The CV Business in the UK

New website, Long experience

CV Masterclass is a new website but its creator has been writing CVs for a living since 1989. Back in those days the CV was normally a long and boring list, typed up to a format by a secretary, copied by means of stencils. As DTP and laser printers came in, the CV business began to evolve - and as usual the sharks scented easy money.

By 1993 there were 17 adverts for CV writing in the Daily Telegraph every day and about that time Which? magazine did an expose of how bad they mostly were. Steve Holmes, the inspiration behind this website, set about taking all their remarks on board and raising the level of CV awareness to entirely new levels.

In the early days of the Internet Steve created his first website, CVSpecial.co.uk and at that time there were maybe 4 other providers of varying quality, all home businesses in which the proprietor did the actual CV writing work. When Monster established their recruitment website in the UK they picked out Steve to be their resident expert, as did on various occasions The Guardian Group's website Workthing, the ill fated launch by The Times of Revolver and also the jobs section of The Telegraph website.

As the Internet gathered pace the greedy rats sensed easy money and since the year 2000 at least 50 new websites connected with CV writing have come into being, some of them small and ghastly, some of them huge, flashy and convincing, offering you the consumer a "professional" service, apparently. But do ask before you buy anything from these people (please see below).

So what can you get for your money?

and avoid recruiters sneering at your CV

FREE AND ALMOST FREE: CV builders and cheats that allow you to plonk a limited amount of data and sometimes clichéd set phrases into a format dreamed up by someone else. It does not produce a unique CV that you can usefully send to recruiters.

TYPING AGENCY CVs (£50 TO £200): anyone who charges less for a CV than your garage asks for an oil change is a rank amateur who thinks a CV is just a list of jobs.

THE PSEUDO PROFESSIONAL CROWD (from about £100 but anything up to £500): beware these people - they often have impressive websites but they take your money and farm your CV out to so-called "consultants" who get paid between £25 and £50 to churn them out to a format. If the person who owns the business isn't writing your CV then you know you are getting a mass-produced job that recruiters will sneer at. These companies all started in business after 2000, so you can easily ask.

THE OUTPLACEMENT RIP-OFF (£3000 - £5000): heavyweight newspapers often carry adverts for companies that look impressive, offer a free career assessment and burble on about the unadvertised job market. How it works is this: they lure you in and tell you that you have the potential to earn £XXXXX if you take the right approach. They then take vast sums of money from you for 3rd rate CV writing, poor advice, maybe some crap video coaching and a load of platitudes about attacking the job market.

What we offer here

quality for every pocket

THE CV MASTERCLASS has been created as an inexpensive way for anyone to understand what makes the difference between a really good CV and an ill conceived mish mash of half-baked concepts. It is supported by other courses to help you work on your career change and these are evolving all the time.

CV APPRAISAL AND MENTOR SERVICE: we also offer comment, analysis and CV tweaking done personally by Bill Cogle or Steve Holmes.

COMPLETE CV REWRITE: Bill or Steve will work with you at the strategic level to understand your career situation and produce a new CV and cover letter that takes your positioning to a level beyond what you have so far dreamed of.

For Students, Graduates and First Jobs go to CV1