With so much free advice available from a multitude of online sources, how easy is it to spot an amateur CV writing firm from one that is offering a service that will genuinely deliver the very best results?

A good CV is key to getting the job that you want. Get it wrong and it could spell disaster for your entire job search.

Much like the recruitment sector, the CV writing industry in the UK is currently unregulated, and as such it is incredibly easy for anyone to start up an online CV writing service for the small cost of a domain name. Due to this low barrier to entry, there are literally hundreds of CV writing firms, from one-man bands to seemingly large teams, all professing to be ‘the UK’s leading’, or ‘Britain’s #1’.

With prices ranging from £15 to over £800, it is hard to tell which firms are genuine in their expertise, and which ones you should avoid. Here are a few tips on how to escape spending your hard-earned cash on a potential catastrophe:

Your first port of call should be the company’s website. If you spot a single spelling mistake then walk away. If they don’t proofread their own website, it is unlikely that they will give your CV the necessary time and attention.

Check out the ‘About Us’ page. A serious CV writing company will be proud to showcase the skills and expertise of their writing and editing team. In particular, check if industry-specific qualifications or language degrees are stated. There are recognised international qualifications available, and the best CV writing firms will not only be aware of them, but will have professionally qualified writers on their team.

Experience is essential. CV writing is a genuine skill – it takes more than simply knowing the recruitment industry, or having previous experience in HR. A good CV writing company will have a properly trained team of genuinely talented writers with proven ability in achieving results for their clients across multiple industry sectors. Don’t be afraid to call and ask for your writer’s experience and credentials before parting with your money.

Cheap is sometimes too cheap. There is an age-old adage that states, ‘you get what you pay for.’ Granted, this is not necessarily the case in every instance, but generally speaking if you think the service is too cheap, it probably is.

Too cheap is often costly. If your CV doesn’t match the job spec, or the recruiters expectations of what the desired candidate should look like (in terms of results, skills and achievements), it could be an expensive mistake. It is vital that your CV showcases your genuine suitability for each and every role that you apply for – a generic CV farmed out by a writer without the necessary skill set and training to articulate this information could literally cost you your career.

You are more than just a template. CV writing companies that farm out CVs like a factory, using the same template for every client and every industry sector, are probably not worth your money. A CV should be strategically tailored to you in every way in order to give you the best chance of success.