Ask anyone what comes to mind when you mention job hunting and the response, often accompanied by a grimace or an exasperated sigh, usually involves words like ‘depressing’ or ‘soul destroying’. You know the drill – you fill out the application form and hit ‘send’. You hear nothing back. Nothing. Just rude. By this stage, you’re so despondent that you’d be satisfied with a standard rejection letter. Desperate times call for desperate measures, you might be forgiven for thinking. But, before you fall prey to one of the prolific ‘we will write your CV for you and change your life’ adverts, heed my advice.
I genuinely thought I would be getting some expert help in re-wording and formatting my dated CV.
I was tempted to send off my respectable (but in need of a bit of sprucing up) CV for a ‘free review service’. What I got back seemed to offer some sensible advice. They also claim to have run my CV through sophisticated recruitment software. The results always show your CV to be woefully inadequate (I know this now, because two of us did it and got terrifyingly similar feedback). I felt compelled to put this straight and part with £70 while they were advertising a (seemingly never-ending) special offer. I genuinely thought I would be getting some expert help in re-wording and formatting my dated CV.
I was rewarded with a page of nonsensical rubbish, barely even in English, complete with spelling errors and what can only be described as a hacksaw attack on my employment history. I suggested, in my sternly worded letter to my assigned ‘writer’, that they must’ve plucked some random, irrelevant management phrases from a book and put them all in a blender before sending it back to me.
I wondered how they had managed to bungle a simple copy and paste job. The nuts and bolts of my previous employers’ names, and the cities they were located in, were all correctly listed on my original CV, yet they made up a Saudi Arabia address for a company that is actually based in Reading (I’ve never been to Saudi in my life). Their misspelling of Abu Dhabi was bordering on the comical. Nor do I know what ‘streamlined control parameters’ are, any more than I know why someone would add ‘program management’ to my key skills. Apparently, this is what I do.
Their misspelling of Abu Dhabi was bordering on the comical.
The CV ‘writer’ was not available by phone so all correspondence was by email. This made for a frustrating and long-winded process. It is akin to writing by committee. At my request, they agreed to assign a new ‘writer’ and assured me that the process is ‘entirely collaborative’. I must have sent five or six meticulously detailed emails listing the various errors. After receiving the fourth draft it was still so wildly inaccurate and incomplete that I demanded a refund. I was told that the ‘writer’ had not received any feedback from me and that they would not be continuing with the project. It was almost a relief. In the time it had taken me to compile all those feedback emails, I could have re-written the entire thing myself. I looked at my original CV in a new, more forgiving, light.