us to see how we can help you develop your CV or to discuss job-seeking or career management.