Choosing a CV Writing and Résumé Preparation Service

Choosing a CV Writing or Résumé Preparation Service
Use this checklist to ensure you get the best deal.
  1. First check who they are. Are you able to find this out from their website, or is that knowledge concealed. If that information is concealed then you don't know how they are qualified to write your CV. What is their background? Is it someone just jumping on the bandwagon to earn some extra income from home? Are they a secretarial service, or do they have a specialist knowledge of CV development? How long have they been in business? Are they operating from home or an office? Check their credentials or ask to see their CV or profile.

    Why? Because they are going to know everything about your job history and yourself, yet you may know nothing about them. It is important you know who the person is that you are sending your private information to. If they don’t give any idea of the person on the website, then give them a miss.

  2. Will you be meeting them face to face? Again, it is about your PRIVACY, particularly when personal identify theft is now becoming more prominent. No face, no name – who are you really dealing with on that internet site, no matter how professional it looks.

  3. Ask if they will be outsourcing your private information anywhere. Ask them if they are the ones typing and writing the CV. Many online CV services are getting you to fill in online forms to be only sent overseas for the typing. Plus you are doing half the work of the job you are paying for!

  4. Are they backyard operators? If they don’t have a genuine mortar and bricks store, then they are presumably backyard operators. Easy come easy go. Beware, particularly if paying money upfront first.

  5. What does the service offer? People have unique needs. A person may require a functional CV, a chronological CV, or a combination of both. You may wish your CV to have an added dimension, that is, to be more of a sales tool, marketing your capabilities, skills and potential. Check whether this service is offered or not.

  6. If a service says they offer a consultation service, check what the consultation entails, what is their process. It is really a consultation service or is it merely a preparation service?

    A CV consultation service
    will discuss the contents of your CV and what elements to add or not include. They will check its power of communication. That may involve all or ay of the following: a skill assessment, profile statement construction, a core competency analysis, checking your personal qualities and attributes. A consultation service that is free is usually a pre-interview to ascertain your requirements before booking in to offer advice and the process of writing the CV.

    A CV preparation service will just take basic details from you – personal data, employment record, qualifications and education, hobbies and interests, referees and references and set up a CV from this information. There is generally no sales pitch to your CV to help market your skills.

    Beware of CV services that charge for consulting and only edit your CV. That is not consulting, that is an editing job and should warrant a fee applicable to that particular service. (A CV consultation service will take longer and, therefore, cost more than an editing job.)

  7. Make sure the consultation is interactive. This means that you and the consultant discuss what the content of your CV is going to be – especially when considering your strengths and skills. If they send you away and make up details afterwards, the CV won’t have your ‘signature’ to it. Avoid CV services that produce CVs en masse (rather than individualised ones) – they will make your CV look equal to everyone else’s. It is a bit embarrassing when your CV is exactly the same as somebody else’s and you are going for the same interview. Check also that it is not full of clichés – phrases such as ‘excellent interpersonal skills’, for example. Also check if they are using preformatted statements. If they are, be aware that your CV is being churned out, and may read like somebody else’s.

  8. A CV consultation service, depending on the scope offered, should take between half an hour and two hours. Any more and the consultant could be padding out the hours, if they charge on an hourly rate. We charge on a package rate so you know what your spend is no matter the time factor involved. The best price structure is a package fee where you know you can spend unlimited time with a consultant to get the desired end product you want. A CV consultation service should not charge for time spent on deciding what sort of look you want your CV to have. That is focusing on paper selection and style: it is not consulting but offering advice, and that should be given freely.

    If the consultation only takes between 15 and 20 minutes it is more likely to be a preparation service and that should be reflected in the price charged. Shop around and ask them to be specific on what the consultation entails.

  9. Ask to see their range of samples and what each particular sample may cost. If they don’t show you samples then don’t deal with them. How do you know how your CV will be presented?

    A standard format will obviously be cheaper than a typographically designed one.

    When checking samples look at the quality of printing. Is it laser printed or inkjet printed? An inkjet printer will not produce such a crisp edge to the type as the laser printer; however, it should be cheaper, but it is not professional.

  10. Content is far more important than the cosmetics of your document. Watch for fancy fonts and graphics. Are they necessary? Do they achieve the effect you want or your prospective employer wants? One CV we saw produced by a curriculum vitae service looked more like an invitation or menu rather than a CV, much to the customer’s dissatisfaction.

    Keep you design in line with business protocol. Unless your job calls for a ‘designer’ look or you specify a certain style, don’t allow a consultant to pressure you into an overly fancy style. Keep a ‘vanilla’ look, crisp, clean and business like. Avoid brightly coloured stock. Yes, you will stand out, but it may be counter-productive and eliminate your change for an interview. A word on papers: select tones that match your requirements, industry and personality; for example, to achieve a conservative look try using grey bond paper. As most CVs are generally emailed now, a presentation CV can easily move you up the ‘accept and interview’ pile.

  11. A CV writing service will use many types of material and resources in constructing your CV and to ascertain your needs and requirements. This might include completion of worksheets, use of checklists and data collections of various analyses.

  12. Finally, check their advertising material. Is it full of superlatives? Your CV might be took, and thus destroy all credibility. Does it sell the sizzle as well as the steak? (Sizzle being the benefits the service offers you, the steak being the basic service). Do they use gimmicky tricks in their advertising? They might use gimmicky tricks in your document too.

General price ranges: CV editing $50 + GST: CV writing service $139 to $360 + GST. Check around, you generally get what you pay for.


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