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CV Writing Services - 5 Popular Companies Reviewed

CV Writing Services - 5 Popular Companies Reviewed

16 Aug 19:00 by Ben Young

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The vast majority of us will recall at least one moment in our younger (ahem, early) years when we were asked by a potential employer for an up to date CV. A confident “no problem at all, I’ll get that over to you” would prevail in an outwardly confident tone. On the inside however, we began questioning our very existence and encountering a dawning realisation that every aspect of our past is now under scrutiny including that impromptu two month trip to Peru through to the questionable temporary position that ended abruptly after several poorly chosen words at the Christmas party.

The web is a place full to the brim with information. There are very few things you can’t find online and that is certainly true of CV info. A quick Google search for CV advice uncovers a wealth of CV-writing guidance, tips and mistakes - and a lot of it is very good. Some, however, isn’t. It makes sense therefore to enlist the help of a professional, afterall, only the bravest amongst us would begin a major plumbing project without any plumbing experience and just a step-by-step guide online. The advice is helpful, but you wouldn’t put your home at risk. This holds true for your career.

So, for us, a company that handles CVs all day long thought we could get our oar in and lend a hand to those considering professional advice and try to answer the question: is it worth it?

The Plan

We’re going to choose five CV writing companies, purchase a CV from each and see what they come back to us with. Our fictional candidate, Lucy, is looking for a new role in the events industry where she already has experience in one role. Lucy doesn’t really know what needs to go in a CV, so she’s looking for somebody to hold her hand through the creative process and hopefully tell her not to use her current email address: hamsterstroker1@***. I wonder which of the five companies will.

We created a rough, awful CV for Lucy with quite a few errors hoping that the companies would pick them up and not include them in the new CV that is sent across. You will be surprised what slipped through the net.

The Companies

Being scientific and all that, we’ve aimed to make it a fair test. With some slight variation, we’ve purchased the same roughly similar package level from each company and given them exactly the same information, including the rough CV, to work with. If they’ve come back to us with questions, we’ve answered them. Of course, we’ve set up a brand new email address, and made a new identity for Lucy so that the companies didn’t know they were being judged.

We chose these five companies because they have similar prominence on the web and seemed like they offered a service that ‘the man on the street’ might purchase. Not too exclusive, not too ‘haphazard’ looking. Just right to spend a modest amount of money on.

We also went the extra mile and created a mark scheme, because no experiment is complete without tick boxes and scoring. Here it is:

Criteria

Points Available

Score

File

   

Is the file saved as something appropriate?

5

 

Advice

   

Were the benefits of a cover letter discussed?

5

 

Is the CV an appropriate length?

5

 

Has education been added?

5

 

Contact Details

   

Are all of the contact details included?

10

 

Is the email address appropriate?

10

 

Is the location more than just "London"?

5

 

Summary

   

Does the summary give a clear overview of the candidate’s experience?

10

 

Structure

   

Is the last job first on the CV?

10

 

Content

   

Is the grammar correct?

10

 

Is the language professional?

10

 

Experience - Clarks

   

Does the summary give a clear overview of the business they work for and their broad experience?

10

 

Are the bullet points relevant, clear and concise?

10

 

Experience - Events

   

Does the summary give a clear overview of the business they work for and their broad experience?

10

 

Are the bullet points relevant, clear and concise?

10

 

Personal Interests

   

Were these cut down?

5

 

Subjective

   

How much do we think the writer understood the candidate’s experience?

40

 

If we were looking at their CV would we be able to understand their experience?

40

 
     

Totals

210

 

 

What We’re Really Looking For

 

We really spoke in some detail about how we would conduct the test and one thing that came out as being quite important is finding a company that would offer more than just copywriting. What we mean by this is that instead of just taking our CV and rewriting it, we want somebody to tell us where the mistakes are or at the very least, not include those mistakes in the new version that they provide.

 

Here’s what we found, company by company.

Introducing: Purple CV

www.purplecv.co.uk

 

Purple CV have an attractive website which unsurprisingly features quite a bit of purple, but is professionally presented and gives you a lot of information.


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The experience working with Purple CV was on the whole, very easy. Everything is managed by email so no need to log in to see what the latest update is, which is nice and simple. Our writer responded to emails quickly and gave us updates about when our CV would be delivered back to us. The CV was indeed sent to us on time and within a reasonable timescale. This is all very promising.

 

Purple CV scored 127.5 in our mark scheme which is a good score. The lost points were down to not understanding the industry so the advice to people using CV writing companies in general is to offer up plenty of information about the role. The company our candidate currently works for was obviously made up, and we were deliberately vague on detail, but as is the case with real life, potential employers won't necessarily know the company you are working for.

 

If we were looking at their CV would we be able to understand their experience?

40

10

 

Of the 40 points available, Purple CV was only awarded 10.

 

Therefore a good description of who the company is and what they do is imperative as this puts your responsibilities in context. Things you should include are: size of the business, type of events they deliver, type of clients they work for, internal departments (production, creative etc).

Introducing: CV Now

www.cvnow.co.uk

 

CV Now have a good looking website, with several package options based on the level of service you require although all of them made the promise that the CV would be professionally written.

 

CV Now take your current CV and then direct you to complete their questionnaire which asks you a series of questions about you and what you’re looking for. It was a little tricky answering some of the questions as our answers didn’t entirely fit the options available, but there were several vague options to choose from so that you could at least choose something. The questionnaire was quick to fill in, and upon completion felt like you had progressed through the process which felt quite satisfying!


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After this, we were matched with a writer who was suitable as per the answers to the questionnaire and they they got in touch with an update as to what they were doing. All in all a fairly painless process. This process was managed through an online system but it still felt personal. The writer introduced herself by email with her own name and wrote like a human being.

 

CV Now performed well in our mark scheme, scoring 122.5. Some of the areas where this CV fell down were common amongst the other CVs. We provided quite a lot of personal interests on our draft CV and these weren’t cut out which made the CV a bit longer than it needed to be without adding any value.

 

Personal Interests

   

Were these cut down?

5

0

 

The work experience issue was evident here too which is a little more surprising as CV Now asked for a lot of information before starting the CV.

 

If we were looking at their CV would we be able to understand their experience?

40

10

 

A respectable score and many of the key points scored well. Good work.

Introducing: Taylor CVs

www.taylor-cvs.co.uk

 

After purchasing a CV package, our writer was in touch shortly afterwards with some questions once we had sent our current CV across. The questions were concise and easy to answer although one question asked what we felt was important to come across in our CV. It could be argued that this would be something we should be given advice on.


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Despite this, our writer was friendly and answered emails quickly and kept us updated without issue, even politely apologising for a delay when the service was provided within the expected timescales.

 

Taylor CVs scored poorly on our mark scheme, only being awarded 50 points. It failed to do much more than organise the information provided into coherent sentences and even then the writing didn’t feel as professional as it should have.

 

Some basis points were missed out.

 

Is the CV an appropriate length?

5

0

Has education been added?

5

0

 

And the work experience wasn’t clear, something that really has to be right on a CV.

 

Experience - Clarks

   

Does the summary give a clear overview of the business they work for and their broad experience?

10

0

Are the bullet points relevant, clear and concise?

10

5

 

There were quite a few problems with this CV. We didn’t feel in this case that the CV given back to us was up to the standard required to approach employers.

 

CV length is one of those topics that is important but equally rather boring… but in essence it’s all about relevance. The fact that the CV was one page isn’t a “crime” in itself, but demonstrates that it was really a cut and paste job from the original (and deliberately vague) CV we sent originally.

 

We noted that an education section wasn’t added – again not necessarily a crime but shows a lack of attention to detail.

 

With regards to language, in our original CV we had written that prior to events we had “loved working at Clarks Shoes, and enjoyed the social aspects of working in a young team” in amongst other slightly lazy language. This wasn’t altered at all. It’s at this point that you realise you’ve paid for somebody to copy and paste the CV you already have. Very poor

 

It was apparent in the final CV that the writer had absolutely no understanding of the events work Lucy had been involved in, and was unable to communicate how she could be relevant to an employer. Very very poor.

 

There are plenty of CV templates available online, and if we were to use one of those to create a CV, it’s very likely that the template would be far better, and not cost as much.

 

Introducing: The CV Centre

www.cvcentre.co.uk

 

The CV Centre felt a little robotic to work with. The process was managed through an online portal system and emails that arrived were marked as arriving from “James Innes Group” which for the computer literate amongst us isn’t too strange as we’re used to companies using trading names but this felt a little bit like once the payment was made, the veil was removed and now you’re ‘in the system’. Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 16.41.55.png

 

After purchasing, you’re given a set of login details to the online portal and whenever an email arrives, no information is given other that a message to let you know that there has been an update and you need to log in to view it, which is a bit fiddly. Nonetheless, the customer service was completely respectable and the CV delivered in reasonable time and queries answered quickly.

 

The CV Centre scored 75 on our mark scheme. The CV missed a few of the important points and generally didn’t come up to the mark. Whilst we didn’t give every piece of information on a plate, we expected at least to be asked for it.

 

The length of the CV wasn’t impressive and ignored many common pieces of advice. Maybe The CV Centre writers should Google some of these rules.

 

Particularly, The CV Centre didn’t perform well getting across the experience in the events sector which one would assume would be quite important for a role in the events sector. Sadly, The CV Centre, didn’t think so or simply failed to do this adequately. Take a look at any job in almost any sector and you would struggle to convince anybody that relevant experience isn’t a game changer.

 

Experience - Events

   

Does the summary give a clear overview of the business they work for and their broad experience?

10

0

Are the bullet points relevant, clear and concise?

10

0

 

Again, this was an inadequate CV. Several elements were missed out and we were delivered another CV that wasn’t much of an improvement on what we handed over. Free online template vc The CV Centre? Go for the template.

 

Introducing: The CV Squad

www.thecvsquad.com

 

The CV Squad offers a wide range of services on its website and tailors its CV package to where you are in your career which makes sense.

 

After purchasing a CV, it became quite impersonal. We were asked to submit our information to a specific section of the customer area but the instructions didn’t match up with what we saw in the customer area so we weren’t entirely sure whether we had done everything we needed to do. Having emailed for help, a reply was quick to come but only reiterated the instructions that we thought we had already followed. Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 16.44.03.png

 

Unfortunately because of this, we still don’t have a CV to review and therefore cannot offer a score. One thing we should expect from a CV writing company is good use of language and grammar. The emails received (one of which is captioned) doesn’t demonstrate this.

 

We’re asking for our money back.

The Results

 

We really went over each CV in detail and spent some time arguing about what to award so much so that CV writing is now a sensitive subject in our office.

 

According to our marking scheme, there’s a clear winner and runner up:

 

Winner: Purple CV

Runner Up: CV Now

 

Congratulations to Purple CV on achieving the highest score!

 

What Does This Mean?

 

Our experiment shows us clearly that standards across CV writing companies vary dramatically. This makes it a minefield for those looking for professional advice as it’s clear that going one step further than the free advice available online doesn’t necessarily result in a better CV.

 

Furthermore, if you’re basing your next career steps on the advice of one of these companies, it will pay to shop around and engage in conversation with them before committing to a CV rewrite. Better still, ask around for experiences and results in securing a new position, as the proof is, most certainly with CV writing, in the pudding.

 

What this does demonstrate is that if the CV writer doesn’t understand the industry in which you’re seeking a job, you need to make it abundantly clear what’s important and what isn’t, perhaps providing specific pieces of terminology. Getting a CV writer involved is certainly not handing over the reigns, it’s more like bringing in a consultant to guide you, but you must remain project manager.

 

And one thing we still can’t understand...why didn’t any of the CV writing companies suggest changing our email address from hamsterstroker1@***?