How to choose the best CV writing company for you
At CV Pilots, we pride ourselves on the quality of the documents we produce and are privileged to work with clients who are highly regarded in their respective fields.
However, we recognise that we are not the right fit for everyone, and we encourage potential clients to carefully think about which company offers the best service for their specific needs.
In this article, we discuss key considerations you should bear in mind when choosing a CV writer and how we fit into the spectrum of CV writing services available on the market.
1. Are they certified?
While the CV writing industry is unregulated, there are certifications that most reputable writers hold to demonstrate their skill level and commitment to the profession.
The most prominent of these is the global Certified Professional Resume Writer designation offered by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC).
To obtain the designation, writers must produce a dossier of work that is evaluated to ensure it meets industry standards.
CV Pilots is a member of PARWCC, and all documents we prepare are either written or reviewed by a fully Certified Professional Resume Writer.
2. Do they have a strong writing background?
While you may prefer to work with a writer who has experience or is specialised in your particular industry, writing ability and strong interviewing skills are far more important.
Experienced CV writers conduct outside research and ask you targeted questions to ensure they are correctly using any niche industry terminology.
You want to find a writer whose interviewing ability will allow them to pull out information that you wouldn’t have thought to include yourself!
Now based in London, our founder has studied business communication with top professors in the field at Cornell University. He also comes from a journalism background, having previously written for publications such as the Chicago Tribune.
Matt hand-picks and trains only exceptional writers who have solid industry experience. His writers can articulate your skills and experience in a way that best supports your candidacy for your target roles.
As Cornell Professor Craig Snow attests, "The CV Pilots team has developed a full-service program that helps you to highlight your key credentials and adapt them for those positions and organisations where you best fit.
"When you choose to work with CV Pilots, you place yourself in good hands: coaches who are insightful, empathetic and laser-focused."
3. Do they offer a personalised service?
CV writing services vary in how much direct contact you will have with your writer. Some companies work strictly over email, while others work via email and phone.
An email-only service may be appropriate if you are already confident about the quality of your content and are simply looking for someone to copy-edit your existing draft.
However, most clients capture significant value from a one-on-one phone consultation.
When you explain your experience to your writer, he or she has the opportunity to ask targeted follow-up questions, leading to an achievement-oriented document that will help you stand out from other similar applicants.
This interaction tends to be the most valuable component of working with a CV writer (and doubles as excellent interview preparation!).
4. Who are their clients?
Some CV writers specialise in industries (such as legal or finance) or exclusively work with clients at a given career level (such as C-suite executives).
Because many CV writers drive business from partnerships with recruiters and word-of-mouth, a company's client base tends to be reflective of the quality of service it provides.
As such, you want to know whether a service can put together a document that will drive results for a candidate of your caliber.
At CV Pilots, we have worked with clients across all major sectors and career levels.
A small selection of our previous clients includes:
- Fortune 50 CEO
- Director of Global Real Estate for a major bank
- Chief Scientific Officer in pharmaceuticals
- Head of Digital Marketing in eCommerce
- Corporate Counsel in media
We have worked with multiple analysts and managers in investment banking, asset management, consulting, IT, project management and HR.
Our clients come from organisations including:
5. How much do top CV writers charge?
When comparing CV writing services, you'll find that quality and price tend to go hand-in-hand.
While it may be tempting to look for the cheapest deal, it's worth thinking about the amount of time that will go into preparing your documents and the breadth of services offered within the package.
Top writers devote at least a full working day to understand your needs, speak to you about your experience and future goals, craft your documents and make any necessary revisions.
You'll find services that range from under £100 to £1,000+, but be aware that many writers at the lower end of the scale outsource work internationally to non-native English speakers.
This approach often results in a more generic, templated output without the more nuanced representation of a candidate’s credentials that is essential to make a CV stand out.
While these services might be able to deliver a document that may work for an entry-level candidate, multiple executives we have worked with were not satisfied with the results they received from such firms.
6. What do their documents look like?
A quality CV should look clean, professional and clutter-free. It should also be optimised for compatibility with online applicant tracking systems (ATS).
For experienced professionals, the quality of writing, content and attention to detail will trump a fancy visual design in the vast majority of cases.
While there are multiple online CV builders that provide modern, sleek CV templates (think colours, multiple columns, symbols and photos), these are more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. As we explain in this article, recruiters tend to view excessive design features negatively.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are often unable to read documents with two-columns or graphics, so these designs can inadvertently hurt you in the application process.
Ask for a CV sample or two to see what kind of writing style and formatting you can expect from your writer.
7. What do their reviews say (and are they real)?
We cannot emphasise this point enough!
Before you invest in a service, be sure to conduct your research and read reviews from previous clients.
Most high-quality CV writing services are small businesses and rely on reviews to build credibility with potential clients.
If a service has multiple negative reviews (or has none on their website at all), consider it to be a major red flag.
Also consider whether the number of reviews present on the website is realistic given the size of the firm and whether these reviews are from verified customers.
There are plenty of CV writing services to choose from. However, your CV is often your first chance to make a positive first impression and can be the deciding factor as to whether you get your foot in the door with your employer of choice.
You will never get a second chance to make a good first impression with an employer!
Be sure you trust and feel comfortable with the service you choose. Unfortunately - just as with any other professional services providers - some are in the business to make a quick buck.
8. Are you able to get in touch? What does their initial communication tell you?
Top services are willing to review your existing document to evaluate whether it needs improvement and to determine whether they are a good fit to work with you.
The best CV writers are happy to walk you through the writing process and answer any questions you have over the phone before you decide to work with them.
If you are unable to get in touch with the team or if their email correspondence is not professional, you may want to steer clear.
The latest study from The Ladders shows that recruiters spend just over seven seconds reading a CV before deciding whether it makes the initial cut.
If you aren't getting results in your job search or simply don't have the time to put together a document that you will feel confident submitting, working with a CV writer can relieve a lot of pressure.
We encourage you to look for a service that takes its craft seriously, operates with integrity, and that has your best interests at heart.
About CV Pilots
CV Pilots is an award-winning executive CV writing, career coaching and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
Here's how we can help you:
CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Writing: After a one-hour phone consultation, one of our expert writers will prepare your top-quality personal marketing materials from scratch.
Career Transitions: A powerful combination of our document writing and career coaching services helps position you to secure a new role.
We're a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. All of our writers have studied at top-tier universities and have solid industry experience.