The CV Consultancy » General Providing a dedicated CV writing service for Professionals Mon, 29 Nov 2010 15:17:48 +0000 en hourly 1 CV Writing Templates Mon, 29 Nov 2010 15:15:09 +0000 admin Whether or not a CV writing template is of any value in helping you to write the best CV will depend entirely upon the quality of the template.  That may sound obvious, but most of the free (and many of the ‘paid for’) templates I have seen are really worse than useless. 

They are frequently based upon a table format with section headings on the left.  This has the effect of pushing all of the information onto the right hand side of the page, which makes it look unbalanced.  This type of template offers no help at all with creation of suitable content and gives an unattractive presentation.  Rather than use this type of template you would be much better following the advice on my website here on how to format a CV. 

Another alternative which you may be offered, is access to a huge number of editable CV templates.  The idea is that you should be able to find one that’s suitable and then adapt it with your own information.  This sounds like it might work, yet your CV is very personal to you, and I would be very surprised if you could adapt somebody else’s CV to suit you. 

With CV templates, as with most things in life, you will get what you pay for.  CV template packages at their best can be a really useful tool, and can offer an extremely cost effective alternative to having a professional CV.  But you do have to be careful what you choose.

It’s unlikely that you will get anything suitable or really helpful unless you are paying for it.  Even if you are paying, it can seem to be extremely difficult to know how to choose, since you are not going to be able to inspect the product in advance.

However, I don’t think that a CV template alone is enough to help you create a good CV.  What you need is guidance notes to use alongside the template.  This will then give you information as to how each section should be completed and can, indeed, provide a really cost effective solution.

The CV Consultancy doesn’t provide CV writing templates, but if you visit my other site here you will find more information about the templates which I have developed.  When you buy these CV templates, for which prices start at only £12.95, what you are getting is the benefit of the many hours of work that has gone into developing them.  This really does represent the very best solution for somebody needing expert help with developing their own CV.

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A CV is not an Autobiography Tue, 21 Sep 2010 10:42:30 +0000 admin A CV is not a kind of shortened autobiography.  It is a marketing document for use in a very competitive market place.  What you need to do is to demonstrate in your CV is reasons why the prospective employer should consider you as a preferred candidate for the job on offer. 

In order to do this, you will need to capture their interest from the outset, so that they will want to read on to find out more about you.  Remember that the only knowledge that the reader has of you is what you are telling them in your CV and you cannot assume any prior knowledge.  This means that you need to strike a balance between too much detail and enough information so that the reader can understand who you are and what you have to offer.  

The first thing you need to do is to introduce yourself to set the context within which the rest of the CV should be read.  The best way to do this is with a profile which includes an overview of  information about the sectors you have worked in and the skills you have developed.

Don’t include detailed information and make sure that the information you do include is relevant to the application you are making.  For example, there is no need to include particulars of primary education.  If you are graduate then you probably don’t even need to include ‘A’ levels.

It is important to prioritise your information.  As your career progresses your experience will become more relevant than your education, so always make sure that the most important , career related information comes first. 

Personal information should go at the bottom of page 2, if it is included at all.  These days I never include date of birth or marital status, but I do put in a section which I call ‘OTHER INFORMATION’ where I put in such things as Nationality, Driving (if relevant), languages and interests. 

So when writing a CV remember that a CV is not an autobiography – it does not need to include full details of everything you have ever done.  The trick is in identifying your target market and making sure that your CV demonstrates that you have the qualities that the prospective employer will be looking for. 

© This article is copyright The CV Consultancy 2010.  You have permission to reproduce this article or forward it to others, provided that the permission granted by The CV Consultancy is acknowledged and all links remain intact.

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Psychometric Testing Mon, 02 Aug 2010 10:36:32 +0000 admin I believe that psychometric testing or personality profiling is great in its proper place. It is a very useful tool for employers to be able to assess how a candidate will fit in with their team, and from your point of view it is very useful to be able to find out what the test will say about you. That is why we have included information about psychometric testing on our Website.

I do think, however, that it’s a bit like carrots which are jolly good for you, but even the best of things can be bad if taken to excess. I’m not at all sure that the personality profile can really tell you anything about yourself that you didn’t know already.

The problem with psychometric tests is that people tend to include elements from them in their CVs in an endeavour to describe the type of person they are. This is a big mistake. It’s a bad idea to include anything in the CV that is not demonstrable.  

The type of thing I mean is where people include something like the following in their profile:

“A highly dynamic and flexible person. Intelligent and hard working with an agile mind. A pro-active problem solver and excellent communicator ……….”

Now, these claims may all be true but because they are comparative and are really a matter of opinion, they are simply a waste of space.  Yet this is a trap that almost everyone falls into and I have even seen so called ‘professionals’ advising that personal characteristics should be included in the profile.

The profile is a very important part of any CV but it needs to be an introduction that focuses upon your achievements and skills. It sets the context within which the rest of the CV should be read.  You need to show, in real terms, what you have to offer to a prospective employer and why that makes you the preferred candidate.

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What is a Modern CV? Wed, 20 Jan 2010 16:47:30 +0000 admin The shortened form ‘CV’, stands for ‘Curriculum Vitae’ but whoever first applied this name can have had no idea of how the modern CV would evolve.

According to my Chambers Dictionary ‘Curriculum Vitae’ means ‘[a biographical sketch of] the course of one’s life’. Yet, whilst a type of potted autobiography may have been appropriate in the 1980s, CVs have come a very long way since then.  The American form ‘Resumé’ has become really more descriptive of what is now required.   

Nevertheless it never ceases to surprise me how few people recognise the change.  They do not seem to realise that the autobiographical format is inappropriate for the current jobs market. Employers simply don’t have the time, or the need, to consider detailed information about every aspect of an applicant’s life.  Neither are they impressed by unsubstantiated descriptions of attributes and personal characteristics which are perceptions rather than demonstrable facts.     

So what is a required for a modern CV and how has it evolved from the original concept?   

To find the answer to this question, we need to identify the purpose for which the CV is intended. Its one and only purpose is to deliver information, usually in support of a job application to somebody who has no prior knowledge of you. Anything which detracts from that aim must be counter productive. 

In my opinion, shaded boxes, lines, tables all represent ‘clutter’ which draw the eye away from the text.  Keep the appearance of the page clean and businesslike.  What is needed is a concise, easy to understand, presentation.  The CV needs to have well defined sections, separated by clear headings and plenty of white space on the page.  This will ensure that it is easy understand and navigate and will make sure that it fulfils its intended purpose.

The optimum length for a CV is two pages and most people are aware of this. However, in order to meet this requirement people frequently cram far too much detailed information onto the two pages, using a very small font just so that it all fits into the space. This means that the CV becomes very difficult to read and understand. 

Now, anything which makes the prospective employer’s job harder must be counter-productive. The two page format is meant to be a guide to define the amount of information usually required by an employer in order to consider job applications, it is not a requirement just to save paper.

A modern CV is a marketing document for use in a very competitive environment.  It represents an applicant’s first point of contact with a new employer.  Unless you have been ‘head-hunted’ then the information contained in your CV is all that the prospective employer can know about you in the first instance. So it is imperative to get the right message across in the clearest way possible.

Remember that for every job advertised there are likely to be about 200 applicants.  That means that some unfortunate individual is likely to be ploughing through up to 200 CVs.  No wonder many CVs are confined to the bin without even being read. 

Here is the important part which I am constantly stressing, you may be the ideal candidate – just what the employer is looking for – but he needs to recognise you.   Unless your CV is user-friendly it may never get past the first hurdle.  It needs to be presented in a way that can easily be understood by a very weary person who may already have had to plough through a large number of applications. 

Just because you understand the information in your CV doesn’t mean that somebody else will.  After all, you have the benefit of an insider’s view.  You need to overcome the temptation to put in all the detail. Be selective, avoid repetition and strip the information to the bare facts.  Make sure that all claims you make are true and clearly demonstrated. 

Identify what the employer is looking for (this will be in the job or person specification) and the make sure that you only include the facts that they will need for the decision making process. 

So to summarise? What is a modern CV?   It is your introduction to a prospective new employer.  It is an opportunity to prove that you are the person with the skills and talents they are seeking.  Unless it does that effectively, you will have lost an opportunity, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. 

© This article is copyright CV Consultancy 2010.  You have permission to reproduce this article or forward it to others, provided that all links and the resource box at the bottom remain intact.

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CV Writing for IT Professionals Thu, 15 Oct 2009 09:11:52 +0000 admin Every CV should be regarded as a marketing document for use in a very competitive market place.  The only function of a CV is to deliver information, usually to a prospective employer in support of a job application.  It is your first point of contact with a new employer who knows nothing about you apart from what they can read and understand from the document you are submitting.

For all of these reasons it is vital to present the information in a clear, easy to understand format which is not an easy thing to achieve. This is especially true when you bear in mind that it must be possible for a very busy person to be able to see what you have to offer, even though they may be speed reading the CV in the first instance. 

CV writing for IT experts can be particularly difficult because it presents unique challenges.  You need to differentiate between demonstrating your technical expertise and identifying project deliverables.

As with all marketing documents, you need to start off with a ‘pitch’.  In this case it will be a profile, followed by one or two clear bulleted lists demonstrating skills and/or achievements. If you include here a section entitled ‘Technical Expertise’ and then clearly set out details of your technical skills, you will be off to a flying start in making that all important good first impression.  You will have ensured that the reader can immediately understand what you have to offer.

After the ‘pitch’ will come the ‘validation’.  This will be your Career History and Education and Qualifications sections in which you will demonstrate how you have acquired your skills and how you have used them for the benefit of previous employers.  
There is a very real danger, and it is a trap that many people fall into, that in describing your technical expertise you forget to explain what practical results you were seeking to achieve.  You will have already specified the technical expertise that you can offer at the beginning of the CV, so it is not necessary to go into very great detail about the technologies which were used for each project.  By all means mention them, but avoid using jargon or acronyms unless you are very sure that the reader will understand what they mean. 

Remember that technology is simply a set of tools which you are using to deliver end results.  By specifying outcomes and the context within which you used the tools, you are able to demonstrate that your use of IT was expert and effective. That is what you really need your CV to tell employers, so that they can recognise you as the ideal candidate for the job they have on offer.

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A Positive Approach Thu, 17 Sep 2009 09:45:55 +0000 admin Looking for a new job is not dissimilar to looking for a life’s partner. You’ll only be able to handle one, so it’s important that it should be the right one for you.

If you are to be successful, it is very important to adopt a positive approach to every aspect of your job search.  Remember that your CV is the most important tool to introduce you to prospective employers, and it will need to establish what you have to offer.  Your CV needs to be accurate and truthful, and presented in a user friendly format. It is not an autobiography so don’t include too much detail, stick to what is relevant to the job application.  Typically around 200 applications are being received for each job advertised, so that gives an idea of how many CV’s will need to be considered.  It is inevitable that the reader will only have a very short time (usually no more than 30 seconds) for an initial appraisal of each application.  

When you’ve finished writing your CV do a role play. Imagine that you are the prospective employer – you know nothing about this person – how much relevant information can you pick up from the CV in the first 30 seconds?  By doing this test you should get an idea of whether your CV is good enough.  If you have given it your best shot and yet you still know that really your CV fails this 30 second test, then seek professional help.  

Your next step could be to submit your CV for our free CV assessment so that we can tell you where you are going wrong, but the best solution may well be a professionally written CV.  If writing a CV is not one of your skills, that’s not surprising, because your skills lie elsewhere. We can write your CV for you, saving you hours of work and making a dramatic difference to your chances of success in the jobs market.       

Once you have an effective CV, this will give you the confidence to find job vacancies that are appropriate to your skill set.  It is very important to be selective about the jobs you that you apply for, don’t ever apply for a job that you wouldn’t want anyway. Chances are they won’t want you either, so that will be a negative experience which you need to avoid.    

Go through your CV and compare it with the person and job specifications for the applications you intend to make. You don’t need loads of different CVs but it is often a good idea to tweak the detail to make sure that you are ‘ticking the relevant boxes’ for individual job applications. As long as you are applying for the right jobs and making sure that you are demonstrating clearly what you have to offer, it stands to reason that you’ll have a much better of chance of success.  

Nevertheless, it can be very disheartening if you get as far as the job interview, give it your best shot, and still don’t get the job.   But even this can be viewed from a positive angle. 

You managed to ‘jump the first hurdle’ by getting the interview so that’s positive.  But you can’t possibly know exactly what the employer was looking for.  Even though you have all the right qualifications, success or failure at interview may well depend upon other factors that you are not aware of.  The employers will understand the type of person they need to fit in with their team.  If they think you are not the best person for the job then give them the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t feel rejected, but take the attitude that they are probably right and you wouldn’t have enjoyed the job anyway.   

If there is only have one vacancy then it’s obvious that the employers have to choose between the candidates.  If I were to offer you both an apple and an orange and ask you to choose one, you would be in the same position, you simply can’t have both and it doesn’t mean that you despise the one you don’t choose. On this occasion if they didn’t choose you, just put it down to experience and remember that it has given you an opportunity to improve your interview skills.  

Although it may take a very long time to find just the right job, be confident that it will come along.  I had a friend who was still single at the age of 28, and she hadn’t even had a serious boyfriend.  What she told me was that she believed it was no use messing with ‘Mr Wrong’ because if she did, she might not be available when ‘Mr Right’ came along.  Sure enough, she’s now in an extremely happy long-term partnership.  

It seems to me that this attitude can equally well apply to careers. Don’t panic and accept just anything, because if you are in an unsatisfactory job that is taking up all y our time and could mean that you’re not available when the right one comes along.

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Are CV Writing Services worth the money? Mon, 24 Aug 2009 15:42:04 +0000 admin The simple answer to this is that it depends entirely upon the service you choose.

At its best, a professional CV writing service can help you to achieve a dramatic difference to your future career prospects. However, there are loads of so call professionals who provide a service that is worse than useless. 

As you will have discovered, not all CV writing services are equal.  There is no doubt that it appears to be a really difficult and daunting task to tell the difference.  But does it really need to be? 

Here are some common sense tips that should help you to choose: 

Anybody who is offering to ‘write your CV in minutes’ or provide you with a first class CV for under £50 can be discounted straight away.  It’s just not possible.  Either they are not earning a living, or alternatively they may be sub-contracting to typists to whom they are paying a minimal wage.

At the other end of the spectrum there are firms who may charge upwards of £500 for a CV.  You might be wise to ask for a breakdown of their charges.  If it is based upon an hourly rate, you need to know what that rate is. You also need to know how long they would they expect to spend on your CV.  That way you can get some idea of how they are justifying their charges. When I hear of people charging astronomical sums I have to wonder, just how good can a CV be? 

In between these two extremes you are left with a whole raft of firms who are mostly offering similar services.  Many of these are run by entrepreneurs who are using CV writing as a vehicle for making money.  Their skill is not in CV writing but in selling the product. Here are some ways you can form a judgement of what they have to offer just by looking at the site

• Proper presentation is essential in a CV and this should be reflected in their Website
• Make sure that everything is included in the price and that there are no hidden extras
• Beware of sites requiring your details before they will provide you with information
• No UK professional bodies for CV writing exist, so ‘memberships’ have no relevance
• Sites carrying multiple advertisements may not be CV writers at all, but vehicles for advertising
• They should be registered under the Data Protection Act so you can be sure of their integrity

Once you have evaluated the site, it is time to get on the telephone.  Don’t be afraid to ask everything that you want to know, but remember you will probably be talking to a salesman whose skill lies in selling the service.

Here are some questions you might like to ask:  

Ask if your CV will be sent out to a third party? If so who are they, do they work exclusively for the one firm, or do they work for others as well?  Ask if you can speak to the consultant before you go ahead, that is the only way you can make a judgement of who they are and the quality of advice they are giving. 

Remember that if the CV is being written by a sub-contractor then not all of the value will be in the actual CV writing.   The firm will be taking a commission first.

How much opportunity will they give for your input and feedback.  Most services offer a conference ‘up front’ but this is really only an information-gathering exercise and not a proper conference at all.  You need to be able to communicate with your consultant during, or after they have written the CV.  This is very important, otherwise how can you be sure that you will be satisfied with the end result?

Probably the very best way of making a judgement is to send your CV for a free assessment.  Often this service will be used to generate sales leads and will give rise to a telephone call designed to sign you up for the full service.  Be very circumspect in your judgement and use the opportunity to evaluate the level of service they are offering. 

Try you will receive an honest appraisal of your CV delivered via e-mail with no follow up telephone calls.

The service offered at is unique.  It provides excellent value for money and gives clients the opportunity for input and feedback throughout the process.  The quality is reliable because none of the work is sub-contracted.  The result will be a top quality CV which will greatly improve your chances of future success in the jobs market.

Please do feel free to comment.

© This article is copyright CV Consultancy 2009.  You have permission to reproduce this article or forward it to others, provided that all links remain intact.

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Free CV Assessment Wed, 02 Jul 2008 07:30:30 +0000 admin A free CV assessment can be a really valuable way of getting guidance on the quality of your own CV writing.  At its best it will give you an overview from an experienced CV Writer with tips as to how your CV could be improved.  At its worst you will get very little help or guidance but your application will give rise to a pushy sales call from an unscrupuous organisation, and unfortunately there are all too many of those around. 

Still, it’s a free service and if you get an unwanted sales call you simply need to recognise it for what it is.  Just remember that these are probably entrepreneurs, using CV writing as a vehicle for making money.  They will be employing professional sales people, so make sure you resist.  Remember that if the organisation is not responding appropriately to your request for a CV Assessment, it’s unlikely that they will be providing a high quality CV writing service either.  I always provide free CV assessments via e-mail, leaving it up to you whether you want to make telephone contact or not. 

If you are thinking of having a CV professionally written I would strongly recommend that you apply for a free assessment of your old CV first.  As you know, there are many options for CV writing on the internet and this is a very effective way of getting an insight into the level of service a particular firm will be providing.  It’s easy to see that if they provide a genuine, helpful assessment then you know you can trust them – otherwise my advice is to steer clear!

The CV Consultancy is happy to provide free assessments, obviously the time I can spend on free work is limited, but I will do my best and give you some helpful tips on what can be done to improve your CV.  Naturally I hope that you will be impressed with the quality of my advice and the insight and knowledge that I demonstrate.  Hopefully so much so that you will decide to take advantage of my professional CV writing service.  But this is entirely up to you, there is certainly no obligation, and I promise strictly no sales calls.

Why not visit this page for more information about our free cv assessment service.




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How Important is your CV Fri, 18 Apr 2008 14:53:57 +0000 admin To be logical – how could you possibly expect to get a good job by using a bad CV?

I should be used to it by now, but still it never ceases to surprise me that people don’t understand how important a good CV is in giving them a chance of success in today’s competitive jobs market. The information given in your CV it is all a prospective employer can possibly can know of you in the first instance. It is the first point of contact with a prospective employer or recruiter. They don’t know you, or what you have to offer – and if your CV doesn’t tell them in a way that they can understand, they will never find out.

Even though you may be the ideal candidate for a job, if you submit a CV which doesn’t deliver the right message, then you are squandering an opportunity and wasting your time applying for the job in the first place. Your CV needs to be ‘pitched’ at the right level, so that it not only tells the prospective employers what you have to offer, but does so in such a way that you can be sure that they will get the message. This means delivering a CV which is clear, concise and to the point and is easy to read and understand.

The most common mistake in CV writing is to include too much detail. Most CV’s are so packed with information that reading and understanding them becomes a mammoth task. Unfortunately employers simply don’t have the time to spare to wade through detailed information. To put it in perspective, you should remember that on average an employer will only allocate about 30 seconds to an initial appraisal of each application, and typically 200 responses are being received for each advertisement placed.

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ – never a truer word was spoken. If you submit a CV consisting of pages packed with long paragraphs of prose, the employer will be put off straight away and will quite possibly not read it at all. Otherwise they will only take the time to read some of it, which means it is left entirely to chance which bits get their attention. People are afraid of leaving things out of their CVs. However, by including too much detail they lose control of the situation. If you can bring yourself to go through your CV and prioritise the information, pruning it down to only that which is relevant, and taking out anything which is repetitive, then your CV will be read and you will get your message across. That is the only way that you can be sure what information your CV actually delivers.

You’ll already be way ahead of the competition if your CV is clear and concise, and delivered in an easy to understand format. As long as you make sure you’ve applied for the right job, one for which you are qualified, and which you honestly believe you would enjoy, you will have every chance of getting an interview and going on to enjoy success in today’s jobs market.

I can’t over-emphasise the importance of a good CV so if you don’t feel confident about writing it yourself then use a good professional CV Writing service, or invest in a first class CV template to give you the guidance you need.


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A User-Friendly CV Thu, 17 Apr 2008 15:28:54 +0000 admin The most important point when creating any document is to remember the purpose for which it is intended. This is especially true when writing a CV. It is not enough that you should be happy with your CV, it is the prospective employer who counts.

You may be satisfied that your CV says what you want it to say, but you have to view it from a different angle. Remember that the information in your CV is all that the person reading your CV will know about you. Try to put yourself in their shoes and deliver the information in a format which can be easily understood by a stranger who doesn’t know you.

Remember that typically 200 responses are being received for each advertisement placed. Inevitably employers will not have time to do more than skim through the applications so they can allow no more than 30 seconds for each one. Unless your CV delivers information in a style which has immediate impact, you will almost certainly fail to get the message across.

So how can you achieve the user-friendly CV? Well for a start, consider the following:
Your sentences need to be very short with each one including no more than one point and all the words need to be very simple as well, with a maximum of no more than three syllables so that they can be easily understood. Paragraphs of prose need to be divided up into shorter paragraphs so that the information is delivered in small ‘bites’ and the prospective employer does not have to concentrate so hard to understand what you are trying to say.
Then compare it with this:
Sentences need to be short. Each should include only one point. Words need to be simple with a maximum of three syllables.

Prose should be divided into short paragraphs. Information delivered in small ‘bites’ will be more easily understood.

Bullet points deliver even more impact. Here are my rules for achieving maximum impact in a CV

• sentences should be short
• each sentence should include only one point
• words need to be short with a maximum three syllables
• prose should be divided into short paragraphs

When you have finished writing the CV go through it in detail. Strike out any unnecessary words or repetitions. Don’t include too many adjectives. Make every word count. This will help you to present your CV in a way which will make sure that the prospective employer reads and understands it.

Another point to remember is that you need to avoid including anything in your CV which the employer may not be able to understand. This includes jargon and acronyms. Remember, as soon as the reader has to pause to work out what you mean, you will have lost their attention.

Those who have hundreds of CVs to work through have a hard enough job already. Use short simple words and paragraphs. Make your CV user-friendly and you will stand a much better chance of success.

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