Job/Sector Experience

One thing I get asked from time to time is ‘do you have a background in such and such a sector?’ The main reason people ask this is because they are under the false assumption that the best person to write their CV will be someone with work experience in their own particular sector. As surprising as this may sound to some people this just isn’t true. The best person to write your CV is a highly skilled, experienced and genuinely talented CV writer, regardless of whether they have worked in your sector or not.

For example, on the whole people tend to think recruiters and HR executives are CV writing experts. And if that were true then you would think most of them would go to someone else within HR and recruitment to help with their CVs. While I don’t doubt this does happen, a large proportion of HR executives know their own limitations and hire professional CV writers to give them an added advantage. If career sector specialists look for help outside their own sector when it comes to writing their CV then this should tell you something significant. Indeed, after seeing a great many DIY recruiter /HR CVs I am not at all surprised that they would want to get outside help. Most recruiters are not writers. It is an important distinction. And I for one certainly would not want a CV written by a typical recruiter!

As it happens, the most experienced CV writers have vast experience writing CVs at all levels in pretty much every sector. Obviously, no one (writer or otherwise) has hands-on work experience in every sector, however, as a CV writer, you don’t necessarily need in-depth hands-on experience in a particular sector to be able to write about it. Indeed, sometimes it is disadvantageous. I realise that this is a somewhat strange statement, so I will elaborate;

Say for example, you work in a technical field such as IT, and you ask an IT professional to write your CV. More likely than not they will write your CV in a similar vein to their own, and if anything it could end up being too technical (as a significant proportion of IT CVs are). When people write their own CVs most people tend to ‘tell’ rather than ‘sell.’ The skill of the best professional CV writers is that they can go beyond the average and turn CVs which simply tell, into ones which are highly effective job winning documents. This may sound like a subtle difference, but in terms of practicality and tangible results the difference can be staggering.

It doesn’t really matter whether the CV writer has vast experience in the sector or not, as long as he/she understands what you have done, knows what the employer is looking for and can marry the two together in a presentable, persuasive and highly effective manner.

Obviously, in order to do all this, a CV writer will need some working knowledge of intricacies of the job, the sector in question and the kind of things that sector employers look for. However, it doesn’t necessarily need to be incredibly in-depth or too technical. Most CVs are read by non-technical people anyway, and if your CV is too technical it can actually be a turnoff. It really needs to be balanced, and bring out you as a person as well as your professional abilities and achievements.

More to follow…

Paul Hichens (182 Posts)

Paul Hichens, top UK CV specialist, head of leading firm CV Succeed, and author of the most pioneering CV book in decades, The One Page CV (published by top career sector publishers Pearson Education).


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