What typical CV companies look for in a writer?

I can’t speak for every CV company out there, because how they conduct their business is really their own affair. However, one thing I can say is that over the years we have received a great many applications from people who say they have experience writing for other professional CV companies. And I’ve no reason to doubt these claims. There are a lot of CV companies out there, and these must employ someone!

When we receive applications from certain other “professional CV writers” (and I deliberately use quotation marks here), one thing a lot of them have in common is that they are frequently accompanied by claims that X% of their clients go on to find work (sometimes in a very short timescale). As mentioned elsewhere in my blog, I’m not a fan of statistics – as they can easily be (and usually are) manipulated. Regardless of my own personal suspicions about statistics, I’m happy to give everyone who applies a chance, so my stock response is usually to tell them up front something along the lines of that is all well and good, but I usually find that the proof is in the pudding.

I then go on to tell them about our test, and then ask if they would like to take the test.

The mere word ‘test’ seems to scare off a sizeable proportion of applicants. Yes, I am aware that other companies don’t test their candidates, but we only take on the very best writers, and if he/she is confident in his/her own ability then my view is that they should not be afraid to take the test.

As it happens, many people still do take a test, although only a very small proportion of these show any promise in it. More about the test later.

Paul (182 Posts)

Paul , 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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