Creating a CV* can seem like a daunting prospect for the new editor or proofreader with little experience. It needn't be so. Here are a few simple ideas to help you on your way.
[To clarify, a CV is a résumé – see comment below.]
The hook–pitch–call to action framework
The hook might be an introductory headline, set out in bold or a different colour, which captures your business ethos. It might be a glowing testimonial. Or it could be a simple, clearly articulated statement in the first line of text that highlights your USPs. Whatever you choose it should be something that grabs the customer’s attention.
The pitch will include those key selling points that summarize what you do, e.g. your training, experience, relevant background, and subject specialisms.
The call to action is where you tell your customer what to do next: how to contact you to discuss a project. Here you can include your telephone number(s), email address, website and postal address.
The differentiation–solution–empathy* framework
The 'pitch' element of your CV needs to incorporate the unique selling points (USPs) that will make you most interesting to your reader. They might include your training, previous educational or career experience that is relevant to the customer, and the subjects you specialize in (again, relevant to the customer). The differentiation–solution–empathy framework helps you to structure this content in a persuasive way.
A fictive example
Let's imagine there's a new proofreader on the market. I'm going to give her the following bio: Margo is British-born but her mother is from Denmark. She’s bilingual, has a degree in English literature, a Master’s in Social Policy and Administration and is a qualified social worker with ten years’ professional experience of working in the Children and Family Services departments for two UK county councils. She's completed a proofreading training course with one of the UK’s respected training institutions and has joined her national editorial society. She's only recently set up her business and has no experience, previous clients or testimonials.
She wants to write a persuasive pitch for a CV aimed at students and social science academics for whom English is a second language,
She creates the following hook that clearly states what her core USP is and uses this as a headline at the top of her CV:
Bilingual proofreader specializing in clients for whom English is a second language
Now she focuses on the main content of the document, using the differentiation–solution–empathy framework to help her structure the information.
Using this framework she writes the following pitch for her CV:
I am a bilingual proofreader specializing in working with students and independent academics, in UK universities, for whom English is a second language.
Once Margo has added in her business title at the top of the page and her call-to-action and contact details at the bottom, she'll have everything she needs for her starter CV. She could introduce some sub-headings to help her reader navigate the specific sections quickly and she might expand her use of bullet points to make the critical information more digestible. If she uses wide margins, effective line spacing, a readable font that is easy on the eye, and a simple colour way that matches her business brand, she will end up with a beautifully presented and professional CV.
Benefits of a CV
I hope you've found these ideas useful and that the frameworks provided offer you a way of thinking about how to structure the critical information you do have available, even if you've only just entered the editorial freelancing market.
*Kevin Daum, 'Give the Perfect Elevator Pitch', Inc.com, accessed July 2013
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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I am an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society. Visit the SfEP website for more information.
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